Level-5 has finally unveiled many of the gameplay elements for Ni No Kuni at its recent Level-5 Vision conference. A lot has already been said about how the legendary animation company Studio Ghibli has lent its talents to the production of the game's animated sequences and orchestral soundtrack, but it seems that Level-5 intends to match those contributions with its own experience as the developer of the recent Dragon Quest games.
Many of the elements that made Dragon Quest IX a hit in Japan have found their way into this game. Chief among these are an item and quest download service, and a tag mode. The tag mode, called the "Travelling Egg" system, lets player exchange eggs that contain items. Eggs level up as they are exchanged, and player earn points whenever they make an exchange. Players can then spend those points to break the eggs to get a reward, with higher level eggs providing better rewards.
In addition to having a tag mode, Ni No Kuni will also have some more conventional multiplayer features. The game's combat system is built around collecting 350 different kinds of monster-like creatures, and like any good monster-collecting game it will let players trade the creatures or fight against each other with multiplayer battles.
Another notable feature of the game will be a Dream World for the player to explore. In this world, the player will be tested by a Dream Guide to solve puzzles. In order to solve these puzzles, the player will have to make use of a book called the Magic Master, which serves as an encyclopedia of many aspects of the game world.
Finally, in the tradition of many classic RPGs, Ni No Kuni will include a variety of different vehicles and a casino. The only vehicle revealed so far is an oceangoing ship, but the developers have hinted that there are more. The casino will be a place for the player to take a break from normal gameplay and play some mini-games.
The DS version of Ni No Kuni will be released in Japan on December 9. Unfortunately, details on the PS3 version were not revealed at Level-5 Vision, and there still has not been an announcement of a US release.