Pokemon Go was the first look at a Pokemon game for many people across the world, but hardcore fans will tell you that it’s very far from the best Pokemon experience out there. However, all of the games that Pokemon fans love are only available on Nintendo consoles, which aren’t officially available in many parts of the world. A mainline Pokemon game, such as Pokemon Sun and Moon, or Pokemon X and Y, isn’t going to be coming to smartphones anytime soon, but iOS users now have something that comes close.
That’s Nexomon – a game where you catch monsters called Nexomon, and one of the goals is to catch all 302 of them to fill your database. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That feeling of deja vu will follow you throughout the game as you venture into the bushes to catch Nexomon and battle “Overseers” of various towns in gyms.
When you first fire up the game, you’re introduced to the game’s back story. Long ago, humans were masters of their world, and then the leader of Nexomon showed up to wage war on them. In the centuries of fighting, some humans learned how to tame Nexomon and with their aid, fight the invaders. They won the war and the world has been at peace ever since.
That brings us to the protagonist in Nexomon. The character is the child of two scientists and he encounters one of the world’s most powerful Nexomon tamers, Nexolord, early in the game. That begins the quest where you go from town to town chasing Nexolord and stopping his evil plans. In the game, you’ll go around catching Nexomon, and take on others in monster battles.
The core gameplay revolves around Nexomon battles. During fights, your Nexomon will take damage and you can heal them at healing centres in cities. You can have up to six Nexomon with you for battles, and you can use all of them one by one to attack any Nexomon you encounter in the wild. Just make sure that you don’t reduce a wild Nexomon’s health to zero if you want to catch it.
That brings us to one of the more annoying elements of Nexomon. You need to buy Nexotraps to catch Nexomon, and each of these traps costs 250 coins. You’ll earn coins by winning battles against wild Nexomon, and also by fighting other trainers. It’s fairly easy, but we still felt that 250 coins is a high price for these Nexotraps, especially considering that sometimes you can’t catch Nexomon with one trap. Almost every time we threw a trap, the Nexomon would break out of the first trap and be caught on the second or even the third try.
That is frustrating because there’s no skill involved here – it’s just how the game has been coded. During battles some Nexomon can put their rivals to sleep or paralyse them. We found it particularly frustrating that even after we put a wild Nexomon to sleep, we couldn’t catch it with a Nexotrap on the first try. That aspect of the game feels a bit rigged.
However, we really enjoyed just roaming around Nexomon’s world and talking to random characters. There are areas in the game where characters will reveal more about your quest and where you need to go. In case you get lost, this is a nice albeit well-worn way to point you towards the correct direction.
The game has some interesting side characters as well such as the robot Atlas who helps you out throughout your journey. The writers also have a good sense of humour as you’ll find out when you reach various towns in the game and encounter the bad guys, particularly some of the Overseers who appear to be parodies of various facets of pop culture.
Nexomon battles are fairly simple. You pit your Nexomon against the other person’s Nexomon and they battle each other. As you keep battling your Nexomon level up and unlock more attacks. A level 2 Saxia, for example, may have only one attack but a level 10 Saxia will have four attacks including two that deal big damage. When you win battles your Nexomon level up and you’ll find it easier to take down stronger rivals.
This process is actually a lot of fun but it does require a bit of persistence. Sometimes you may encounter rivals who are too strong, which will make you return to the wild and start catching more Nexomon to level up. Since you have 302 Nexomon to catch before you can fill your database, it doesn’t feel like a grind either.
Nexomon is a premium game with in-app purchases. You don’t need any of these purchases to win or to progress, but they do have some really useful items such as shared XP (all Nexomon in your party level up much faster) and Golden Nexotraps (100 percent chance of catching Nexomon).
It’s not a major issue, but we still don’t like the idea of in-app purchases in premium games. If in-app purchases in paid games are just for cosmetic items or for extra levels, then it’s fine. For elements that help you speed up your progress, we aren’t so sure. That said, we’d recommend that you get the shared XP in-app purchase as it definitely helps you level up your Nexomon much faster.
As of now, iCloud sync is broken in Nexomon and the developers are working on a fix. So it’s best if you start playing the game only on the device that you’re going to have with you at all times. The developers have also promised a PvP mode for you to take on other Nexomon Tamers, and more content updates for the game.
Nexomon is a very polished game for something that’s just launched and we can certainly recommend it for anyone who has been waiting for a proper Pokemon game on smartphones. It has pretty decent lore, engaging combat, and some surprisingly good writing to keep you entertained.
- Lots of different Nexomon
- Decent story
- Polished game
- Premium game with in-app purchases
- iCloud sync broken
- Nexomon catching doesn’t involve skill
Overall rating (out of 10): 8