Getting into gacha games is a trap, but one that millions of us have begrudgingly fallen into. Gacha games are addicting, using fanservice and gameplay to add to the rush that gambling gives us. It’s easy for gacha games to be predatory, and the majority of them tend to emphasize making money at the expensive of the players’ experience. Still, despite all of the trash in the pile of gacha games, there are a few wonderful experiences for players to enjoy. What makes these games noteworthy though?
There are a lot of factors that determine whether or not a gacha game is worth someone’s time. For some, solid gameplay is enough. Others want impressive graphics or a fine presentation. For a lot of players though, the most important aspect of a gacha game is how accessible it is to players that aren’t willing to pay for premium currency. Developers need to be generous in order to not only entice new players but keep them on board for the long haul. Of course, being generous isn’t necessarily enough, and there also needs to be enough content to justify players coming back time after time.
In this first article in a series that breaks down gacha games for beginners, I’m going to briefly cover the most vital pieces of a gacha game, and highlight a couple of games that do these parts well.
To start, a game usually needs to have a fine presentation in order to pull in players. Interesting looking characters, a clean interface, and high-quality sound and graphics all help to make a good gacha game. Without all of these things, a gacha game can feel hollow over time, especially if it is missing good sound-design or a clean interface. A fancy presentation doesn’t necessarily make or break a game, but it’s hard to capture the spirits of players without it. Finally, appealing art is obviously a key part of a game’s presentation, because, without it, why pull for jpegs?
Games that have solid presentation: Dragalia Lost, Honkai Impact 3rd, Epic Seven, Fate/Grand Order
What’s the point of investing your time and money into a game if you are just going to quit it soon after starting? A gacha game needs to last a while or it will find itself getting deleted after weeks of being forgotten. A gacha game’s main campaign needs to be of decent length. The developers also need to regularly release interesting content to engage both new and old players as well. Whether it be limited time events or entirely new modes, gacha games need to stay fresh.
Games with longevity: Granblue Fantasy, Epic Seven, Dragalia Lost, Fate/ Grand Order
Games are meant to be fun, and gacha games are no different. If it isn’t fun, no one is going to play it. There is a lot of diversity in gacha games, from turn-based (Granblue Fantasy, Revue Starlight) to active action (Dragalia Lost). Most are role-playing games, but a few are strategy-based (Fire Emblem Heroes, Brown Dust). Some games are quirky and a bit different from the rest (OH~! My Office). Then, of course, some gacha games revolve around puzzles (Sdorica) or music (Love Live, Bang Dream). It’s up to you to find the kind of gameplay you are looking.
Some great gameplay: Dragalia Lost, Revue Starlight, Shadowverse, Bang Dream
Who are we pulling for? Are they worth spending our precious currency on? A game needs interesting characters to motivate players to pull. Some games draw upon popular franchises for interesting things to pull, while others have entirely original characters that just have fun art or cool abilities. Find a game that has characters that interest you, or what’s the point of playing a gacha game?
Games with neat characters: Fire Emblem Heroes, Granblue Fantasy, One Piece Treasure Cruise, Fate/Grand Order
Do you plan on spending money on your game? Regardless of your answer, you should care if a developer is generous. Most developers rely on taking advantage of its player base, but a few are especially kind when it comes to giving out freebies. Be sure to look for a game that gives out tons of free stuff.
Games with tons of freebies: Dragalia Lost, Azur Lane, Destiny Child, Granblue Fantasy, Girls Frontline, Grand Summoners
Other Things To Look For
Some players will be looking for some other things in their gacha games. Maybe anime themes aren’t appealing? Try Marvel Strike Force (Though the devs aren’t too generous). If you are looking for something more competitive, Shadowverse is a great time (Though some would say that it isn’t exactly a gacha game). Another Eden is a fine singleplayer experience that doesn’t lean on the gacha. If you’d like to get into something new, maybe try Revue Starlight or an upcoming game like SinoAlice.
There are plenty of options for players to dive into. As you might have noticed, a lot of games overlap in quality, generosity, and theme. There are a lot of rough games out there, but the few gems are absolutely worth getting into. In future guides, we will cover more games in depth, but if you are looking to get started now, this guide should be a decent start.