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Mobile open-world RPGs can be extremely hit-or-miss. While games like Genshin Impact have managed to get the “open-world” part right, that’s often not the case. Auto-pathing everything can take players out of the experience. And often, tiny UIs make the experience awkward on a smartphone.
With Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, I’m happy to report that neither of these are huge issues. The UI is a bit difficult on mobile, but the controls are solid enough. Additionally, auto-pathing felt pretty great, but that mostly comes down to the beautiful world delivered by the game.
We also played on Nox Player and PC client (beta), and have to say the experience has been much smoother playing on a bigger monitor. But enough about that, let’s dive into the early impressions!
Graphics and soundtrack
One of the major selling points of Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds was the gorgeous graphics and soundtrack. With graphics inspired by Studio Ghibli (the world was originally designed by the studio), people have been extremely to get lost in the world.
And it has been worth the wait. The landscape and world that Netmarble has created really are great. Ni no Kuni is definitely getting the most out of the Unreal 4 engine.
From the game’s opening soundtrack to the first time you enter the world, the music instantly transports you and so far has definitely been a highlight.
Class selection in Cross Worlds is going to present players with their first major hurdle. Each class (Swordman, Witch, Rogue, Engineer, and Destroyer), provide different playstyles.
We went with the Destroyer on our first playthrough. Their role in group content is that of a tank character. Customization isn’t going to blow your mind, but you do get some choices like hairstyle, eye color, facial features, and skin tone.
We haven’t had the chance to try any other characters yet, but definitely plan to check out the Witch soon.
Cinematics and story
One thing I love in mobile and gacha games is anime cutscenes. I’m a sucker for them. Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds features some absolutely stunning cutscenes and in-game scenes that look straight out of a Ghibli world.
Many of the in-game cutscenes are also fully voiced which is really nice. The voice acting is honestly great and has been a high point of the experience so far.
Early on, these cutscenes also require the player to do small actions on screen, but it’s unclear if that continues throughout the game.
I’m not terribly far into the game, but the story seems solid enough, if not a bit basic. Player gets thrown into a world. Comes under control of something important. Gets sent on a series of wacky adventures. You know the deal.
I can also appreciate the fact that humor is present in the dialogue and while it sometimes misses, there have also been moments of genuine chuckles.
Controls and fighting in Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds
Open-world mobile games aren’t exactly known for their great control. Even Genshin Impact, the most popular mobile game in the world, suffers from clunky camera controls. So far, I have to say I prefer touchscreen controls in Ni no Kuni over Genshin.
But, like Genshin, I ultimately prefer how the game feels and plays using the PC client. Being able to use mouse and keyboard is ultimately superior. The PC client is still in beta, so hopefully, it gets some updates, like being able to change keybinds.
Fighting feels crisp and moves are fun to watch. Familiars (think Pokemon) can be equipped that allows you to add unique moves and abilities to your kit. I have a feeling these will ultimately be what separates players from each other in the end game.
Should you play Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds?
We’re still early on in our play session, but so far we are enjoying what we’ve experienced. We’ll continue to update this post as we get more hours in. Currently, the biggest drawback is just how much auto-pathing and auto-questing is in the game.
Unlike Genshin Impact, which encourages players to explore its gorgeous world, most of the time spent in Ni no Kuni feels like it wants to you beeline past all the gorgeous settings and rush you through the experience.
We’ve also seen reports about huge amounts of player-killing (PKers) and if that is going to be the experience in the late game, then that will be a huge detriment to the title.
Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds is available for Android, iOS, and through a PC client. Heads up, you’ll need to register through Android or iOS and link an email before you can use the PC client. Don’t have a phone that can run it? Consider using an Android emulator on PC.