Nobody Saves the World is an action RPG with a difference. There’s no looting to be done on your adventure, and while there is a class system, it’s far from what you’d normally expect as you can switch between roles like fighter, mage, or rogue at will. If you’ve ever wanted to switch forms between a rat, zombie, mermaid, or any number of unexpected choices, then this is just for you.
It begins with in a suitably strange fashion. First, you’ve got no clothes on, and second, the wizard you’ve been sent to has been kidnapped. Instead, you bump into his underling, Randy, who is all kinds of out of his mind and/or incompetent. Then you discover the wizard’s wand in a coffee machine, and decide to steal it to go look for him yourself. You get a dialogue choice or two, but they’re usually along the lines of “no” and something else that’s the same but more emphatically. It’s quite silly, but manages to be funny most of the time, while the bits that fall flat can be easily overlooked in favour of the next silly joke. This introduction lasts a few minutes before throwing you out into the world with your wand and the ability to turn into a rat.
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The rat is your first form, and you’ll need to level it up by killing monsters to unlock more. Initially, this presents a gameplay experience so simple that I started to worry, as your rat (like all the other forms) starts with just a single attack. Thankfully, as you level up your form through grade letters from F to S, you unlock abilities. In the case of the rat, your passive ability is regenerating mana from eating food, your main attack poisons enemies, and you unlock consume, which heals you when damaging an enemy, and the ability to cause poisoned enemies to explode. Even with these, the game still seems quite simplistic until you unlock the biggest ability of all: mixing and matching your unlocked skills across forms.
This really opens up the game from what is a decent, but straightforward action RPG into one that can be quite rewarding. It allows you to basically make your own classes by taking skills that complement each other from different forms and combining them into something different.
For example, I took the zombie’s Zombite ability to infects enemies and then turns them into friendly zombies when they die and the Hat Trick ability from the Magician form which pulls a rabbit out of a hat to help in combat, and I put these on my ranger who has a bow that needs a split second to charge. Suddenly I could shoot a few arrows at enemies as they approach, while my rabbits help take down their health, then Zombite them to finish them off when they get close. Now I have some zombie helpers that turn anything they kill into more zombies. It’s very satisfying, especially if you add in, say, Shield Bash to reflect incoming damage for when more powerful enemies get too close. You can purchase upgrades to further enhance these abilities as well, such as one that makes any minions you have explode when their health drops too low, dealing even more damage to nearby enemies.
The problem is that every single form you unlock begins at F grade, with only a single attack, effectively forcing you to repeat previous dungeons over and over to level them up and unlock more abilities. This gets very repetitive very quickly, especially since the enemy variety within each dungeon is lacking – there’s plenty of enemy types, but you’ll spend extended periods of time fighting through the same selection time and again. Add to this how levelling up relies not on defeating monsters, but on completing quests that give experience divided between your chosen form and your underlying character level.
The best quests for leveling forms are the ones specific to the one you’re using, which can occasionally cleverly hint at new ways to use skills, but often have you just killing a certain amount of enemies with a specific attack. It’s another case of repetition, but even more narrowly focused on specific abilities, which drag you away from the strength of the class customisation.
Most of the main quests involve trekking across the world, but navigation can be infuriating. There’s multiple areas that I spent a good chunk of time working my way towards that I simply couldn’t reach yet, having wasted half an hour trying to get there only to hit a dead end with a gate that can only be opened from the other side.
Then there’s combat, which is most enjoyable when you’re over-levelled, but lacks the precision required to avoid frustration when you’re not. Good luck fighting anything with the rat form without taking damage, as it’s so small you need to be basically climbing up an enemy’s legs to deal melee damage. When you’re fighting groups of tougher enemies in dungeons, it can be infuriating as they swarm you and chances are you don’t have a dodge ability given the way that everything is unlocked. As a result, you’ll be endlessly running backwards while attacking.
The game looks good enough with its top down, cartoony pixel art style, but I feel that it doesn’t look all that distinctive. It looks like any number of similar games, but with a higher degree of competency in its delivery. Music is pretty good, though it reminds me a little bit of the opening to Gravity Falls for some reason. I found it really charming, though again lacking in distinctiveness.
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