Nobody Saves the World, a recreation from developer Drinkbox Studios, is the newest indie darling to hit Xbox Game Pass on day one. Its hook: Your important character can become 17 completely different varieties, every of which has distinctive skills. As gamers discover a Zelda-like open overworld and examine intense dungeons filled with swarming enemies, they’ll need to always combine and match completely different varieties and skills to finest surmount a given problem.
It’s additionally harking back to 2021’s worst online game: Balan Wonderworld.
Released in March 2021, Balan Wonderworld lets the participant rework into one among 80 completely different costumes to finish platforming challenges in worlds primarily based on the recollections of troubled people. Balan Wonderworld‘s transformation-based gameplay tackles some of the same ideas as Nobody Saves the World, but was received much more harshly. Nobody Saves the World has a 79 on the review aggregate website Metacritic; meanwhile, Balan Wonderworld’s rating is as little as 36 on Nintendo Switch.
While Nobody Saves the World and Balan Wonderworld are completely different genres, their core ideas are related. Nobody Saves the World‘s successes spotlight Wonderworld‘s shortcomings and the way Square Enix may have improved it.
Quality over amount
Sometimes, much less is extra. In Nobody Saves the World, gamers slowly unlock 17 completely different varieties and over 80 skills. For instance, one kind is a Knight whose signature skill is to assault enemies with a sword and whose passive skill provides him an assault stat buff when he’s low on well being.
After taking down a gaggle of enemies as a Knight, you may then change to a different kind on the fly just like the Slug who fires slimy tears and leaves a path of standing effect-inflicting slime behind him.
Players spend ample time with each kind, and every is trickled out slowly sufficient to the place these gameplay methods by no means really feel overwhelming.
These are simply a few of the varieties that gamers can change to at any time in Nobody Saves the World.In Balan Wonderworld, gamers have 80 costumes with one skill every. Several costumes exist simply to leap or assault, making some varieties redundant. Players can solely carry three costumes at a time.
The reality that every costume solely has one skill additionally means gamers have to modify each time they wish to do a easy interplay, which is much more irritating than enjoyable contemplating gamers can solely carry three costumes at any time.
The scope of the costume idea was too bold for Square Enix. Game Director Yuji Naka even admitted in an interview with IGN Southwest Asia that, “during the proposal stage, I wrote down that it would have 80 different types of action, but I thought that once I actually started making the game, I would run out of steam at around 40.”
While he spun reaching 80 costumes as a constructive, Balan Wonderworld finally may have benefitted from trimming that quantity down. Balan Wonderworld prioritized amount over high quality, and it exhibits subsequent to Nobody Saves the World.
While a few of Balan Wonderworld’s costumes look memorable, they will all solely do one factor.Constant development
Nobody Saves the World achieves a continuing feeling of development by taking a cue from cellular video games. In an interview with the Xbox Podcast, Ian Campbell, the sport’s lead designer, factors out that the cellular recreation Jetpack Joyride‘s missions impressed Nobody Saves the World‘s development.
On prime of a typical leveling system, gamers full particular duties to stage up particular person varieties. Form-specific missions may ask gamers to do one thing like hit a single enemy 20 instances with the Slug’s Tear Burst, whereas different missions reward gamers for clearing dungeons or sidequests.
This means gamers are all the time working towards a mission, whether or not or not it’s short- or long-term. By following the lead of grind-heavy cellular video games, Drinkbox crafted one thing very addictive. It doesn’t even get repetitive as a result of there are such a lot of completely different varieties.
Meanwhile, Balan Wonderworld opts for a extra generic level-based construction. This setup is normal for platformers, however it additionally causes all the costumes to really feel one-note and situational .– as a result of most of them are. Some of the sport’s finest moments come when gamers return to a earlier stage with a brand new kind and unlock one thing they didn’t have entry to earlier than. But it’s removed from the mission-based development that offers Nobody Saves the World its addictive nature.
A bolder construction may have made Balan Wonderworld a much less tedious expertise.
Most of Balan Wonderworld’s costumes really feel extremely situational and solely helpful inside one stage.Mix and match at any time
A number of hours into Nobody Saves the World, gamers unlock a capability that actually permits the sport to come back into its personal: Swapping skills between varieties. Each kind comes with 4 skill slots and 4 passive perk slots. Each new kind has three common skills and one passive, so the combos are countless.
If you desire a mermaid that bites just like the Rat and excretes slime just like the Slug because it strikes, you may construct that. This system encourages gamers to customise their expertise and provides Nobody Saves the World immense replay worth.
Meanwhile, the shortage of customization in Balan Wonderworld feels restricted by comparability. If every costume may have multiple skill, or add one other costume’s energy, it might make each really feel customizable as an alternative of restraining.
While Balan Wonderworld feels too linear and bloated due its glut of costumes and generic construction, Nobody Saves the World is the primary actual gaming gem of 2022. Both video games took distinctive approaches to the character class and power-up methods that we’ve seen in video video games for many years, however yielded wildly completely different outcomes. Playing via Nobody Saves the World will make it extra obvious why Balan Wonderworld missed its mark.