Ys IX: Monstrum Nox – Game Review

Created by Nihon Falcom, the Ys series contains an amazing assortment of Action RPG titles that narrate the stories that Adol Christin, the main protagonist of most of the games, writes in his books. NIS America has published most of the games, including the two latest entries that have made it to the cloud. Today, I want to share with you all, a simple yet comprehensive review of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, the latest chapter in the incredible world of Ys.

If you’re worried about the plot and how it’s connected to the previous entries, then you don’t have to worry. Just like Final Fantasy, Ys games are barely connected. The vast majority of the stories can be enjoyed on their own. There are some minor connections and callbacks, but nothing major.

The Monstrums of Balduq

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox starts with Adol and his great friend, Dogi, reaching the city of Balduq. A prosperous city that has fallen victim to a corrupt system and a group of mysterious beings called Monstrums. It doesn’t take long before Adol gets into trouble and is saved by Aprilis, the leader of the Monstrums. Shortly after, Adol transforms into a Monstrum called Crimson King, which grants him superhuman abilities. The Monstrums are tasked with saving the city, while trying to discover the secrets hidden in the prison.

The game is filled with great characters that slowly get more involved with the main plot. Discovering the true identities of the Monstrums and their past, builds up the relationship between them and Adol. It complements very well the Affinity chart that has become a staple in the Ys series. This provides more motives to interact with the characters and complete their requests.


Building up from Lacrimosa of Dana

The game takes a lot of inspiration from the previous entry, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (which is also available on Stadia). The engine of the game is the same, and so are the menus, overall controls and visual presentation. The graphics are nothing stellar, but the environmental design is great and makes up for most of it. Just like the smooth performance, with the Stadia version running at 60 fps, ideal for a frantic ARPG like this. Something that Nihon Falcom always delivers is an amazing soundtrack, and Monstrum Nox keeps the tradition. Also, the most important bits of the story are fully voice acted, with great and fitting voices for each character.

The combat is build upon Lacrimosa of Dana, having a basic 3 attack combo and unique skills for each character. Monstrum Nox introduces Gifts, special abilities that we slowly unlock while progressing through the story. Running up walls, teleporting to enemies, gliding… great abilities that make exploring the world faster. Gifts can come up handy while dealing with enemies too.

As previously stated, the Affinity charts make a return. Providing an incentive for speaking with other characters, completing side quests and exploring the world. Raids also make a return, now repurposed into Grimwald Nox. Special events where we have to complete a set of missions like defeat all enemies or protect an obelisk. It’s fun to replay those and aim for a higher score.

Combat feels fast and has some depth thanks to the abilities and Gifts

Prisoner of Balduq

The city of Balduq is filled with content and secrets to explore. There are many side quests that are unlocked through progressing in the story, and you better complete those in time before the chance passes by, locking them forever. There are also some collectibles like Graffities, Azure Petals and Landmarks. Collecting them and speaking to certain NPCs gives us more items and bonuses. Thankfully, there’s a menu page with completion rates and the map shows what we’re missing, so it doesn’t become tedious.

Even though the gameplay is a step-up from Lacrimosa of Dana, the rest of the game feels bland compared to it. In Ys VIII, we got to explore a vast desert island filled with incredible and varied landmarks. As we progressed through the story, our camp evolved and so did the castaways we met along the way.

However, in Ys IX, we’re stuck in the city of Balduq for what feels like half the game. Only unlocking some basic open world areas when we’ve pretty much seen everything the city has to offer. These areas don’t have anything particular. Just huge and boring landscapes filled with enemies and some treasures to entice players to explore. Still, Balduq has its charm, and spending so much time there ends up making it memorable. However, sometimes it feels like the thrill of adventure is missing. And that’s a real shame considering that Adol is, first and mostly, an adventurer.

The titular Monstrums


Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is an amazing Action RPG with lots of character and exploration. Adol’s stories are always great, and his adventure in the city of Balduq is no exception. The graphics might be a little rough around the edges, but the magnificent gameplay and smooth performance are worth it. The game might not be as interesting to explore as Lacrimosa of Dana. But still, there’s a lot to collect and quests to fulfill. Overall, a great addition to any fan of the genre.

If the review has piqued your interest, feel free to check out this gameplay from the start of the game:

Let’s end with our review scores:

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox


Ys IX: Monstrum Nox
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox
Fun Factor


Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is an amazing Action RPG with lots of character and exploration. Adol’s adventure in the city of Balduq is memorable.




Marxally is a freelance graphic designer who enjoys playing video games and writing about them. A Nintendo fan at heart that enjoys the benefits of cloud gaming and loves its amazing community. Marxally covers news and review games at Cloud Dosage. Like what he does? Buy Marxally a Pizza!

2 thoughts on “Ys IX: Monstrum Nox – Game Review

  1. Ys VIII is one of my favourite games ever. Monstrum Nox gonna be my next project after getting through Valhalla 🙂

  2. Amazing games, we’re very lucky that we got those on Stadia. Hope you have a great time with Monstrum Nox!

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