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Nine Parchments Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While I'm sure Nine Parchments is a lot of fun with friends involved, I found the single-player experience to be both trying and painful. I like the presentation and gameplay, but hate how limited everything else is. It's also repetitive, pitting players against the same batch of boring enemies in every stage. Solo players need not apply. Rating: 40%
Nine Parchments
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  • Review Score:

  • C-
Instead of starting this review with the usual nonsense, I feel like I need to issue a warning. If you're the type of gamer who is looking at Nine Parchments as a fun multiplayer adventure to take up with a bunch of friends, then this review isn't going to be much help. Buy the game, grab a few co-op players and have a good time. But if you're anything like me and intend to play Nine Parchments as a solo quest, then I'm here to talk you out of that decision. Consider this a warning.

Described as a "blast 'em up," Nine Parchments is a Diablo-style dungeon crawler with an emphasis on using magic spells. You play a runaway apprentice wizard that seizes the opportunity to complete their spellbook by going after the legendary nine parchments. What these naive kids don't realize is that they are way out of their depth when it comes to traveling across the land. They'll have to deal with wave after wave of bad guys, all while they attempt to master their newfound abilities against some of the nastiest bosses they'll ever see.


I was immediately struck by how bright and colorful Nine Parchments is. Perhaps it's because I'm so used to fighting through dungeons, castles and villages at night, but I was instantly won over by the vibrant colors and gorgeous vistas. If nothing else, I like the world they constructed for Nine Parchments. No matter if you're fighting through the sandy beaches of the Turtle Islands, the freezing winds in Snowdale Hills, the detailed architecture found in the Warm Springs Valley or the stony mountainsides of Miry Highlands, the game is filled with sharp graphics and a lot of personality.

I kept imagining how much fun this would be if I was playing with three other people and working together to take down those nasty bosses. It seems like there were several new magicians to unlock, unique items to find and all kinds of different abilities to learn. It feels like the kind of game somebody could get invested in and spend hundreds of hours playing through the adventure over and over again with friends. When I take a step back, I can see how somebody might really enjoy Nine Parchments.

Unfortunately, as somebody who decided to play through the game by myself, I did not have a fun or exciting time. I had a frustrating time where I kept going up against a half dozen enemies that are able to kill me in a single strike. I love the graphics and vast collection of things to unlock, but this game is an absolute nightmare for anybody going it alone.

Nine Parchments (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The gameplay is set up where you have a melee attack with the left shoulder button and can cast a spell with the right. Like the silly "blast 'em up" description suggests, there's a real emphasis here on casting magic spells at the bad guys. You'll be choosing new attacks as you collect the different parchments, some of which include throwing ice darts, raining fireballs from the sky and zapping everybody with an electrical burst.

You'll eventually amass quite a collection of these spells, which you'll switch between by using either the D-pad or L1 and R1 buttons. This isn't so bad early on when you only have three attacks, but it becomes unruly the moment you're swapping between nine or ten spells. A lot of games like tend to map several spells to different buttons, which frees you up to combo a bunch of different moves. But Nine Parchments doesn't do anything like that, which is even more baffling when you realize how many buttons go completely unused.

The problem I faced is that even with nine or ten attacks, I was still facing too many enemies at once. What I'm sure is a fun and fast-paced adventure with a few friends by your side quickly turns into a slow and arduous ordeal where I had to play carefully and put up with more cheap deaths than I can count. The good news, I suppose, is you'll be resurrected once and there are checkpoints after every two or three waves of enemies.

Nine Parchments (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

That reminds me, this game is little more than one wave of enemies after another. You don't explore the levels so much as walk from one battle to the next. It's an incredibly linear game where you see the exact same enemies over and over and over. It's as if they spent all their time on the beautiful backgrounds and forgot to create enough bad guys.

I kept wondering if I was missing something. I mean, I've played a lot of adventure and role-playing games, so I'm not exactly new to the genre. You typically pick up loot, swap out weapons, improve your states and so on so forth. There's a little of that in Nine Parchments, but your choices are incredibly limited. You know those weapons and hats you're picking up? You can't equip them. You have to start the game over from the beginning to equip those items, because, unless I'm missing something, you can't change anything after that. I found myself scouring the menus and pushing every button just to make sure there wasn't some hidden way to customize my character.

I ended up just accepting that I'll probably never get the most out of Nine Parchments. I can understand the appeal of playing with friends and wanting to unlock all the content, but there are more than a few design decisions that left me scratching my head. I like the graphics and the magic-focused gameplay, but everything else left me cold.

While I'm sure Nine Parchments is a lot of fun with friends involved, I found the single-player experience to be both trying and painful. I like the presentation and gameplay, but hate how limited everything else is. It's also repetitive, pitting players against the same batch of boring enemies in every stage. Solo players need not apply.
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