How did my passion for mobile gaming start? My first dose of “mobile" gaming came from Pokemon Blue on the Gameboy Color. I can’t tell you how many hours I feverishly poured into that game. I would play it for as long as my little AA batteries would last me. I loved being able to bring it with me on car trips or wherever I went. It is definitely one of my most precious gaming memories from when I was a kid. Now that I am an adult, I find myself seeking that nostalgic feeling of being a kid again, especially through playing games similar to those that I experienced in the past. That is why I regularly scour the App Store for modern games that resemble the games of my childhood, as well as why I decided to download Nexomon ($0.99) by LIME TURTLE, INC.
You begin Nexomon as a new “Tamer" who has the ability to tame Nexomon. Nexomon are the Pokemon of the Nexomon world. After you choose your character’s gender and name, you set out on an adventure to build a powerful team of Nexomon and save the world. Does this sound familiar? The story was a bit cliche at the beginning of the game but it was surprisingly good throughout its entire duration. The cast of characters you meet within the game each have personalities all of their own and I enjoyed getting to know each of them throughout my journey, especially my quirky robot companion named Atlas.
The aesthetics of the game are incredible. I loved the ridiculously detailed 2D artwork and animations throughout the game. Nexomon have super smooth animations that bring them to life in battles, characters/environments are varied and well-animated, and story sequences are thematic. There is even a gyroscope mechanic that moves the background of the game whenever you tilt your phone during the opening screen and Nexomon battles. I thought this was a clever addition. I have absolutely no complaints in this department. The developers definitely made a lot of effort to give Nexomon a unique look and it shows.
However, how does the gameplay of Nexomon measure up to its high-quality visuals? There are 9 diverse regions for you to explore and 8 legendary Nexomon to defeat. There are also Overseers (Nexomon’s versions of Gym Leaders in Pokemon) and other Tamers for you to battle. The battles themselves take place in a wide variety of locations, such as tall patches of grass, caves, volcanoes, and other unique settings. You still adhere to the same rock-paper-scissors gameplay of Pokemon within Nexomon, where using certain types of Nexomon against other types can maximize their effectiveness. It’s important to mention that you acquire in-game currency for any battle that you win, including battles where you fight wild Nexomon. You can spend this currency to buy items at shops within towns. Towns also contain a hospital for you to heal your Nexomon.
The battle screen of Nexomon is set up similarly to Pokemon but, unfortunately, you cannot read the details of what each move does within the battle screen. You have to wait to learn the details of attacks until you are outside of battle. I found this to be inconvenient at the beginning of my time with the game because I was trying to learn what each move did. Another concern I discovered with the battle system of Nexomon is that moves that inflict status effects are extremely under-powered. It’s hard to land them and they don’t seem very impactful at all when you do, especially when trying to catch Nexomon in the wild.
This brings me to one of the main gripes I have with Nexomon: its catching rates. Nexomon are sorted into different rarities within the game. These rarities are in the order of common, rare, super rare, mega rare, ultra rare, and legendary. You catch Nexomon by using “Nexotraps"…LOTS and LOTS of Nexotraps. I regularly found myself having to use 15 or more Nexotraps to catch any Nexomon with a rarity of super rare or higher, despite lowering its HP significantly and putting it to sleep (as well as other status effects). This was very time-consuming and made me feel dread, instead of excitement, whenever I found a high rarity Nexomon. I feel as though the difficulty of catching rarer Nexomon should come from finding them in the wild and making them vulnerable enough to catch, not the actual act of catching them. It was strange to experience this in a game where one of a player’s main goals is to collect as many different creatures as possible.
However, there are “Gold" Nexotraps available only through IAP that guarantee one capture each. I feel as though the capture rates for regular Nexotraps within the game were made this way in order to encourage players to purchase the aforementioned Gold Nexotraps. It’s still possible to catch every Nexomon you encounter within the game but it takes a lot more time than it should, due to having to grind for in-game currency (to buy numerous Nexotraps) and then throwing handfuls of them (one by one) at a Nexomon hoping to catch it. The developers of the game have said that the rates were lower than they anticipated and that they will put out an update to increase catching rates. Hopefully that happens soon!
Nexotraps aren’t the only in-app-purchase available within Nexomon. You can buy Nexomon companions to follow behind you in-game, new skins for your character, and Regular/Gold Nexoboxes. Regular Nexoboxes give you a chance of receiving any Nexomon within the game. Gold Nexoboxes have a chance of giving you a super rare Nexomon, or above, guaranteed. The notification icon for these Nexoboxes, as well as the notification icon for buying premium currency for IAP’s, are visible on the main screen throughout your time with the game. There is no option to hide them. I found these icons to be quite tacky and in your face. It made me feel like I was playing a free-to-play game instead of a game I already paid for. Some legendary Nexomon are only available within Nexoboxes, which is quite a bummer. The developers say that they will be holding events where you can catch them for free instead. I am definitely crossing my fingers for this to be true. I don’t like leaving things up to RNG.
You can also buy permanent items, such as Nexo Skates, Experience Share, Nexo Charm, and Repel Spray. I played without these items for about half of my playtime and then I experimented with all of them for the rest. I found that the Experience Share helped a ton with leveling my Nexomon faster and reduced most of the grind I was experiencing. However, I enjoyed grinding and leveling Nexomon one-by-one. In my opinion, this is a very fair IAP. The Nexo Skates and Repel Spray both did exactly what they said they would. I was able to travel faster and not run into any wild Nexomon whenever I didn’t want to. However, I felt these were just quality of life items that are totally optional. They did not affect the gameplay significantly enough for me to feel that they were needed. These are definitely fair IAP’s as well. The permanent item that had the biggest effect on my time with the game was the Nexo Charm. This item allows you to run into rarer Nexomon more often. Before I started using this item I had run into VERY few Nexomon that were above super rare in rarity. I feel like having the Nexo Charm made it so I could actually encounter every rarity of Nexomon, instead of once in a blue moon (or not at all). This is a must-have item (in my opinion) and it will cost you a little more money.
I don’t want you to get the impression that all of these things make Nexomon unplayable or not enjoyable. You can beat the entire game after you buy it without any further purchases. I just feel like some of the IAPs hamper the experience a bit and hold it back from being almost flawless. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game and I experienced the nostalgic feelings I was looking for. It was a blast to acquire my favorite Nexomon and create my dream team. I’ll be observing the game’s progression in the future and I will keep trying to to Tame ’em all, despite me already beating the game after around 10+ hours.
There’s no doubt that Nexomon wears its inspirations proudly on its sleeve. It is first, and foremost, a game that tries to emulate the Pokemon formula. The phrase “Pokemon clone" usually has quite a few negative connotations attached to it. However, Nexomon manages to have an amazing art style, quality music, and a large/unique roster of creatures to collect. The only things that hold this game back from being incredible is its horrendous catching rates and the portions of its in-app-purchases that I feel should have automatically been included in the initial $2.99 purchase of the game.
If you are looking for a Pokemon clone for your mobile device, this is as good as it gets. Trust me, I have tried ’em all. Just be ready for an unnecessarily long grind ahead of you if you want to catch… *clears throat* tame ’em all without forking over a bit more money in the process. Don’t forget to check out other people’s impressions of Nexomon in our forums, where the developers have been quite active and receptive to feedback, and leave impressions of your own.