So…What Is Nobody Saves the World?
Let’s start off with the basics: Though I wasn’t shown the introductory cutscene, Drinkbox devs explained that the player character, a Greendale Human Being-like figure named Nobody, escapes the clutches of a magician on a power trip hoping to take all the world-saving glory for himself. With less vain ideals at heart but a desire to do good, Nobody steals the magician’s wand and sets out on a journey to, well, save the world. That wand grants Nobody the ability to transform into a host of different, and at times amusingly specific, character classes or Forms, which are progressively unlocked throughout the journey.
Nobody Saves the World Reveal Screenshots
The chunk of the adventure I played let me delve into the first three: a ferocious little rat with a poisonous bite, a more typical archer who’s better for ranged attacks but a bit squishier in a close-quarters fight, and a magician more suited to Las Vegas or a birthday party, with attacks that incorporate a deck of cards and summonable rabbits. Each class starts out with two basic moves before upgrading and learning new skills as you advance. But as you explore Nobody’s overworld and procedurally generated dungeons in a style reminiscent of the original Legend of Zelda, progression doesn’t stem from experience gained beating the bizarre assortment of baddies you’ll encounter. No, instead, you’ll have a constantly replenished set of quests—like killing X number of enemies with Dark damage—which will reward you with experience that goes toward ranking up a specific class and your overall experience to gain upgrade tokens you’ll need to improve your skills, alongside the potential to earn Stars. Those are needed to unlock Star Doors to tackle Nobody’s larger-scale dungeons, but we’ll get to those in a bit.While I only had time to progress my characters up a couple of levels, I really appreciated the way the quests are integrated into the character movesets, and the journey at large. You can always keep an eye on what quests are currently available with a quick button press while out adventuring. But more importantly, they provide a nice sense of accomplishment that can hit at any time in the play experience, rather than just at the end of a battle or dungeon, per se, and they encouraged me to use my full suite of moves, or, say, try out the Ranger class while I had been favoring the Magician for a bit.And I genuinely enjoyed the different flavors each class brought to combat. The Magician deals different damage based on what face card it randomly strikes opponents with, and every so often that rabbit you summon might actually be a tougher White Tiger. The Archer, meanwhile, could dodge around a room (as the only character with a specific dodge), and the intricacies of its firing mechanic—while not distractingly deep—did require decent aiming and maneuvering skills.
Form and Function
Though I didn’t get to experience it for myself, Drinkbox showed me that as you progress and unlock more skills with each class, you’ll actually be able to switch up attacks and assign skills from one Form to another. This twist will also coincide with more generalized quests so you don’t have to necessarily lock yourself into a single character to progress. While that frees you up to use what you like and not be forced into playing with a Form you don’t want to, I do wonder whether that will make all the wacky classes I didn’t get to see, like a playable egg, more superficial in the long run.
It’s impossible to say concretely for now, but Nobody Saves the World showed a welcome amount of depth to its customization, and there’s reason to believe you’ll need to dip into at least a few different forms even late in the game. Each form has its own stats meaning you’ll get different health, luck, defense, and attack capabilities, but they also often specialize in specific attack types. So I may need to level up the rat—which specializes in dark damage— even if I’m using the ranger, in order to have the right attack elements at my disposal. I’m definitely intrigued to see how this mixing and matching plays out in the long run.Regardless of which class you’re playing as though, Nobody Saves the World’s charming world is brimming with the personality and quirks I’d expect from a Drinkbox game. My first two dungeon choices were between a downed UFO and a massive Eldritch Gourd. Neither is your typical fantasy RPG dungeon, and Drinkbox said it’s aiming to have upward of 20 of these varied dungeons in the full game. I can’t wait to explore each one.
Those dungeons are procedurally generated, meaning traps and enemy layouts will spawn differently each time, and you’re likely to see many of those combinations due to Nobody’s interesting checkpoint system. There’s only one checkpoint in each dungeon, and it’s right before the boss. That of course makes sense to avoid punishing players for dying at a boss fight, but it does mean being really careful and considerate about your dungeon crawling up to that point. I didn’t find the opening dungeon I played, the Eldritch Gourd, nor the first Legendary Dungeon to be overly difficult, so it’s not a huge concern for replayability just yet, but I’m curious to see how the difficulty curve balances throughout the full experience.
And there’s certainly more to do than just try to run from the beginning to the end to get to the boss. In addition to taking on any assortment of baddies in your way to complete quests, my dungeon-crawling experience included plenty of chests stashed away in far off corners, environmental traps like intermittent poison clouds that I needed to contend with, and more. The first legendary dungeon I tackled, which was blockaded behind a requirement of collected Stars, also had locked doors that required me to navigate new traps and foes on my quest to find a hidden key. (You’re also collecting money dropped by enemies and stashed in chests around the world, but I didn’t get a chance to spend my hard-earned coin at a merchant during my playthrough.)
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But exploring those dungeons and taking on their larger boss battles is certainly a joy, at least so far, given Drinkbox’s penchant for a combination of bright, colorful worlds and peculiar detail. If being on the inside of a rotting gourd while googly-eyed skulls and three-eyed cat magicians attack from all sides is the first dungeon Nobody has to offer, I can’t wait to see where the rest of this adventure goes, especially coupled with the humorous writing sprinkled throughout. From a pumpkin knight, who is actually a normal knight with a head transformed into a pumpkin, to Randy the Rad, the sorcerer who trapped me at the outset of the game, Drinkbox has seemingly filled Nobody’s world with an entertaining cast of major and bit players who I’m looking forward to encountering as the journey continues.
Nobody Saves the World can throw a lot at you all at once, but it never felt overwhelming in my time with it. The different Form leveling systems, the upgradeable (and swappable) ability mechanic, the quest system, and so much more plays around in familiar genre trappings, but the developers have seemingly found plenty of ways to put fresh spins on what I already knew as a player. Nobody may not be the hero their world is expecting, but my short time in their ghostly white shoes has me confident they’re going to be just the right one for this potentially wacky, engrossing adventure.
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor, host of Podcast Beyond!, and PlayStation lead. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.