Nine Parchments Review

Rouge-lite without the random element
(4K Magic Online Co-Op Game)

Nine Parchments is something of a unique proposition for the gamers of Steam’s massive platform. In the Action RPG genre, magic wielding specifically, this new title exists as a story mode game that has been adapted to a much greater purpose.

Through a multi-run system, Nine Parchments has been developed into a Rougelite gameplay experience that has none of the fatigued randomly generated elements of the sub-genre but instead an excellent display of top quality game graphics, engine performance, elemental magic spells, enemies, unlockable characters, spells, weapons, and more.

The title doesn’t take any of the industry’s recent controversial advantages against the player but rather instead attempts to deliver the ultimate package in a full title of abundant content that’s as well balanced as it is well designed. Fun Factor takes center focus with a solid gameplay battle system to match the desirable graphics and presentation of the game, and a first foundation to what hopes to be a brand new series makes a great installment for RPG fans of many types to play and enjoy online together or solo in battle.

The main objective regardless of whether its your first story playthrough, or your fortieth, is to acquire new parchments or spell books and scrolls. 4 Difficulty Options, 32 Levels, 8 Boss Fights, Hardcore Mode, In-game rewards for hard work on higher difficulty settings such as Rare Loot, Prestige Drops, Legendary versions of Additional Unlockable Playable Characters, Spells, Wizard Hats, Wizard Staffs, Equipment, and more.

Gameplay

Enemies can get their own elemental defense, paired with a bubble / shield type defensive predisposition pertaining to the opposite elemental defense. This double negative ensnarement of magical defense causes players to need a great equipment, co-operation with each other on attack co-ordination, and a quick thinking attack and dodge move to survive it all. The game has 4 difficulty settings in total which can change the outcome of an already difficult to master charade of elemental magic attack and dodge choreography with a sinister army of beings fighting against your survival.

Source of Data: SteamSpy Sales Charts Database File #471550

You will face difficult enemies as a team and meet allies with the online multiplayer co-op enabled feature of this game. There’s always somebody playing Nine Parchments on Steam. At the time of this writing, 80 people were playing yesterday and there’s been thousands playing in the last couple of weeks according to current gameplay measurement resources being developed for analyzing the Steam gaming marketplace – a wash in mediocre or poor content which may make great games like Nine Parchments struggle to find their audience. It’s good to know if you buy the game now and boot it up, there are other people enjoying the game ready to play co-op matches with you.

Battles feel very fine-tuned for what the player might have been up to for the moment in terms of preparation, which is surprising considering how many difficulty modes, characters, spells, and weapons there are. 9P always feels balanced and fun to play but challenging at the same moment. The excitement of unlocking more content through surpassing challenging action is enough to keep players pushing passed for more ground.

Often, players die from a small mistake. If playing solo, get ready to lose a lot of progress and find yourself competing against a last run in order to simply repeat all of the mastered sections of a level and then fall slain again gaining little ground before regaining another attempt to implement what that death has just taught you. Players can master Nine Parchments through perseverance and have little to almost no random element to worry about – which is a refreshing break away from other Roguelite content.

Graphics

The incredible look to each game makes you feel as if the place is alive and well. Lighting and shadows, detail and anti-aliasing all come together for a symphony class concert of visuals well equipped to take the eye for a storm of profound delights. As players keep killing various magical creatures atop mountains crafted by a mythical time period, magician-like attributes are being unlocked and deployed against increasingly well thought out enemies for 8 bosses worth of armies spread across 32 excellent levels worth of breath taking sight seeing during combat.

Magic spells have great special effects that take various forms of sometimes unexpected behavior but always well communicated to the player through life-like extremes of color and visual fidelity in which ethereal energy is made a lethal weapon through the character.

Engine Performance

Nine Parchments performs extremely well at 4K graphics resolution on a single NVIDIA GTX 1080 with excellent textures, good frame rates, as well as performance in keeping identical with online enabled. This is truly incredbile engine performance from Frozenbyte who should be proud at a franchise running so well with such a stunning look to it but also a detailed and fun feeling gameplay component.

Online Component

This game takes discipline of gameplay mastery serious, something you’ll know by now if you’ve played Nine Parchments by yourself solo before. It’s a meticulously crafted chess board of magic attacks and defenses balanced in a way that is fun yet frustrating to take out with very little margin for error allowed. Consequences for the simplest mistake are typically death or close to it. Resources and even steps in certain directions must all be plotted in realtime. Friendly fire online is even permanently switched on by the developers – a final line in the sand against those who take 9P magic attacks casually.

Even though players re-enter the storyline multiple points, and might choose to attempt the game more than once before even beating it – thus seeing various content out of order and repeating – there is a wealth of content regardless of the path players choose. It would be nice if the content could be played out of order, and would like the developers to consider making an open world for mission approach next time around rather than a linear story to address this.

A lot of well memorized gameplay must be defeated for each milestone to progress the story, and with the chance to unlock Legendary characters with unique skill trees and starting spells, players will want to play the hardest mode once they’ve mastered the game. Sometimes it can be unexpected for new players to understand when they would lose their progress in the linear story part of the game, then come to grips with a sort-of glitch of overlooked detail in the design of 9P. This brings us to the Rougelite nature of the game being non-optional unfortunately.

All of the screenshots you see in this review were taken by RealGamerNewZ during real gameplay sessions

Save File Issue & Controversial Re-running philosophy

Originally, the RGN Review team intended to play the title as a story mode type of game only and check out the online path later. Instead, the online component was drop in / drop out and we decided to test it in the middle of story mode progress. What resulted next was something we later found to be the complaint by many players online. The save file of our story mode progress was wiped out by the act of joining an online game.

This save file issue is being addressed by developers in future updates, and may not exist on all platforms the game is available for – however, it also points to the overall design philosophy of the game. For players who thought the game is an online romp about but also had a sheltered, traditionally style offline story mode – they aren’t entirely wrong but this glitch shows the emphasis being placed on the online mode’s integrity being placed above that of the story mode.

The philosophy of Nine Parchments is that, although the story mode supports a ton of content, the game itself is also based on keeping your long-term unlocks, then getting new characters to start over with items and loot. The next game you play with new unlocked playable characters will be able to use the new unlocked long-term content as well.

This means you’re continuously meant to replay this game, and things like keeping a save file of your story content aren’t that necessary when playing online and warping between story points with your friends. This point perhaps could have been more central to the design concept of the story and mission contents itself, and advertised in a less confusing way for players. But once you wrap your head around it, it’s a great game in its own right indeed.

Controller compatibility issues at times left us playing with a mouse and controller despite various new ways to hack together controller support. This is something that could be fixed in future updating, although keyboard and mouse vs controllers seems to be something that should be ready at launch considerably for both types of players in today’s day and age.

Nine Parchments seems to have re-lit the argument of rogulelike vs roguelite debate and how it effects the save file issue & controversial re run philosophy of 9P. Players feel like they expected a normal story mode game with an awesome magic online battle system but instead got something that tried to be both merged into one great looking, great running package.

Offering suggestions on what to add to make the game feel less like things are missing, RealGamerNewZ suggests things such as freedom of control in an open overworld map above the need for travelling to missions within a story framed arc once that’s already been completed. More freedom and open world aspects as well as a better rewards system for folks with a promise of future content, however minor it may be, could really be a reason for the game’s roguelite functions to make more sense to the player experience a second time around. If Nine Parchments gets a sequel, and we hope it does, then something like this must be considered for the players.

Comparisons to other magic-based games are bound to be made but Nine Parchments, or 9P, feels like its own great, new brand we’d like to see more of.

Conclusion:

Nine Parchments is one of the best games to emerge from Frozenbyte and with an incredible quality of gameplay design, graphics excellence, smooth engine performance at 4K with high framerates balancing online multiplayer co-op load with replayability and tons of built-in unlockable magic content and weapons. The areas the game takes place in show the attention to detail in both the incredible art pieces as well as the combat system itself in 9P with its feel-good handling of characters.

There’s a lot to love with Frozenbyte’s title Nine Parchments and it will stand up against much of its competition as a solid new take on the top-down, dungeon crawling, co-op enabled, magic-based action rpg formula. That being said, there’s still a lot to improve upon. 9P gives us an excellent foundation for what we could easily see becoming a huge annual franchise delighting fans every few years with large leaps towards perfection. I am still enjoying the game and hope gamers continue picking this up and giving it a chance to shine. Nine Parchments gets an 8.5 out of 10 making it an RGN Silver Game of 2017.

Official Trailer:

Final Score: 8.5 / 10

RGN Rating: Silver Game
Developer: Frozenbyte
Publisher: Frozenbyte
Available On: Steam (Windows PC)
Played On: PC (GTX 1080/Intel i7)

Also Available On: GOG, Humble, PS4Nintendo Switch, Xbox ONE

Release Date: December 5, 2017

Review Copy Info: Four digital copies of this game were provided for free to RealGamerNewZ by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20180104 and was last modified on 20180105 .