Of all the 3d/2d Ys games made, Napishtim was the first to be made, yet the last to finally get a proper PC re-release. And while most of the good stuff that people loved about Felghana and Origin is still there (as it originated there), it does feel like a first attempt.
Napishtim, as Felghana and Origin, is an action jRPG with pretty simple controls but a lot of depth. Also a lot of grind. As always for the series the music is good/great, story is simple, but somehow charming anyway and visuals are nice, despite being quite outdated. There’s lots of button mashing, good timing for special attacks, occasional jumping, new items allowing to do new things and see new areas and stuff like that. It’s very simple to get into and enjoy.
Unlike later games, Napishtim clearly didn’t know how exactly to tackle the new perspective and controls. There are three weapons (as in other two games), yet they feel less varied and important. There are a lot of areas that feel like they are 3d versions of maps from Ys I and II, which is great in it’s own way, but sometimes feels too open, too easy to lose track of where you are, hence Felghana and Origin have much tighter and streamlined maps. There are several (optional) horrible jumping puzzles that rely on a semi-hidden skill you can do, something that got refined in next two games. And there’s way too much grinding at times with huge unexpected spikes in enemy damage mid area. Felghana and Origin not only did difficulty change better but also added a lot of things to make grind work, especially Origin, where you go into combo, grab healing off dead enemies (which heals you on spot) and things like that. Napishtim works in a more boring classic way and while there’s no absolute bs moment like in Ys I, it still feels not as fun as it could be.
That said, it’s still a fun game to check out. It doesn’t overstay the welcome, it entertains, it expands on the already interesting universe and you will have fun with it. You just might want to start with Felghana and Origin first to really get into the series.