Nobody Saves the World was released on January 18, 2022 on Windows PC and Xbox One|Series. It offers us to play as Nobody and his multiple transformations in order to save the world. But what does this title have in reserve for us?
Nobody Saves the World is the latest title from DrinkBox Studios (Guacamelee) and puts us in the role of Nobody who has come from who knows where, with no pants and no memory, when the world is in the grip of Calamity and the person everyone is counting on to save them, Nostramagus, has disappeared.
On the way to Nostramagus’s house, which is just a few steps away, a strange wand is found while going through his belongings. Randy, the assistant of Nostramagus, throws us in an oubliette for this theft. But this magic wand quickly becomes the key of our escape and of the adventure to follow…
As previously mentioned, in this game we play as Nobody, a human being with no special features and no great abilities. Fortunately, he discovers the way to use the wand of Nostramagus to transform himself. The very first transformation is into a rat and becomes the key to our escape, allowing us to sneak into a small hole at the bottom of our jail.
As we gradually improve our mastery of this form, we unlock other transformations, which in turn open up other transformations. In the end, in addition to the basic form (Nobody’s), the game offers us to use up to 17 transformations, each one different in its stats, its abilities and especially its gameplay. All of them are interesting to play.
They are gathered in a tree with a completely arbitrary progression (the rat form unlocks among others the knight form which unlocks among others the mare form…). Each new transformation requires to have reached a sufficient mastery rank (indicated on the tree) for all the transformations that directly precede it.
Each form is unlocked at the F rank of mastery. At this point, the shape has a basic attack and a passive. Progressing to the next rank of mastery of this form, D (there is no rank E), unlocks a second attack. And advancing to B (through C) unlocks a final attack (some forms don’t have a second attack, but that just unlocks the third attack slot). The maximum rank of mastery is S.
At the same time, it is possible to upgrade each power of a form (the passive and the attacks) 3 times to improve the effect, reduce the mana hit and/or reduce the recovery time. Each upgrade requires consuming upgrade tokens and having a sufficient mastery rank in the associated form (D to go from I to II, B to go from II to III and S to go from III to IV).
The game accompanies the adventure with a lot of missions. Some follow the progress in the main quest, some mark the successful completion of a dungeon, some reward all the actions you can do in the game and finally there are the form missions. Missions can give experience (to level up and increase basic stats), stars (consumed to open certain doors) and/or form mastery points.
Progressing through a transformation can only be done by using that transformation to complete the associated shape missions. The first form missions are simply to use the powers in a relatively basic way. These missions allow you to level up all accessible forms to rank C (this unlocks 7 of the 17 transformations).
Quite quickly in the game, an event unlocks the possibility to use the powers of the other forms with a form as well as the second series of form missions that exploit this in particular, allowing you to progress to rank B and unlock the next 5 transformations.
The last quests, allowing to unlock all the forms and to reach the max rank, come later still, but unfortunately do not bring anything new.
Once the possibility to mix powers is unlocked, you get directly a fourth slot to put an attack and a second slot to put a passive. Two other passive slots are also added, but unlocked at level 20 and 30 respectively.
It is not possible to remove or replace the passive and the basic attack of a form. But it is possible to equip any passive in the following slots (but a passive cannot be equipped twice to double its effect) and it is possible to equip any attack in the three slots other than the basic attack (so it is possible to remove the attacks of a shape that are not the basic one).
Note that passives are useful effects for all forms and not intrinsic abilities of a form. For example, the slug moves around leaving behind a trail of slime that slows down enemies, but its passive is to increase the damage to enemies that suffer a state alteration (such as the slowdown caused by its slime or the poison applied by the lurker’s passive). Similarly, the mermaid has the ability to move in water and her passive is to recover mana by taking damage.
In short, if forms affect gameplay in combat, they also affect exploration. Switching forms makes it easier to move around the world (in addition to the teleporters found in most areas) and is necessary to explore every corner and find every secret. The mare is a good option to get around quickly. The rat, the turtle or the slug allow to go through narrow passages. The mermaid, the turtle or the ghost are not blocked by water.
The world of Nobody Saves the World is quite rich. Enough to reward exploration and spend time not progressing in the main quest. But without offering too much, without ever giving the impression of offering useless things. So, besides the dungeons you have to do to progress in the story, there are a lot of optional dungeons for more challenge.
And if the very first dungeons are quite basic, just asking you to kill enemies, there comes a time when the dungeons have special rules to make things even more challenging. There is for example a dungeon where all damage is multiplied by x9999, another one where protections regenerate or one where all the healings you receive are also applied to enemies and pets (and this last one is not an optional dungeon).
In short, there are a lot of mechanics pushing you to alternate forms, but also the powers you combine with them, between the needs of explorations, to complete dungeons, to complete missions, but also to counter a protection mechanic of the enemies making them invulnerable as long as you don’t hit them with the required type of attack (all attacks do damage of the cutting, blunt, shadow or light type).
Everything is done with a certain identity. This is the case via the art direction, via its drawn style that does not fail to distinguish the title from its competitors, but also by its writing, with a lot of humor, especially in some dialogues leaving the player the choice between two options: the same answer, but formulated slightly differently.
Nobody does it better
Nobody Saves the World is a medium-sized game (about 20 hours) with simple pretensions, but with a solid result. It could be compared to Cat Quest, but it would not be a good match for the depth of Nobody Saves the World’s gameplay.
If at the beginning of the game the difficulty is low, it progresses as the adventure goes on, with more varied and powerful enemies and above all constraints (missions to accomplish, special rules applied) that sometimes make you have to rack your brains to find a solution to your problem. But the game is not very punitive: you don’t lose anything when you die and you come back to the place of the last auto-save (without losing the gains made since the save), at worst at the beginning of the dungeon.
If we have to make a reproach, it would be that the formula runs out of steam at the end by struggling to renew itself in some activities (if the second series of missions brings novelty by asking to mix powers, the following series only repeats and lengthens this).
Nevertheless, it is a very good experience, thanks to its humor and its transformations. With a little regret that the game is not on Switch, because for some it would have been perfect to play it from the bed on a day when the urge to do nothing is outweighing everything else.