The lights are on
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Watch, the fantastic
Level-5/Studio Ghibli produced strategy/role-playing game, is now on
store shelves, courtesy of Namco Bandai. It's a spellbinding game, one
that gets you wrapped up in a whirlwind adventure which lasts several
hours just to get into the good stuff. The powerful hero, Oliver, is
accompanied by the Scottish fairy Drippy and the helpful Esther, and he
has a real talent in spellcasting and, with Esther's help, recruiting
Every once in a while you come across a story which, once you've plunged
your mind into it, doesn't let go of you. Soaked with meaning and
hidden layers to explore, it opens up an entire new world. Structured by
the laws of our own existential lives - yet different in all the
details - it manages to captivate and intrigue not only yourself, but
generations to come.
The modern age has shaped a landscape in which spaces have been created
that allow people to tell narratives in different ways. Movies and
TV-series are but examples of the wide diversity of media that emerged
in the 20th century. The space in which video games shine has only
opened up in recent decades and by the looks of its main stream of
output appears to be in it's puberty.
It opens up fantastic possibilities to craft narratives in ways unseen
before and it's wonderful to witness every once in a while a game that
makes full use of the semantic potential that the videogame medium
contains deep down; an ability to shape a whole unique lifeworld in
which one can dwell and live.
That is exactly what Ni no Kuni manages to do. Playing such a videogame
means nothing other than merging your regular 'lifeworld' with an other
lifeworld, in this case a world fully created by human beings. This
differs from reading a book or watching a movie in an important sense,
namely that the subject's free will literally start playing a role; one
gets the feeling of *exploring* a lifeworld rather than being a
spectator. Appropriate music has the power to enhance the intensity of
this feeling, and our fancy is pampered by dynamic and imaginative
environments and creatures.
The feeling of exploration is not an unimportant element of video games,
and especially if one already has the expectation to be drawn into
another world, it's a very disappointing experience to find a linear
path drawn out for you; in an almost unlawful fashion are you stripped
from a portion of expected freedom.
Studio Ghibli has managed to create a beautiful lifeworld that will
surely enchant you. In the end, be it in the form of a tragic yet
wonderful graphic novel such as Jimmy Corrigan by C. Ware, or in the
shape of a movie like Let The Right One In, or in the fashion of Ni no
Kuni, what really matters is a lifeworld's ability to charm its visitors
in a singular way and leave a lasting impression to be shared with
others. We can safely assure you that Ni no Kuni lives up to its name:
While it's the duty of the creator(s) to craft the above potential, it's
the explorer's responsibility to truly do a lifeworld justice. Just
like a tourist ought to take his time exploring a new city in order to
discover new things worthy of attention, so too does a digital lifeworld
require proper attention and efforts. A travel guide for those prepared
to undertake this not always light hearted quest might thus be a
There are a few basics you should understand when it comes to
familiars. You can't just have a chat with them to recruit them into
your party, as some of them will be quite stubborn when it comes to
teaming up.Familiars are allies that can really help you out in a pinch
with their attack styles, and with so many to choose from in the game
(literally hundreds), it'll take a while to figure out which ones are
right for you. This guide will run you through the basics to get a better
understanding of how you can get them to join up, what they can do for
you depending on their genus, and how they grow in return.
The first thing you'll need to understand is capacity when it comes to familiars.
Each member of your party with human origin can hold up to three
familiars at a time, similar to Pokemon trainers having a certain amount
of allies at the ready. These familiars are able to level up using
experience points earned over the course of the game – they don't
necessarily have to be used in battle in order to rank up. It helps,
sure, but just being carried around helps them level up.
The rule of thumb is to find two familiars that you're most
comfortable with and alternate with them in battle, having the third as
an emergency back-up – of sorts – or keeping them around so you can
level them up, then alternating your line-up. Three reserve familiars
can also be carried around, in case you feel like switching things
around, but just keep in mind that the reserve ones won't level up as
effectively as the others. Only the three main ones you carry earn XP.
Finding the Familiar That's Right For You
In order to find a familiar that fits your certain style of battle, you'll have to tinker with the
line-up a bit. As I mentioned, you'll start out with a few basics, but
over the course of this grand-sized game, you'll come across various
types. They're divided into fourteen different genuses, ranging from
Aquatica all the way through Vermes. Each one has specific advantages
depending on which characters they're paired with.
Familiars with an Aquatic Genius are most compatible with Esther, and
have an appearance that resembles sea creatures. Aves, also good with
Esther, look closer like birds. And so on. Over the course of the
game, you'll learn which familiars are best suited for each character,
and putting them in your battle party will help give you a better
balance to your team. (The full listing for familiar types, and their
strengths with particular characters, can be found in the full Ni No
Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Game guide, now available for
When you first get into Ni No Kuni, you won't have to worry about
wrangling up your starting familiars – they'll be given to you.
However, over the course of the game, if you wish to recruit others,
you'll find yourself battling them, then trying to coerce them – with
Esther's help – to join your team. It's not always a success, as it's
not a matter of confining them into a Pokeball and forcing them to trust
Here's an excerpt from the Prima Games guide that explains it a little better...
"The odds that a heart (a sign of confidence) will appear over the
head of a defeated creature vary by their type, landing at around 25
percent for the most docile creatures and going down to four percent for
rarer and more powerful creatures."
In other words, if you want more powerful allies, you'll need to chip
away at them until you eventually convert them into your party. Some
will be a hard catch, but they'll be worthwhile in the heat of battle,
especially when it comes to their special abilities.
Getting Started With the Mite
There are too many familiars within Ni No Kuni to list in this article, so we'll start with some of the most basic characters,
One of your first familiars is an adorable warrior that goes by the
name of Mite. Looking like an orange Muppet with suspenders, horns, and
a sword and shield, he's a very capable familiar, stemming from the
Milites genus. He brings a fearless approach into battle, capable of
hitting enemies with a variety of attacks, such as Cut Loose, Sand
Blast, and Smash Hit, among others.
Over the course of his evolution, you'll notice changes in his appearance. His horns get longer, his
shield and sword become bigger, and he eventually becomes darker in
color, turning violet. His evolution takes a bit of time, starting with
a transformation into a Mighty mite, then a Dynamite, and finally a
Mermite. As he changes, so do the nature of his attacks, becoming much
more powerful with the introduction of such techniques as the War Cry,
Fling Flame, Slash n' Burn, Whiligig, and, finally, the Snowblower,
Splish Slash and Soulshield. The stronger he becomes, the better an
ally he becomes for your party.
Other familiars to watch out for at first include the Clubber Cub, a
martial arts fighter who can eventually change into a powerful
Elegantiger; the electrical Drongo, who becomes more powerful as they
get angrier, eventually turning into an Electrongo; and the encouraging
Thumbelemur, a dancing creature that's good at keeping others in high
spirit, eventually evolving into an Aye-Aye Catcher.
Remember, Have Fun With It
As we mentioned, no two familiars are really created alike, so tinkering with different ones in your party and seeing how they grow will really make a difference. Don't be afraid to experiment, and also
don't be discouraged when it comes to chasing after the tougher ones.
That just makes them more of a dependable ally when they do finally
join your party.
Ni No Kuni isn't just always about following the straight and narrow.
Level-5 made it a huge, exploration-worthy universe for a reason.
There are literally hundreds of familiars you'll run across, each with
something new in their arsenal, and part of the fun is finding something
that works right for you, then trying something else to see what
startling new effects they bring. Experiment, fight, and remember to
have fun. Because there really is no game out there like Ni No Kuni.
If you want a better breakdown of the familiars and genuses within the game, be sure to check out the Prima Games print
guide, which also comes with an exclusive gold Hurly familiar as add-on
DLC. It's the best way to go if you're serious about the game.
As such, we do not share the opinion that guides take the fun out of
games. It's perfectly understandable should someone want to explore a
world all by themselves at first, but he who wishes to master the art of
exploration better stands on the shoulders of giants before him, to
truly turn every turnable stone. We hope this strategy guide aids you in
doing fully justice to the magnificent lifeworld of Ni no Kuni. It