Nobody Saves the World shows Drinkbox still has several types of bite – Review
It’s morphin’ time.
Since releasing Guacamelee in 2013, the team at Drinkbox Studios has continually pushed its boundaries while still keeping the in-house style that made the Metroidvania such a hit. Whether it was Severed’s experimental touchscreen gameplay or Guacamelee 2 taking the original game in a novel new direction, the studio is always proving that it has more to give players. Their new action-RPG Nobody Saves the World, then, is the culmination of all of the team’s previous works, while proving that it still has some surprises up its sleeves.
Finding the perfect form
Nobody Saves the World’s core mechanic is all about switching from one form to the other. You’re a fledgling wizard who has found a magic wand and must use it to save the people of this world from the all-powerful Calamity. This wand lets you turn your shriveling body into a speedy mouse ready to bite an opponent’s ankles or a massive bodybuilder who will literally start to throw some weights around if he gets into a scuffle.
Drinkbox actually kind of experimented with a similar mechanic back in Guacamelee 2. In that game, you could turn the lead character, Juan, into a chicken at will and use its moves to get through different combat encounters and puzzles. However, Nobody Saves the World expands that idea by giving you more than 15 different forms to play around with. Each comes with its own set of passive and active abilities that you can improve over time. It’s kind of like the classic children’s series Animorphs if it was set in a fantasy kingdom.
Chaos ensues when you start to mix and match abilities from different forms onto a new one. You take your Ranger form’s fast-shooting arrow ability and mix it with your Zombie form’s skill that lets them reanimate the dead and suddenly you’ve created your own massive undead horde of minions that’s running wild on the Calamity’s monsters. This ability to create your own classes out of each form is stunningly inventive and incredibly satisfying.
Counteracting your impressive arsenal is an array of enemies that run the gamut of fantasy tropes. Given the game’s length, they could probably use a bit more variety (particularly in the form of boss enemies), but what is here will test both your thumb skills and your ability to think creatively. In many ways, each combat encounter feels more like a puzzle box that needs to be solved over an action game.
On top of that, Nobody Save the World does an excellent job of dropping in several types of challenge dungeons to spice things up. For example, one dungeon forces you to fight against enemies that heal whenever you do. Another multiplies all damage sources (both yours and the enemies) by 999. How do you handle that? At first, it might not seem possible, but eventually, you’ll earn the tools to make it happen.
The Drinkbox style
If it’s not clear already, the gameplay loop of Nobody Saves the World is exceptional. If you’ve ever played a Drinkbox game, that shouldn’t be that surprising. The Studio has consistently given players games that just feel good in your hands. Nobody Saves the World is no different, and that familiarity carries to several other parts of the game as well. While this is a new universe and new genre for the studio, this is very much a Drinkbox game.
In most respects, that works in Nobody Saves the World’s favor. Graphically, Drinkbox really nails the small details. If you stand still while in the Bodybuilder form, he slowly flexes his pecs. Many of the Rat form’s abilities pop up with a graphic on-screen when you use them which helps you find the smaller character in a sea of baddies. It all works so cohesively and serves to add to the gameplay in novel ways.
Nobody Saves the World is also pretty funny. I wasn’t rolling on the floor laughing, but the game did get a few chuckles out of me. As a whole, the story is relatively boilerplate, though not poorly told. At the end of the day though, you’re coming to this one for the gameplay.
The one issue that the Drinkbox style has on Nobody Saves the World is their propensity to go over the top for content. More of a good thing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but Nobody Saves the World can start to drag at times if you’re trying to do everything. Guacamelee 2 was a bit similar, as the studio wanted to build on the original. That game started to feel a little bloated at times if you weren’t into the action. Nobody Saves the World never lost my attention, but it’s easy to imagine the player who would fall off.
Between the fun-filled gameplay and creative problem-solving, Nobody Saves the World might just be the best game Drinkbox Studios has ever released. Building your own class from the different forms you earn never stops being a blast. After finishing the game, I immediately hopped into New Game+ just to level up my forms even more and see what they could do. Early in 2022, Nobody Saves the World seems like a must-play and the perfect evolution of nearly every idea Drinkbox Studios has developed since its founding more than a decade ago.
9 / 10
|+||Inventive gameplay through form shifting|
|+||A genuinely funny script|
|+||Tons of content for diehard players|
|–||Slightly lacking in enemy and boss variety|
|–||Can drag toward the end if you’re doing everything the game has to offer|