A JOINT collaboration between prolific Japanese game developer Level-5 and treasured animation house Studio Ghibli, Ni No Kuni charts a young boy’s charming and enjoyable quest into another world to find his mother.
Playing as Oliver, you must travel through the colourful realm while training to be the best wizard in the land. Along the way you’ll enlist the help of brash fairy Drippy and a roster of familiars – creatures that will help you defeat enemies in the game’s many turn-based battles.
It’s one part Pokémon as you feed treats to your familiars and help hone their skills in the field, and one part classic Final Fantasy, thanks to the turn-based nature of fights.
In true Ghibli fashion, the game’s visuals are outstanding, as if one of their films has been brought to life. The story is both gentle and at times menacing, featuring that odd dark streak that most Ghibli films deliver. It’s also challenging at times on “normal” difficulty, a fact that fans of hardcore JRPGs will appreciate.
There’s even a neat underlying mechanic that allows Oliver – as the most pure-hearted wizard in the land – to extract emotions from characters with an abundance of a particular feeling and give them to someone who has been tainted by the dark lord Shadar.
Giving a depressed individual a burst of enthusiasm is heart-warming and it underlines Level-5’s eye for what has made Ghibli’s output so endearing all these decades. If you’re a fan of their films or the JRPG genre, you should give this a whirl.
• Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, £44.99, PS3
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