Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Release: September 26th, 2019
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, PC
The Ys series returns to the Nintendo Switch with Ys IX: Monstrum Nox. The series started in 1987, with Ys IX being the second game in the series brought to the Switch (the previous entry, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, landed on the Switch in 2018).
You don’t need to play the previous entries to enjoy Ys IX, but I will admit, the beginning of the game was a bit confusing. If you haven’t played the series before, you play as Adol Christin, an adventurer that seems to find trouble (or trouble finds him). The game takes place in the prison city of Balduq, and Adol is imprisoned for his “antics''. While imprisoned, he runs into a mysterious character named Aprilis, who “curses” him with a superpower, making him a Monstrum. With his new abilities, he starts to discover others with these abilities, and uncovers a dark secret hiding within the city.
The game is broken into chapters, with each chapter revolving around the different Monstrums that eventually join your party. The game really starts opening up about an hour after the game begins, when the first Monstrum joins your party. The game is an action RPG and at first the battles are pretty scarce (and very story heavy), but after the first chapter is complete, the battle elements really start to open up. You have your standard attack and as you progress in the game, you start to unlock special attacks. The special attacks are mapped to the top shoulder button plus pushing either X, Y, A, B. As you unlock new special attacks by leveling up your character or by finding “recipes” unlocking the special abilities, you can decide which button the special attack is tied to. You consume Skill Points (SP) when you use these special attacks, however SP does replenish when you land normal attacks.
Besides the special attacks, you also have a