By now you know I love a good old adventure. Venturing across distant lands, forbidden realms, making new discoveries, and maybe come back with a sack full of treasure and memories to look back upon. Give me the opportunity to go on a grand adventure and I will take it. No matter how treacherous the journey may be and the shady locations I may end up upon. Adventure is nigh and we’ll go up until we’re high. I should probably rephrase that last sentence. Anyways, I love going on quests mainly because it gives me something to do. Keep me engaged while I wait for the next exciting event to pop up in my life. What better quests or adventures to go on than in the realm of video games. The greatest form of distraction and my core addiction. My life is boring , okay? I’ve gone on hundreds of quests by now and despite some of them being difficult they were all fulfilling in the end. I traversed across the gallant seas, through overgrown jungles, ancient temples, and ruined kingdoms. I thwarted the plan of multiple villains and made friends along the way. Adventures that served as a way to escape reality.
Now, with the over the top and dramatic introduction out of the way we may move onto the main picture. Nobody Saves The World, a classic styled adventure game that came out earlier this year and was developed by an independent team of devs known as DrinkBox Studios. The same DrinkBox who made the Guacamelee! series, which we covered a few weeks ago on this site and learned I was a huge fan of. Guacamelee! 2 probably being my favorite game from them. This is one of those independent studios that doesn’t miss. Much like Yacht Club Games or Supergiant, when they tackle a new genre or formula they seem to handle it with care. They look at other titles that fall under the same category and try to realize what went right and wrong. Then they get a bit experimental and try to throw in ideas that help separate their game from other genre contemporaries. They don’t miss, because they actually put effort into their work.
Their new game,, Nobody Saves The World, was mainly inspired by classic Legend of Zelda titles and Final Fantasy Tactics. They wanted to create a sprawling world that was fun to explore, secrets to be found, and offered the most bizarre adventure the player would be taken on. It was a fantasy world where robots, monks, talking horses, mummies, wizards, and knights could all exist in the same place. They also incorporated an RPG element with several classes the player could change in and out of at any time. Allowing them to experiment and see the different ways they could tackle combat. What made the class system in Nobody Saves The World unique though was that they could combine the powers of different classes with each other. Giving certain characters traits and abilities that didn’t belong to them, and letting their imagination run wild. This opened up a lot of customization in a game with rather simple combat and got players to create some really overpowered builds. The game was shaping up to be great and the team’s most creative project to date. However, due to the complexity of the class system and the size of the world it had to be delayed several times until it was released in January of this year.
Did Nobody Saves The World live up to expectations? Of course it did. Critical reception wasn’t as high as with Drinkbox’s previous games, but it was well received. With reviewers even calling it one of the best indie games of 2022 so far. I finally took the chance recently to play the game, and can confirm that it is certainly worth your time. I do have a few criticisms with it like how the devs pad out the game’s runtime in hopes of making it feel like a well worth product and how some dungeons have balancing issues, but overall I think this is an excellent game. It’s well designed, addicting, got me to laugh at times, and was pure fun from beginning to end. It’s the most adventurous indie game of this year besides Tunic, and I think it’s one you shouldn’t skip. Yes, I know SkillUp had a similar statement but this is my review so we’ll try to make it sound different. Today we’ll be talking about why I quite liked Nobody Saves The World and why it deserves your attention. So grab your wand and raise it towards the heavens!
We are taken away to a mystical land full of magic and wonder. A place where… oh wait, no, you just woke up in a cold desolate shack with no memory of how you got there. Your body is stumpy, you have hollow black eyes, a blank stare, and your skin is white as snow. You are a nobody in fact your literal name is Nobody. However, being a nobody you head out of the shack. Hoping to find purpose for yourself and figure out exactly what is going on. Upon exiting the shack you learn that two wizards who ventured around the land and protected the people, the great Nostramagus and Astrolabus, have gone missing and immediately when then happened a mysterious corrupted substance sprouted out of nowhere. Taking hold of the greatest fortress and palaces, and sprouting monsters which are terrorizing the people and their daily lives.
You head over to Nostramagus’ place to search for clues and find out where he went off to. Only to discover there’s a wand lying on the ground possibly belonging to him. You pick up the wand and feel its mighty power course through your veins. As if it was destined to be wielded by your scaly hands. Until the apprentice of Nostradamus, Randy the Rad, busts in and claims this little mystery is only for him and him alone. He shall become the next grand wizard by finding where his master went and proving his magical spells are powerful. Using a trap door he dumps you into the basement below, but luckily that wand you obtained earlier is more useful than it seems. Through training, otherwise simply just walking around a cage, you build experience and the knowledge to magically transform yourself into a rat. Fighting the denizens of the underground and escaping. Slowly you unlocked new forms to take on. Mighty warriors and the many races of the land, and figuring out that you can combine their powers. You then figure out some of the dungeons this mysterious infection is housing in have these gem shards, and they may be used to stop the core of this spreading corruption. Off you go into the unknown. To find these gem shards, make peculiar allies, and figure out your origins. Who are you? Where did you come from? Why is your body completely useless and ugly? What happened to Nostradamus? Those mysteries are up for you to solve. Adventure is nigh and- that’s enough comedy for now.
I’ve covered quite a few classic styled adventure games before, but in case you don’t understand how they work, here's a brief explanation. You explore a sprawling world full of discoveries, fight enemies along the way, and loot buckets full of gems and treasures. Some areas may not be accessible from the start or be full of highly leveled baddies, so you may want to return when you have the right stuff or are stronger for these high leveled encounters. Make sure to check every nook and cranny as you don’t know if you’ll miss a secret. Treasure chests, side quests, and levers to pull down gates and open up shortcuts, and warp points to conveniently travel to certain points in the world and cut down backtracking. The real meat of this game are the classes, the chaotic combat, the several dungeons you’ll be venturing into, and the progression system which you’ll have to focus on so you can progress the story.
Let’s discuss the class system first as it’s the game’s most compelling aspect. There are a total of eighteen classes to choose from and they all function differently from each other. Some of these classes are the expected fantasy world inhabitants like the knight, ranger, necromancer, slime, etc. Then you have the really peculiar classes that don’t fit in with the setting like the robot, bodybuilder, and monk. You can even play as a turtle. Some classes are good for taking on enemies up close like the knight, and others are good for fighting from afar like the ranger. Some classes have a sturdy defense to absorb hefty damage like the bodybuilder, and other classes are kind of weak like the rat. Some classes can summon minions like the necromancer, and other classes can apply effects like the ghost who can turn invisible. All of these classes are really fun to deal with and you are going to want to experiment with them as the game downright requires you. New abilities, ability slots, and perks can be unlocked for each class if you complete objectives with them. This can range from slaying a certain number of enemies using specific attacks, or crazier objectives like using other class powers with specific characters. We’ll touch on this. Do this and you can unlock new tools to use.
Now let’s say you are playing as a specific class, but you wish you had the abilities other classes had. You could switch to another character, but you find it annoying and just want to stick to one class and their stats. Well luckily you can swap out the abilities of every character. Outside of their basic attack, you can use any of the abilities other characters have. Let’s say you are the knight, but want a couple projectile attacks to fight enemies from a distance. Well you could equip the ranger’s arrow spray and shoot enemies from afar, or the magician’s confetti bombs to toss out a bomb to blow up a group of baddies. It’s just abilities you can swap out, but also perks. Every class has a special perk, and you can equip up to four total perks for every character. If you set up the right abilities and perks for certain characters you can forge really overpowered builds. You will want to do this as enemies always appear in groups and swarm you from several directions. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but you can turn the tides by making attacks just cut through them like butter. I had a necromancer build where he could heal himself whenever he attacked enemies, and this carried over to his minions who could be summoned from corpses. Unfortunately there are always corpses on screen meaning I had a never ending supply of health and minions. I also had the monk’s holy rain which basically damages all enemies on screen. Turning me into an overpowered god of death who smited everything in his path.
Another reason why you want to swap powers out is because each attack does a certain damage type. There are four damage types in the form of slash, blunt, light, and dark. The enemies in dungeons may be immune to other damage types and you’ll have to hit them with one specific type. Always have certain abilities on hand so that you may break their defense and administer actual hurt onto them. There is a plethora of dungeons throughout the game, and visiting them can be a great way to complete character objectives and obtain skill points. Skill points can be used to upgrade abilities and perks. They can increase their attack power, their cooldown rate, or reduce the mana it costs to perform them. You’ll be doing a lot of quests throughout the game. Main objectives, side objectives, clearing dungeons, and those character objectives. Every time you clear a quest you obtain wands and experience points. That last is pretty explanatory if you played any other RPG out there. Collect enough experience points, level up, increase your stats, and grow stronger. What about that last one though?
Wands are a special kind of currency needed to up main story dungeons. When you uncover a dungeon that has to be completed to beat the game it’ll usually have a door listing the number of wands needed to open them. This then gets you to grind and complete a certain amount of quests to unlock these doors. Wands can be a little tricky to obtain at first, but you can rack up on them easily if you continue pursuing character objectives and completing side dungeons. Do this and you should open up these main dungeons. The dungeons rely on procedural generation. The floor layouts, the enemy spawns, and loot are all randomly generated. If you die you respawn at the start, but if you make it to the end you unlock a warp point to skip every floor. At the end lies either a room with waves of enemies or a boss enemy that has to be slain. Survive these encounters and you can complete the dungeon. Nothing much else to say from here. Hopefully you can prove to everyone Nobody is a Somebody.
Nobody Saves The World is a great game with more mechanical depth than I expected. I thought this would be a simple adventure game with mind numbing combat, but what I wasn’t thinking is that this would be one of the most surprising RPGs of the year. That’s right, I consider this to be an RPG and a really good one. Almost every idea this game has clicks together and even though some aspects are pretty flawed I had a great time overall. There’s just so much care put in and there’s butt loads of content outside the main story path. In fact you have to do a majority of that side content. A lot of players don’t like it when you are forced to do side content rather than main story content. Usually it’s because the developers realize how short the main story path is, so they drag out the runtime longer by requiring you to grind and meet certain requirements. Not many gamers like required grinding as it’s a terrible way to pad out the experience longer than it should last for. Take Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla for instance. A fifty plus hour long game that could have been cut down to thirty hours. You can see why required grinding is bad because it devalues the game, but trust me when I say Nobody Saves The World actually makes grinding fun.
I talked about it previously, but there are ways to make grinding in games fun. You either make a fun combat loop or the grinding process is addictive itself. I do have to admit the combat of this game is good. It’s not fantastic as it takes a bit of time to get used to, but it’s good for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons being the vast amounts of customization options. The class system is the best part of Nobody Saves The World as it allows you to forge whatever build you dream of. You test these builds out in the field and inside dungeons, and see what is the most optimal build for the hours to come. However, new abilities and ability slots cannot be unlocked unless you perform character objectives. You do that while also trying to explore the world and progress through side dungeons. Completing these objectives are really fun as not only are you figuring out how to complete them, but you are experimenting with the characters and their abilities. Seeing how it works may give you an idea of what to use.
Characters, builds, abilities, and unlocks. This is what makes the grinding of the game not as tedious as it should be. You are always pursuing a new goal and when you finally meet the requirements for this goal it feels fulfilling. Leveling up and unlocking abilities and perks is fun, but some of the wand requirements for the story dungeons can be high. The last two dungeons before the final dungeon have wand requirements up to sixty-five, which is a lot especially since the last two required thirty-five each. Getting wands isn't hard as long as you are doing side objectives and character quests, but some players may find this annoying as it means they’ll have to do a lot of busy work. I still found it fun to do side content though. Other compliments include the sheer size of the world. There are a lot of places to march towards and you can find some cool rewards for going off the main path. The artstyle is charming. It’s not one of my favorite art styles out there, but everything has this goofy look to it. Almost as if a child drafted this up in his head. The writing didn’t particularly hook me, but I do think it’s good. It can be really funny at times and some of the recurring jokes don’t get old.
I really liked this game, but I do have complaints. I love how you work towards forging powerful builds. Most games like Risk of Rain 2 either hand you down the feeling of being overpowered easily or it’s all by chance. Here you are actually figuring out what elements are overpowered, and I like it. However, this overpowered feeling comes to a fault. Once you start unlocking the elements needed to be overpowered it leads to the game becoming unbalanced really quickly. To the point where you are chopping through hordes and never falling below half health. This then leads you to sticking to the overpowered build and never swapping to anything else unless it’s needed to break certain defenses. Once I unlocked the necromancer, I used him and nothing else. The balancing isn’t just the overpowered builds alone. The game uses procedural generation for its dungeons much like a roguelike, and this can lead to difficulty swaying back and forth. These dungeons can be either fairly challenging, really easy, or curbstomp you. I also think it’s terrible that the main way they create difficulty in this game is by spawning enemies in huge hordes. Cluttering the entire screen, overwhelming you, and making it hard to see what is even going on. There’s also the fact dungeons have aspects, and these aspects can make them harder than they should. One dungeon may have an aspect like not being able to switch classes or enemies radiating back with rockets, and another has stuff like ailments lasting longer or all damage being increased by 9,999. Difficulty curves don’t happen often, but when they do it’s frustrating.
The game took me around 18 hours to beat. Not bad, but that is a little bit long for an indie game. Some of that time is due to the grinding, and by the end I was ready to put the game down and move onto another one. However, I did like this game and I do recommend it for what it gets right. Great class customization, fun world, and making grinding fun. In the end I give Nobody Saves The World a 9/10 for excellence at best.
This critique was written by the single man at Review on. Stay tuned for more content and feel free to check more reviews out over at my site!