The Alchemist Code Review: One of the Best Mobile SRPGs
- Name: The Alchemist Code
- Developer: Fuji&gumi Games / gumi Inc.
- Genre: SRPG
- Price: Free, with ads and in app purchases
- Installed size: 1.7gb
- Best played in medium-long sessions
- Minor bugs experienced
- Playable Offline: No
What is The Alchemist Code?
The Alchemist Code is a turn-based strategy RPG gacha game. It features a lot of what players have come to expect from Japanese SRPGs. That includes grid based movement, advantages from attacking from behind and from higher ground, and using a favorable element. It also includes things that might surprise people, like friendly fire and skills that can take a while to charge and might miss if the opponent moves before the skill charges.
As far as the heroes go, The Alchemist Code has over 50 heroes to collect and power up. Heroes can unlock up to three different jobs, each of which comes with its own skill sets. For example the Lamia starts off as a spear wielding Spearman, but can change her job to a defensive Holy Knight, or Dragon Knight once certain conditions are met.
At this time, The Alchemist Code has three core gameplay modes, a single player story mode (and event mode), a PVP arena, and a mutliplayer co-op mode. The game’s story mode is made up of over one hundred different levels and story sequences that occur before each level. Story sequences play out in visual novel style cutscenes, some of which even feature Japanese voice overs. Co-op (branded “multiplay”) has players team up in groups of up to 4 to take on some of the game’s stages, where players take turns taking on the AI. The arena mode is the standard gacha game arena mode, where players select their team and it goes against another player’s team, but both are controlled by the AI.
The Alchemist Code is far from being the perfect game, but it’s pretty darn good. It offers gameplay that’s just deep enough to be interesting, avoids focusing too heavily on in app purchases, and has a story mode that some people might want to play through for the story. At the same time the gameplay is a bit slow, the content could use more variety, as with any gacha game, there are balance issues.
The Alchemist Code has a hefty story mode, at its global launch there are 5 episodes, and each is comprised of 3 acts which contain 10 stages. That works out to 150 levels, and around that many cutscenes. That might be a fine amount of levels for a normal mobile RPG. However, this is just a portion of the content that The Alchemist Code will have. The Japanese version of the game, “For Whom the Alchemist Exists”, already has multiple chapters each of which contains 4-5 episodes. So while The Alchemist Code’s current crop of 150 stages are nothing to sneeze at, gamers should expect major additions in the future.
The downside is that The Alchemist Code’s gameplay never feels quite right. Even when using the increased speed option, the game always feels like it is a tad slow. Unit movements, animation, and just about everything in the game feels like it is drawn out just a bit too much. That adds up to a less than perfect experience. Moreover, the variety of content is far from great. Most levels have the same requirement of killing every enemy, and the same goals (win, no deaths, limited number of items used).
As with all gacha games, taking advantage of the game’s in app purchases will give players an edge. Buying gems allows players to get more heroes, acquire more shards to power up existing heroes, and even to continue stages after being defeated. That being said, The Alchemist Code doesn’t force IAPs on users, and the game is just if you choose not to spend any money on it. However, like most gacha games, levels can often become too easy if you have powerful heroes.
Despite its shortcomings, The Alchemist Code is one of the best mobile gacha games. As far as free to play strategy RPGs go, it stands alongside Fantasy War Tactics R at the top of the heap on Android and iOS. It might not be perfect, but it’s darn good. Here are some Alchemist Code tips to help get you started on the right foot.