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Ni no Kuni: New Gameplay Systems Revealed

Level-5 details online components for DS title. PlayStation 3 version absent from Level-5 Vision 2010.


This year's Level-5 Vision was the third for the DS version of Studio Ghibli tie-up Ni no Kuni. And with a release date set for December 9, it will likely be the last.

Despite the game having been in the media spotlight for a couple of years now, Level-5 still managed to come up with new things to announce at yesterday's press conference. During a stage demonstration, Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino handed the mic over to Chief Director Ken Matsumura and Magic Master (the name of the 352 page magic book that's included with the game) Director Noriko Maruya for a live demonstration of some new gameplay systems. Famitsu.com provided a detailed recap of the happenings.

The first order of business was a new element called "Yume no Sekai," or "World of Dreams." You access this area of the game by staying at an inn called "Matatabi Inn."

Once in the dream like world of World of Dreams, you'll find yourself faced with a variety of puzzles given to you by a person called "Yume no Annainin," or "Dream Guide." To clear these puzzles, you'll need to use the Magic Master book.

During a live play demonstration, Matsumura and Maruya showed one sample of the World of Dreams puzzles. To open a particular treasure box, the player has to decipher a message given by the game while also scrutinizing maps and sketches of the World of Dreams shown in the Magic Master book.

In the dream world.

According to the Famitsu.com report, this type of use of Magic Master differs from previously announced uses. Previously, it was shown that you'll use the Magic Master book for gathering information on monsters and magic. As indicated by the World of Dreams component, the Magic Master book will also support players in puzzle solving.

Also seeing additional details at the event was the game's "Imagine" system. The Imagine are Ni no Kuni's equivalent of the monsters you'd find in other RPGs. You'll find 350 such creatures who can be collected, raised and used for support during combat.

You can trade the Imagine with friends and also put them into multiplayer battles. During the press conference, Matsumura and Maruya demonstrated a two player battle, with each player using their own DS. Hino noted that the battles are strategic, relying on positioning. You'll need to put your strong Imagines in front, moving them into the back lines when they've been injured.

Fighting and raising your Imagine.

Imagine are part of another wireless feature of Ni no Kuni. The game has a system called Tabisuru Tamago, or Traveling Egg. This uses the DS's Tag Mode functionality to exchange "egg" items with other players while your DS is in sleep mode. The eggs can contain items and even Imagines. When you receive an egg, you'll need to decide to break it open and take what's inside or keep the egg whole, potentially handing it off to other players during your next Tag Mode pass by.

Breaking open the eggs requires Tamago Points, or Egg Points. You earn these points each time you send an egg out to someone, meaning there's some reason to keep the eggs in circulation.

The eggs themselves have a level. This rises as the eggs continue to be exchanged. The higher the level, the rarer the hidden item.

The Traveling Egg system.

Ni no Kuni will have another form of online support that will remind you of Level-5's previous RPG epic, Dragon Quest IX. Starting on the day of release, Level-5 will begin an item and quest download service called "Madoushi Tsuushin." Similar to Square Enix's handling of download content for DQIX, this will run for a full year.

Hino also gave brief mentions to a variety of other areas for Ni no Kuni. The game will have ridable ships and even a casino, Hino said, describing these are symbols of epic RPGs. Once you obtain a ship midway through your adventure, the game world will expand and you'll be able to cross the seas, heading to Casino City, a famous spot in the Ni no Kuni world. There, you'll find a variety of mini games.

There could be more vehicles as well. Regarding vehicles, Hino said "We're putting in the things everyone is expecting."

Ships and more await.
You'll find mini games at the casino.

Missing from the day's announcements was the PlayStation 3 version of Ni no Kuni. Hino gave only brief mention to this, reiterating past statements that playing both Ni no Kuni games will allow players to more deeply enjoy the Ni no Kuni world.

Level-5 seems all set to kick off a big promotional push for the DS version of Ni no Kuni. At the press conference, Hino announced that the game's commercial campaign will feature six year old actress Mana Ashida.


First look at the box art for Ni no Kuni. This is for the game.
This is the box art for the full package, which includes the Magic Master book.
A look at the 352 page Magic Master book.

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