Cassidy is an author and a scientist who enjoys playing mobile games in his free time.
What Are Gacha Games?
Gacha games are video games that feature a lottery-like system to acquire units, items, or other collectibles. Players spend virtual (and often real-world) currency in hopes of receiving the best and rarest collectibles. This type of game is extremely popular in Japan, and many gacha games are influenced by Japanese animation. They have recently become more popular around the globe, and their appeal has broadened as English language versions have been released.
It can be hard to tell which gacha games are worth your time from the app descriptions and images, so here I provide my top 5 game recommendations based on my experiences playing them as a free-to-play player. All of these games have a story, a combat mechanism, and character enhancement.
5. Fate/Grand Order
Fate/Grand Order is one of the most well-known gacha games. It's part of the Fate universe, which consists of a variety of visual novels and anime involving fictionalized versions of historical figures. Although it's often mocked for its low drop rates of high rarity characters, I have managed to obtain 15 5-star characters over the past 2 years. Just make sure to save up the in-game currency, Saint Quartz, for characters you really want.
The plotline is interesting and expansive, and the game does not require that much of a time commitment. You can pick and choose which events you want to participate in without fear of missing out. The only downside to the game is that I find the combat mechanism to be rather dull. It's a turn-based tactical role-playing game (RPG), but it's rather simplistic and mostly just requires having one decent character of each class (or one good berserker) along with a good support character or a friend's unit.
4. The Alchemist Code
The Alchemist Code is a turn-based, tactical, strategy RPG with a wide variety of available units. The combat mechanism is quite fun, and the story is okay. It has decent drop rates for high rarity units, although you will need many duplicates to fully maximize their potential. The game has a lot of available content and multiple events occurring simultaneously all the time.
The issue with this game is that it has become very difficult to succeed without paying real money, and there are certain characters who are much better than all the other characters. If you do not have them, you will be at a real disadvantage. Also, the characters that are released are successively stronger, so older characters, even top-tier units, will eventually become almost worthless. You need to play constantly to keep up, and all of the content can make keeping on top of everything rather overwhelming. Still, it's a fun game to play for a while as long as you don't care about being the best.
Arknights is a fun game with a recently released global version. Unlike the other games on this list, it's a tower defense game, which is a nice change of pace. The story is quite engaging. It is set in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi world where many people are dying of a disease that also gifts the infected with supernatural powers. The infected people face discrimination, and some people are taking advantage of the situation to terrorize the population.
Drop rates in the game are very generous, and you can also get 6-star units more rarely from a different summoning mechanic called Recruitment and from cashing in excess duplicates. I currently have 7 out of 12, and the game has only been out for 2 months.
The main issue with this game is a lack of content. It does have some excuse since it's such a recent release, but so far it has only 100 main stages and has had only one event (which had 12 stages). The 5th episode, consisting of 22 stages, was released very recently, though, so there is hope that more content will be released regularly. I would certainly appreciate more regular events.
2. Epic Seven
Epic Seven is a fairly popular tactical RPG that's known for its high-quality animation. I have only recently started playing it, but I've been impressed by the amount of content and the play style. The story is interesting and involves an expansive adventure as the hero attempts to save the world and learns what it means to be human in the process.
There are a large number of characters, and they are decently balanced. Some 3- and 4-star characters are even better than some 5-star characters in certain circumstances. Team building relies on synergies, so vastly different team combinations can be successful. Drop rates for high rarity characters and artifacts are pretty low, but there are ample opportunities to summon. I've been playing for about a month, and so far I have 4 5-star units.
Maxing out characters requires a lot of grinding, which could be good or bad depending on what pace you like. Personally I'm enjoying that it takes some time to build a quality team because it makes playing feel worthwhile. Overall, I'd definitely recommend that you give it a try. There's a lot to like.
1. Langrisser Mobile
Langrisser is a turn-based strategy RPG with a very engaging combat style and a lot of content. You choose both which heroes to use and which soldiers to accompany them to maximize their potential. It is very free-to-play friendly, although it does require a lot of grinding. Thankfully you can speed that up with the sweep function (which can also allow you to complete daily tasks more quickly if you are in a rush).
Drop rates are decent, which is good because you will need a lot of SSR units (the highest rarity) to be successful. Thankfully you do not need duplicates as you can promote your preferred heroes by completing a limited number of special quests each day. You can summon items of various rarities as well, but that is not recommended since you can obtain these as rewards for completing high-level stages or from grinding during events. Make sure you join a guild, as participating in guild wars (PvE) will provide useful rewards and allow you to advance your heroes more quickly.
My only issue with the game is that I found the story to be a bit dull and over the top, but you can skip it if you want. This did not hurt my appreciation of the game, however, as I played it daily for about a year. I highly recommend this game to anyone interested in a strategy RPG.