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Gaming Wednesday: New Favourite Character

I finally bought Ni No Kuni a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been playing a lot of it recently. For those who don’t know, it’s a collaboration between esteemed developers Level-5 (perhaps best known for the Professor Layton franchise) and the beloved animation studio, Studio Ghibli (best known for their movies Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke).

In the game, you play as Oliver, a small boy who gets sucked into a magical world following the death of his mother. Throughout the game, you learn magic, you capture familiars in a mechanic that isn’t at all a straight rip-off of Pokémon (how dare you suggest such a thing!), and generally travel a vast expansive world filled with weird and wonderful characters.

I bought it because of the Ghibli angle, and it was worth it, since it’s an easy to pick up, hard to master, adorably weird monster of a game that I want to play forever.

But besides the mechanics, which are very good, I feel I need to share the main reason I love this game.

This is Drippy. He’s the Lord High Lord Of The Faeries, which is the most redundant title since Spinal Tap’s “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight”, and he’s my new favourite character.

Drippy is the one who drags Oliver into the other world, demanding that Oliver buck up and stop crying (you know, despite the death of his mother and all), and says that he’s most likely the Pure-Hearted One who can save the world from danger. He helps instil bravery into the boy simply by pushing him forward into the adventure of a lifetime.

Appearance-wise, he’s very silly. He’s an egg-shaped little man with a massive nose and a lantern hanging off the end of it. Why he has a lantern is never explained, but there you go.

He’s also very, very Welsh. I have never encountered a Welsh video game character in my entire life, and it came as a shock to see this strange little man hopping around with a strong accent, peppering his speech with “is it?” and using “there’s” in place of “that’s” constantly (e.g. “there’s lovely!”).

I think it’s this inherent Welsh-ness that makes me like this guy so much. Maybe it’s because I was born in Swansea, but I always feel that Welsh people are absolutely likeable, and the silly verbal tics make me feel warm and fuzzy.

The guy’s also just a hilarious character. Permanently enthusiastic and making light of even the most dangerous of situations, Drippy is just a fun guy to have around. He’ll call Oliver out for being a dense, nervous child (such as when Oliver failed to grasp the concept of a healing spell) and gives everyone nicknames, like “Sageface”. You can talk to him at any time, and one of the randomly generated phrases he says is simply “Wahey!” which I feel sums up his entire character.

In addition to this, his running animation has him hopping and huffing about on stubby legs with a massive grin on his face. Stand idle for a moment and he will get bored and start leaping and dancing around you. If you walk into him accidentally, he’ll trip and roll off somewhere, slightly dazed. He’s one of the most entertaining characters to watch.

At one point in the game, he can be seen attempting to try on massive hats while a father and daughter are having an emotional conversation that’s integral to the plot. He’s generally very silly.

He’s also basically useless. He acts as a walking tutorial at times, but generally he’ll just be tagging along behind you and not really doing much in a gameplay capacity. All of this should be immensely annoying, but it’s all part of his charm since the game even calls him out for it on multiple occasions.

I have reached the point in the game where Oliver and his new crew have arrived in Drippy’s hometown and we’ve met his people, including his mountain-sized mother. They all have the same verbal tics and slang in their speech, and even better, they’re all amateur comedians. As such, I now wish that The Fairyground was a real place because I want to go and live there right now.

I also want my own Drippy, which is why I’m sad I didn’t fork out the several thousand pounds (rough estimate) for the Wizard’s Edition, since it comes with a Drippy plush doll. It also comes with a hardcover version of the in-game Wizard’s Compendium, which would also be nice, but it’s mostly because of the plush doll.

Dear Level-5 and Ghibli, thank you for creating this character. I’ve played so many games lately with moody protagonists and angry white men that I’ve become jaded, and Drippy was the perfect antidote to that. He’s fun, he’s silly, and he doesn’t have a care in the world. I want more of him.

So guys, let me know what you think of Ni No Kuni. Have you played it? Interested in playing it? Any reason why/why not? And also, what have you, my delightful readers been playing this week?

Also, on Monday I said that I would link to an update video that would allow you to make suggestions for how I can link this blog up to my Youtube channel, but that video never got made, so never mind. Maybe next week. See you then for more gaming fun!

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