Review: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Take control of a Studio Ghibli movie with this RPG adventure

This co-development between Studio Ghibli (of My Neighbour Totoro fame) and Level-5 (home of the Professor Layton games) sees the former holding up the better part of the deal. From the engaging, classically Ghibli plot to the colourful characters and witty, charming cutscenes, Ni No Kuni has probably the most engaging world we’ve seen in a major title in years.

Not that Level-5 has done a bad job, but the core gameplay is basically a mash-up of every standard Japanese RPG element of the past 20 years: random battles, side quests, spells to summon help, even Pokémon-style monster training. Innovative it is not.

Watch No No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

But when you’re spending time with Oliver – a little boy who enters a magical world hoping to bring his mother back to life – and his sidekick Drippy, it hardly seems to matter. It helps a little bit, even, minimising distractions from the game’s enchanting, sprawling world.

Unfortunately, big difficulty spikes do intrude on the fun, and the combat system – while rewarding for those who like a challenge –- is too chaotic and complex for younger players. It also drip-feeds new gameplay elements far too slowly, but at least that means you can spend more time soaking in Ghibli’s stunning vision.

Available on PS3 from