Nexomon Review – Gotta Catch ’Em All, on Playstation!

Sorry for sleeping with the enemy, but Pokémon has previously been something of a guilty pleasure of mine in one form or another. Back in my younger days of student life, a gap year and living under my parents’ roof, and with money to burn, I was very much a carefree multi-format gamer, and so Nintendo’s monster-catching mega-franchise always had a place in my expansive game collection. Then there were the trading cards that everyone wanted despite them never really gaining the value we were all expecting 20 years later. Not my best investment.

There was also the neverending anime TV series which dragged on far longer than any of us anticipated, yet for a year or two it proved to be surprisingly addictive watching, if only for teenage me to ogle the countless girls in tiny shorts. The show’s message was kind of mixed up too, teaching the protagonist(s) to treat each Pokémon with love, loyalty and respect, all whilst tacking on to the show’s logos the ‘Gotta Catch ’em All’ catchphrase. They even slapped this motto in the second movie, Pokémon 2000, in which the big baddie is a cold-hearted Pokémon collector. Talk about mixed messages. Fun movie though.

Fast forward to the present day and things are very different. Limited time and money have caused me to choose one(ish) console to focus on. The choice was ultimately simple, since a console is only as good as its games, and PlayStation has both the quality and quantity. I don’t regret my choice but that doesn’t mean I think less of Nintendo either. Sometimes, I even find myself missing the simple yet quirky worlds of Pokémon RPGs from time to time, and so when the opportunity to play a monster-catching RPG on PlayStation, the likes of which we haven’t really seen since the sadly forgettable Jade Cocoon series, I jumped at it with open arms, yelling ‘Just take my money!’ Welcome to the world of Nexomon.

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In a classic case of ‘right game, wrong console’, we got Nexomon Extinction (the sequel) before Nexomon (the first game). This late-released first game is our focus today. It’s very similar in terms of presentation to its sequel and recycles the same engine and world. That’s not to say the two worlds are identical since the two games are set almost 1,000 years apart and so there are differences. Environments and Nexomon are remixed and reshuffled, though the technology featured in Nexomon 1 only takes a minor step back.

There may actually be a reason for this slow development of technology. The game actually hints that there are multiple worlds, some real, some digital representations, spawned from the original Nexomon primal world known simply as the Netherworld. This is a clever way of linking in the world of Pixekai from mobile game Micromon, Nexomon’s forgotten predecessor. I bring this up since no one seems to talk much about the deep and surprisingly dark story in the Nexomon games when compared to Pokémon, where your goal is usually to collect enough badges to challenge the Pokémon master and take the title for yourself.


Nexomon takes place in a fantasy world inhabited by humans and filled with creatures known as Nexomon. Humans who capture and train Nexomon are called Nexomon Tamers. The Nexolord rules over all Tamers and all other humans too. The current Nexolord holds the entire world hostage under his power and control. With his four powerful Champions, the current Nexolord maintains a regime of terror over all.

Human Overseers are appointed in each major town and city to maintain the current Nexolord’s control, carry out his wishes, and root out any resistance against the current Nexolord’s rule. During these dark times, there are whispers of a growing resistance against the current Nexolord’s despotic reign. Your goal is to confront the tyrannical Nexolord and defeat Omnicron, an ancient Nexomon bent on purging humanity from the world.

In Nexomon Extinction, Omnicron’s children lend the protagonist their strength to defeat the artificial Nexomon, Vados (in a story similar to Pokémon’s Mewtwo); however, this time, they are loyal to their father, and we get to see them in their original villainous forms. They, along with a handful of other characters make a welcome return from Nexomon Extinction and display their interesting origins. Nexomon is every bit about its human(oid) characters as it is about its monsters.


The player takes control of the protagonist who can be male or female depending on the player’s choice. The player can also choose the appearance of their in-game avatar. The gameplay in Nexomon is inspired by the Pokemon series of games. Exploration and interacting with the game world takes place in an overhead style where the player’s character moves in four directions. The player character can talk to NPCs and interact with different objects scattered around the world.

Players can encounter Nexomon by walking in tall grass, walking through caves and other similar areas, or even by fishing in certain areas. When players encounter these Nexomon, the player can defeat the opposing creature in order to earn experience points for their own Nexomon. Players can also gain experience by encountering other Tamers who will initiate a battle once the player enters their field of view. Tamers who want to battle are indicated by the boxing gloves icon appearing in a speech bubble above the NPC’s head.

When the player encounters a Nexomon or battles another Tamer, the game shifts into a battle screen view where the player’s Nexomon appear on the front-left portion of the screen while the opponent’s Nexomon appear on the back-right portion of the screen. The relevant stats and information of the battling Nexomon are shown above them. These stats include the Nexomon’s name and level, their health represented by HP points and stamina represented by ST points, Status Effect indicators such as bind, paralysis, and burn, and a Nexotrap indicator to show whether the player has previously captured the opposing Nexomon.

During Nexomon battles, the player can choose to use a Nexomon’s moves by clicking the corresponding move icon. Each Nexomon can bring up to four moves per fight which have different damage delivery, effects and elemental types. You could also use an item from the player’s bag by clicking the Bag icon. Items are either bought from the item stores or picked up from the game world. Items have different effects such as healing a Nexomon’s health, restoring their stamina, or removing a Status Effect.

You can capture wild, attacking Nexomon by using the Nexotrap icon at the bottom center of the screen. Nexotraps can be bought from the item store or found in the game world. The player cannot use Nexotraps on another Tamer’s Nexomon. A Tamer can only bring up to six Nexomon into battle at any given time. You can change the active Nexomon using the Team icon. A Nexomon faints when it hits 0 HP, forcing their Tamer to switch out to another Nexomon. Once a Tamer runs out of Nexomon, the battle is over.

Winning a Tamer battle or encounter grants the participating Nexomon with experience points. Non-participating Nexomon can also gain experience when certain items are activated by the player. Sufficient experience points causes a Nexomon to level up which improves their stats, sometimes grants a new move, and also fully restores the Nexomon’s health and stamina. Some Nexomon evolve into a more powerful form when they reach a certain level. An evolution can be cancelled by pressing the Cancel button while the Nexomon is evolving, however there is no benefit in doing so.

Being a predecessor to Nexomon Extinction means that Nexomon lacks a few of the later game’s enhancements, though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it makes for a simpler, streamlined experience. Character customisation is gone as well as item equips that modify a Nexomon’s stats. You’re also limited to just two types of Nexotraps to capture wild Nexomon, one with a perfect capture rate and the other with significantly less accuracy. This all means less time spent in menus so, like I said, not necessarily a bad thing.


Nexomon is a surprising treat for the eyes, with graphics that seem like a HD upgraded version of a GBA title, and a colour palette that’s bright with glowing colour effects where fitting. It seems like a retro-style game that’s been revitalised about as far as one could expect a 2D title to be. The setting is incredibly varied, and even partially post-apocalyptic in places. Broken down vehicles and the bones of dead beasts dot the landscape adding gravitas to events that took place in the game’s history. The vast majority of the 300+ Nexomon look great and are animated nicely in battle, albeit minimally.

The soundtrack for Nexomon is quite good. I was particularly fond of the Tamer Duel Battle Theme. It’s definitely a game best enjoyed with the music audible. If Nexomon has a real flaw, it’s the sound effects, since a loud banging noise is repeatedly (and frequently) used for everything from a Nexomon roaring to thunder and earthquakes. It’s unpleasant and distracting, but thankfully hardly a game-breaker.


For the platinum trophy you only have to do everything. Finish the game including the hefty post-game story set in the Netherworld, beat all rival Nexomon tamers, and lastly, you’ve ‘gotta catch ’em all’. Yep, you’ll have to find and capture all 310 different species of Nexomon, so do check out a guide. Expect it all to take around 40 hours or so.


Is Nexomon better than Nexomon Extinction? Probably not, though that doesn’t mean it’s a worse game either. Sure, both games have their differences but these are pretty minor in comparison. Extinction has more monsters to capture and more locations and content but this means that Nexomon 1 has less of the grind. Nexomon also has simpler combat (with some later difficulty spikes) yet Extinction feels more interactive and a little more balanced in terms of difficulty. When both games look, sound and feel so similar, with only their stories differing, there’s really not much to tell them apart.

Nevertheless, Nexomon is an enjoyable adventure in a captivating world. If we ever get a third instalment, I’d like to see the best bits of combat from both games fused together and a new setting to keep things fresh, with some of the less memorable Nexomon swapped out in favour of fresh faces. It could also use some ‘wow factor’ to elevate it from greatness to perfection. Maybe a little comedic voice acting would suit the series’ quirky mood, or some flashy animated cutscenes to show off the majesty of its world and creatures.


  • Great story that’s actually more mature than you might expect
  • Over 300 Nexomon to catch
  • Nothing is missable and no multiplayer is required to master the game


  • Sound effects are lousy
  • Released after its bigger sequel


Very Good

A old-fashioned 2D Pokémon clone that actually manages to build its own identity with a great, mature story and fun characters which feel a bit more fleshed out. Well worth a go.

Gary Green
PS4 version reviewed