Nexomon: Extinction is the best Pokémon clone you'll find on PlayStation 4 -- but admittedly, that isn't saying much. The addictive quality of catching and training often cute, sometimes cool looking monsters is here, but the game as a whole is let down by some uneven design.
Nexomon doesn't really care that it's a blatant Pokémon knockoff -- that's the whole point. Replace 'Pokémon trainers' with 'Nexomon tamers' and that's Nexomon: Extinction in a nutshell. It even makes jokes about how closely it mimics Nintendo's seemingly eternal property. And on a fundamental level, this is a traditional main series Pokémon game, right down to shaking patches of grass and Nexomon centers that heal your critters for free.
The game does try something different with its world, though. In Nexomon, you're free to go wherever you want. It's not completely open -- the story is still linear -- but you're encouraged to wander off in search of new monsters. However, freedom comes with a costly design decision: level scaling. As you grind and progress the plot, both wild Nexomon and tamer Nexomon become stronger. This creates something of an unsatisfying gameplay loop, where it never really feels like you're outpacing the competition.
In fact, Nexomon: Extinction can be surprisingly brutal. Healing items are costly and money is in short supply. Combine that with opponents who level up alongside you, and simple exploration becomes a bit of a chore as you're forced to return to town for some free medical attention. In a game that's all about grinding with your favourite monsters, the balance feels totally out of whack at times.
But with a sensible update or two, Nexomon: Extinction could evolve into a much more enticing experience. It's never going to have the charm of Pokémon, but it could yet be a decent alternative.