Before it made Xenoblade Chronicles, Monolith Soft made another JRPG for Nintendo: the Japan-only DS game Soma Bringer. It may be smaller in scope, but there’s definitely something in it that will remind you of the sweeping Monolith epics!
Released in 2008, Soma Bringer is an action-RPG with a focus on cooperative same-room multiplayer. Still, though, it’s fun to play solo too! It looks great for a DS game, with some fancy scaling effects and lush drawn backgrounds, and the music’s thoroughly comforting. Oh, and the customization: there’s a whole slate of characters to choose from and a bunch of equipment to tweak and enhance them to your heart’s content.
If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, you may want to track down the fan translation patch, but it’s also very playable as-is. As you can see in this video! But you won’t get any of the story.
Topics include: Soothing tones, dog-people, Soma, big swords, bringing things, familiar appearances, The Exfriendables, context clues, Spring Break, Mysterious Amnesiac Magical Saving-The-World Girl.