Home » 5 Nates + — User Review

5 Nates + — User Review

Board game design elements implemented in an indie RPG.
User Rating: 7.5

Notice: As the game is only available in Japanese, I will translate most if not all of what the screenshots state that I list below.

Developed by NekoDora Soft and published by Regista, “5 Nates +” was released for the Nintendo Switch on December 2, 2021. Before it was ported and upgraded to the Nintendo Switch, it was initially released as a smartphone game a few months earlier on October 6, 2021 with it simply being titled “5 Nates.” It is an indie game with a relatively low price tag of 1490 yen with tax for the download version which is about $13 American. As stated above, it is only available in Japanese at the moment but hopefully people will be able to enjoy it despite the language barrier. Perhaps it will even get localized.

It Nates for nothin’

Despite the relatively simple duo of brother and sister being the main characters, there are four offshoots of the main heroine Nate (The game lists her name as “Nate” in English in the included in-game supplement so I will go with that translation) that make it feel like there are a lot more people in the game as each has their own personality and style.

The Hero and the 5 Nates

Ashley Burklight: The older brother. He sometimes goes on monster hunts while training to be a swordsman in his village. His demeanor is impulsive and straight-forward yet he has a surprisingly observant eye with the ability to point out the astute.

Nate Burklight: She is a quiet young girl with silver hair and blue eyes. She had a weak constitution from an early age which led her to the hobby of reading an extensive amount of books and thus acquire an extensive amount of knowledge. Despite having the knowledge, that doesn’t mean she can necessarily translate it into actual battles. She is an intellectual who has a firm grasp of items while fighting.

Green Nate: A very animated girl with lots of energy. She has the characteristics of someone who can’t sit still and seemingly wants to climb to tall heights. She flourishes using magic in battle.

Blue Nate: She is very reserved and always thinking about the negatives. However, the magic and magic power she possesses is nothing short of astonishing.

Red Nate: She has an impulsive and straight-forward personality and an aggressive style in or our of battle. She has a very high attack power (higher than Ashley) which can be relied on.

Yellow Nate: She has a spontaneous personality where you never know what she is thinking with it showing in her actions in battle.

The wheel of Nate

Battle actions for Ashley are rather commonplace for a turn-based RPG. Nate’s is a little different. On the lower right portion of the screen is something called the Nate Board and is vital for strategy and winning battles in the game. In the screenshot above, she is normal or silver-haired Nate as indicated by the pointer.

To the left are three options(with the ability to add one more later): Wait, Pebble, and Potion with the number of items left indicated on top in red. The number below the Nate Board within the action selected is how much each action will move the Nate Board according. For example, using Pebble will add +2 to the Nate Board and now she will be Green Nate as indicated below.

Now that she is Green Nate, her skills have changed and using each skills will now move the Nate Board further accordingly. Each Nate has pros and cons to use. To generalize, regular Nate is good with items; Yellow Nate is kind of a wild-card; Red Nate has great attack power, Blue Nate has defensive and healing magic; and Green Nate has all-attack and elemental magic.
Here Nate and Ashley are in a boss battle. The exclamation point below the boss’ health bar is a countdown to a large attack and the game advises you to guard when it reaches zero. For Ashley, this is always available should you equip the defense skill in the skills menu on the main options screen. For Nate however, while she has her own skills she can equip in the skills menu as well, for this early boss battle she has to be in Blue Nate mode to defend so plan accordingly.

GPS-esque exploration

Exploration done in dungeons is kind of like being on an interactive map or in the style of dungeon crawlers somewhat. Every several steps will result in a random battle unless the options are changed as below. Big square rooms usually have some sort of dialogue or possibly treasure. The screenshot states the player has gotten a key needed for the door. You can confirm this by going to menu>other>important items.

Important options

Some important options that can be changed while playing are listed above. They are from top to bottom left to right:

Experience: toggle between 0 and regular
Encounter: toggle between a lot / normal
Important items
Return to village (grayed out here)
Return to title
Magazine (in yellow)
Supplement (in yellow)

Magazine and Supplement

Accessible from the main title menu as well as in game are the options Magazine and Supplement. Above is the magazine section which lists some information about the game as well fanart. This one is done by someone with the pen-name Kashiwamochi. The Supplement section gives more in depth about the story where you can read more in detail.
While it is not very English-friendly because it is mostly text, the supplement gives good backstory to the game. There is also the option to hide spoilers to access it. Allow me to translate the first page to give a small set-up.

Beginning: Prequel-1
It’s been five years since the demon king appeared in this world with the goal of world domination. The world was in turmoil as to whether or not a hero from some village had adventured forth in order to defeat the demon king. The turmoil had not affected the remote village where the siblings Ashley Bucklight and Nate Bucklight peacefully lived.

One day, a man appeared where they lived who was wore a hood. He certainly looked suspicious. “Could you let me stay the night?” he said. It was a sudden request, but the good-natured Ashley allowed the magician-looking man to stay. This would unbeknownst to them change the fate of the ordinary two siblings.

The next day, the magician-looking man said something odd:
“I must repay the favor of you letting me stay the night and giving me a meal. I know, Nate, I will release your great latent power.”
“What do you mean….?”
“Brother!”
Nate’s screams resounded as if to cut off Ashley’s question. Nate’s crouched over body was shining with light.
“Brother! Brother…save me…brother!”
“Nate, are you okay!”
When Ashley rushed to Nate’s side, the light began to get brighter…”

End of first page.

Summary
5 Nates + is a cute and different RPG that was upgraded from the 5 Nates games that was released earlier in 2021 for smartphones. It features cute design of characters, simple yet enough gameplay and a strategic battle system that incorporates an element of a board game in its battle system. It is an indie game so it is only like $13 American to buy on the Nintendo Switch should you be able to access the Japanese e-shop. The language barrier may or may not be tough to handle as it is with most RPGs, but the game is pretty fun to play in its full experience.
Good
  • Innovative battle design
  • Extra mode available
  • Cute design
Bad
  • Japanese language only
7.5
Good
Been playing games basically since before I could read and not just RPGs | Love the arts | Love a good story |

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