A king recruits his subjects, and neighbouring rulers, to share in his quest for a fairer new world
Once the obvious decrees have been made – free sweets, everlasting school holidays! – most children, if asked to reign for a day, would surely wish for peace and plenty for their kingdom. So it is with Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, a prince made, in sudden and bloody circumstances, an exiled king who, together with a growing band of friends, supporters and assorted strays, must build an empire and an alluring constitution to draw subjects to his freshly birthed nation.
Rendered in the Studio Ghibli aesthetic – defined here by artist Yoshiyuki Momose and composer Joe Hisaishi, who both worked on the Japanese studio’s Oscar-winning Spirited Away – the newly released Ni no Kuni II’s non-threatening whimsy is stylish but childlike. And for the first few hours, while searching for a patch of unclaimed land on which to settle a capital, it’s a likable adventure. You bumble over hill and dale, slaying monsters, incrementally upgrading your swords and sandals, and sleeping off the effort at local inns.