There’s noticeably a lack of couch co-op games on consoles now, so when one comes a long it’s a nice rare addition to see. Nine Parchments is a magical themed co-op blast-em up game from the creators of Trine, Frozenbyte – in which you’re tasked with collecting 9 spell-binding parchments scattered across the lands.
As a student from the Astral Academy it’s clear from the off that you know little of the safe use of magic and much of this journey is all about your character learning new powerful spells and unlocking new characters through the completion of challenges such as taking no damage or freezing 25 enemies into solid blocks of ice. It can be quite satisfying to learn and experiment with your spell book, which is exactly what the devs want you to do.
Another added bonus is that there are 49 different spells in the game. You start off with 3 basic spells but once a parcemrnt is found you have a choice of picking one out of 3 randomly presented spells. In effect this means you’ll end the game every time with different spells unless you play like 100 times to completion.
As you progress, the game introduces plenty of new enemy types, which require a particular spell used on them to defeat them. Frost enemies are weak to fire and fire to ice blasts, so there’s a slight difficulty curve when these new enemies are presented in front of you.
Nine Parchments does also offer a single-player mode so if you’re a solo challenger then Frozenbyte have catered for you, although it has to be said the title is designed and much better played in co-op with other robe-wearing mages. Seeing fireballs flying everywhere and lots of other magical spells going off was a spectacle on screen. The only real issue being friendly fire from these spells, which I suppose adds another difficulty and mayhem to the game.
Another gameplay mechanic comes in the form of combining spells, as two players can fire their beam spells together to create a more powerful attack and with that in mind, I wouldn’t play the magical blast-em up any other way.
Graphically, the game holds up well with the odd occassional screen tear when water physics come on screen. However in regards to magical spells flying around on screen, the frame rate is pretty stable and doesn’t affect any enjoyment of the game.
Nine Parchments is a delightful co-op experience filled with a plentiful array of spells, magical outfits and staves. Despite a few performance drops, the story is a decent length and will present a fun challenge with your friends.