Genre: Isometric Action RPG Roguelike, Isekai, Waifus
That was fast.
Supermassive Games’ Hades was released in 2020 to critical acclaim and incredible financial success after being available in Early Access since 2018. It certainly didn’t take long for developers and publishers to catch on and take inspiration from what was one of the best rogue-like action indie games out there.
China-based publisher 2P Games and developer Hermit Games have done exactly that with their latest game, Nigate Tale. Just like miHoYo’s Genshin Impact was clearly inspired by the best elements from The Legend Of Zelda Breath Of The Wild, Nigate Tale has followed the formula laid down by Hades and added several unique twists of their own.
Who Needs Greek Gods When You Have Monster Girls?
In Nigate Tale, players assume the role of Roy, who’s basically the protagonist of an isekai anime. One day, when flying in his machine, Roy encounters a mysterious cloud that transports him to a strange world populated by strange creatures. In order to escape, he has to fix his ship by fighting through a procedurally-generated labyrinthic castle. Oh, did I mention that this world is populated by beautiful and titillating monster girl waifus?
Before I get ahead of myself, Nigate Tale is an isometric action RPG. If you’ve previously played Hades, you’ll be right at home. Basically, you’re encouraged to play with a controller (I used an Xbox Series controller) and the basic controls are simple. You perform a melee attack with X, a ranged attack with Y, an auxiliary attack (utilizing a special gadget like a ball shooting a spinning laser) with B and dodge by rolling with A. It’s also a roguelike, which means that you’ll start all the way from the beginning if you die and no two playthroughs are the same (procedurally-generated, remember?).
The combat feels surprisingly satisfying and punchy to pull off, which instantly reminded me of Hades (again). There’s simply no avoiding the comparisons with Hades. The biggest and best gameplay mechanic in Nigate Tale is the Monster Girls. Just like the Greek Gods in Hades, you meet and interact with these Monster Girls throughout the game. There’s a good variety of them as well, including a catgirl, an octopus girl, and even a centaur girl (you name it).
You can cultivate your relationships with these Monster Girls by talking to them and giving them gifts (an item called Magical Cake or something). Every time you give a Monster Girl a Magical Cake, not only do you unlock more dialogue and advance the plot of the game, but you also get more benefits. You see, just like the Boons in Hades, these Monster Girls give the player bonuses in combat. If you give them enough cakes and unlock reach far enough in their relationship, they’ll even give you a monster sprite creature to accompany and help you during combat.
Different Monster Girls can bestow different abilities, powers and more. For instance, Alona is fire-based and so, any special ability she gives you most probably has the elemental Burn effect, which you can then add to either your melee weapon, ranged weapon, dodge rolls, or even as a passive ability to spontaneously burn enemies. It’s awesome, and you can even mix and match (just like in Hades) with abilities from different Monster Girls at any one time.
This means that you can experiment with different abilities from different Monster Girls. There are also several melee, ranged, and auxiliary weapons to craft, as well as three different categories of skill trees to unlock. Each of these uses different materials and resources, of course (like meteorites to craft new weapons and crystals to unlock the skills in the skill trees). There are only four resources in the game (including gold, which is used to purchase items in the dungeon), so don’t worry about getting overwhelmed about having to collect too many different types of resources that you can’t even remember what they’re for.
Several hours into Nigate Tale and I was hooked on the addicting gameplay loop. It’s a testament to the developers that the game is fairly balanced even at the beginning of Early Access. The game isn’t too hard or too easy, and it provides a lot of replay value. What I like most about Nigate Tale is that (again, just like Hades) the game feels satisfying because you can feel your character gradually getting more powerful and improving over time.
I would also like to mention that Nigate Tale features an extensive encyclopedia (or monsterpedia, as I like to call it) listing every single type of enemy in the game (and trust me, there’s a lot of variety here). I always appreciate it when games offer a monsterpedia (or whatever you want to call it) because I don’t see it a lot these days (besides in games like Nioh 2). Most developers just don’t bother anymore. Nigate Tale has it so that means that Hermit Games cares enough about the game to add little details like background and bits of info for even the smallest enemy grunt in the game.
Still In Early Access
However, it should be noted that Nigate Tale is also very clearly still being worked on and in Early Access. While the gameplay is surprisingly polished, there are other aspects of the game that requires a lot more attention. Most importantly, Nigate Tale lacks two big things; voice acting and good music. The level design is also a bit repetitive (a lot of them look same-y), but that can be remedied with future content updates.
Yes, Nigate Tale doesn’t feature any voice acting whatsoever, which is disappointing considering the lively and interesting dialogue between Roy and the Monster Girls. Perhaps the developer plans to add voices in the future, and I hope that they do because as of now, it’s really missing a lot of charm that voice acting would have provided. Besides that, music is one of the weakest elements of the game. It’s unmemorable and generic, which is in stark contrast to the brilliant soundtrack in Hades.
It’s also bizarre that while I chose English as my preferred language in the settings, the game still had certain sections where the game is narrated in Chinese. Even if you’ve picked English, the Chinese language (probably Mandarin?) still pops up from time to time. Another aspect of the game that makes it look unrefined is the dialogue. As I previously mentioned, the dialogue is lively and interesting but it’s hampered by imprecise translations and overly wordy sentences.
In fact, the dialogue isn’t the only problem. The descriptions of the abilities in the skill trees and explanations for some of the game’s features can be difficult to understand because of the awkward translations. Some mechanics aren’t given proper introductions and may feel confusing at first. The developer will have to improve on this by hiring better translators and localization teams to work on the game’s writing and dialogues. This is the game’s biggest issue as of now, and the game needs to be localization needs to be improved.
It’s impressive that Nigate Tale is a game that’s just entered Early Access but is already turning out to be a good game to play (and not just because of the monster girl waifus). I initially went into this game thinking that the monster girl waifus would be the only appeal, but I’m glad that I was proven wrong. While it still needs a lot of work, there is virtually unlimited replay value. The game can only grow and improve from here on out. I’m genuinely excited to keep on playing this game, and that’s not something I always say about games in Early Access.
Nigate Tale is now available via Early Access with a special limited-time discount of 15 percent off at RM33.15 on Steam.