PLATFORM: ANDROID, iOS, PC, PS4, SWITCH (REVIEWED), XBOX ONE | RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 6TH
On the surface, 9th Dawn III appears to be a fairly unassuming indie open-world RPG dungeon-crawler. However, within the opening moments, you quickly realise that there's an insane amount of things to get your head around. Borrowing heavily from mechanics and systems seen in countless other games, crafting, cooking, alchemy, magic, fishing, a collectable card game, pets and companions all have much more depth than you might expect. Figuring out how everything works initially feels incredibly overwhelming (you're given the basics and then left to fend for yourself), but when it all clicks you end up with a supremely addictive combination of familiar gameplay elements.
Whether you're playing through the story or pottering around doing your own thing, there's a heck of a lot to discover. The overworld itself is pretty huge, but there are loads of vast dungeons, caves, castles and fortresses too, which are sure to keep explorers happy. More than 270 different enemies are dealt with using simple twin-stick shooter-style combat, while the trigger buttons give access to 16 inventory quick-slots for speedy item usage. On top of all this, there are hundreds of weapons and equippable items to discover. Almost everything you come across or create offers wildly varying effects and stat buffs, and your character is able to level up using experience points and ability tokens which make you stronger and unlocks dozens of additional powers.
A general lack of signposting and direction can make it tricky to work out what to do next and combat often feels a little on the rough side but, when you consider that the game was made by a single person, you can easily forgive a few shortcomings and instead see 9th Dawn III as the remarkable achievement that it is. Give it a chance and there's every possibility you'll lose entire evenings and weekends to this one. Really super stuff indeed.