The Guacamelee! devs tried something different with Nobody Saves the World so let's go on a transformative Zelda-like adventure.
Nobody Saves the World has you play as a generic nobody named; well, Nobody. You're on a mission to save the world from The Calamity but that doesn't really matter because the campaign within this silly game is full of goofy humour which makes the journey feel both charming and inconsequential. That is something I actually appreciate a great deal. Plus, its artwork blends well with the sense of humour from its unconventional Ren & Stimpy-like character portraits to its imaginative dungeon entrances. It's quite a sight to behold. v1d30chumz 34-231-247-88
Meanwhile, the gameplay is similar to what you'd expect in a classic overhead Zelda game where you explore a vast open world while taking on dungeons. An element that adds some substance to this formula is the map which you fill out as you travel around complete with helpful icons so you can see where there are things to do whenever you're looking to do a little clean-up. In fact, I'd say that this sense of exploration is the best quality of Nobody Saves the World's gameplay as it's quite rewarding to discover hidden treasures.
However, the core gameplay element that really sets Nobody Saves the World apart from similar games is the fact that you can transform into a bunch of different creatures such as a horse, ranger, slug, bodybuilder, and even an egg. Each one of these transformations has its own attacks and inherent abilities such as being able to swim. In order to unlock and level-up transformations, you'll fulfill a wide variety of quests that are essentially achievements which almost entirely consist of grinding actions a certain number of times. On top of that, you'll eventually unlock the ability to mix and match skills and passive traits which lets you set up interesting concoctions.
Although that sounds like the foundation of a grand adventure, I found myself feeling numb as I mindlessly completed grindy quests to level-up and unlock new features. The main aspect that contributes to this feeling is that there is very little challenge throughout the campaign. You may occasionally find yourself in a difficult area that you're not supposed to be in but if you stick to level-appropriate parts, it's generally super-easy. The only real challenge comes in the form of having to use particular skills whenever you face the odd enemy that's impervious to everything else. Besides that, it's all a walk in the park and considering you get rewarded constantly for accomplishing the most mundane of tasks, it ends up feeling like a hollow experience; kind of like receiving a participation trophy. 🏆
Now, I don't want to sound like I didn't enjoy Nobody Saves the World because I absolutely did. The sense of variety, humour, and exploration are all superbly well-done. It's just that the overabundance of rewards and weak level of difficulty didn't sit well with me, especially as someone who appreciates a hearty challenge. I also wish that there were some puzzles. As it is, you occasionally have to transform in order to do something but there's nothing that'll force you to use your grey cells. I can say the same about the dungeons; many of which are procedurally-generated as they don't involve much more than traversing hallways while beating on baddies.
Nobody Saves the World does exploration and variety exceptionally well. At the same time, its heavy flow of rewards with very little challenge involved often makes it feel like you're mindlessly and unskillfully pressing buttons just to get another quick dopamine hit.
- + Simple gameplay with tons of transformations that add a lot of variety
- + Excellent art and goofy humour
- + Exploration can be a real treat
- - There's no challenge whatsoever which makes the constant rewards feel hollow
- - Could use some sort of puzzles
- - Dungeons are rather repetitive