Sadly, this is a result of the 4+ years of influence Mr. Artist has had on my life and his uncanny ability to awaken old behaviours in me that had been banished during my teenage years, such as napping and video games. Unfortunately, my influence seems to have had zero impact on him, but I guess that's because he's never had a love for expensive purses and beauty products in the first place. In any case, in the past year or so, I've slowly become immersed into his love of gaming; at first just so that we'd spend time together, and then because I actually began to enjoy them!
The elements that make an enjoyable game for me are the art, the game play and above all, the story. Recently released RPG game Ni No Kuni covers all those bases. At first I was only intrigued by this game because of its association to my beloved Studio Ghibli, but I quickly found many other reasons to love it and play it obsessively.
Here are my top 5 reasons for why Ni No Kuni has taken over my life - and why maybe you should give it a chance too:
1. Excellent story: The game follows the adventures of Oliver, a young American boy who suddenly becomes an orphan after a tragic accident. Heartbroken, he's astounded when his tears falling onto his favourite stuffed toy transforms it into a magical fairy who transports him to another world. There he must overcome a series of obstacles and fight an evil wizard in order to rescue... his dead mother?? The story of Ni No Kuni has all the classic fantasy elements: magic, strange creatures, a grand quest, dark lords and the trusted guide figure, which in this case is a fairy with a Scottish (?) accent and a lantern nose-ring. By investing a lot of time in the beginning of the game into Oliver's backstory, players become invested in Oliver's desire to change his mother's fate. As the game progresses, players watch as Oliver grows in power and courage as he gets closer to the final battle.
2. Beautiful art: There are scenes in this game where you feel more like you're watching a Studio Ghibli film rather than playing a game. The characters' facial expressions, their movements and the amazing creativeness of the creatures created for the game are pure Ghibli.
3. Cute characters: A large part of the game is about collecting and battling with "familiars," or basically Pokemon-like creatures that you level up and feed ice cream and candy to increase their skills. Many of the creatures are decidedly cute, fluffy and make funny noises like the Drongo below. If you're a sucker for anything cute like me, then this will capture your attention.
4. Witty dialogue: Many games feature flat, boring caricatures, but each character in this game has their own personality and back story. The game also has a wry wit to it as characters poke sly jokes at each other and themselves in a way that makes it all feel more realistic.
5. Simple enough for anyone to play: One thing that is daunting to me about most games is that they seem hard to pick up. This game is a nice mix of challenging and easy game play elements. It's very easy to pause any battle and catch your breath (which I do often) and there are also many tutorials along the way that tell you how to do things, like where the weak spots are on certain baddies. All you have to do to fight, is to scroll through an options menu of moves and press 1 button!
These are the main reasons why I love Ni No Kuni, now I'd like to hear from any fellow players out there on what they think! And also share if you're a female gamer too - there are more out there than we think!