Gacha games, sometimes referred to as hero collection games, are among the most popular and highest revenue generating games on Android. They regularly comprise 20% of Google Play’s top 50 grossing games in the United States, and are even more popular in Japan and Southeast Asia. While many users enjoy gacha games, there are many that feel that hero collection games focus too strongly on gambling-like elements and cater too much to users who are willing to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the game. At the same time these games often lack gameplay depth and instead have users rely on auto play for the majority of the game’s content. Grandchase is a different story.
KOG’s Grandchase is one of the few gacha games that offers gamers unique gameplay, a reason to turn off auto-play, and a story that will appeal to JRPG fans. It does all of this without constantly pushing users towards the available in app purchases.
Grandchase should not be confused with Grandchase M, another gacha game built around the popularity of the Grandchase PC RPG. The two games have little in common beyond their names and inspiration. This will soon become a non-issue for many as Grandchase M has already announced that it will be shutting down.
It should be noted that while in app purchases less important here than they are in many other games, higher level content and PVP is much easier for users that are willing to spend money to acquire new characters and power up existing ones. What separates Grandchase from many other gacha titles is a story mode that is a meaningful part of the game and is open to everyone without any strong paywalls.
Granchase’s story is the sort of thing players might expect from a JRPG. Boy and girl living in a peaceful small rural town have their lives interrupted by the appearance of mythical heroes and demons. As they journey out to of their homes, they’ll meet a number of new allies, discover the demons’ plans and risk their lives in the process. It’s a predictable but enjoyable tale told through a mixtures of in game dialogue and occasional comic book style panels.
Not Your Standard Hero Collection Game
Most hero collection games have players grind for loot, currency, and other useful materials by constantly repeating content that is nearly trivial in terms of difficulty. To make this grind easier, they have players rely on the available auto-play option to make the grinding a little more bearable. Of course they limit the amount of grinding that can be done by implementing a stamina or energy system. Grandchase largely does away with the grind.
Grandchase does not have a stamina system. Players are free to play as much as they wish without worrying about when their energy will run out. However, Grinding in Grandchase is a mostly fruitless endeavor due to story missions that give minimal rewards after the first time they are completed. The end result is a game where players spend less time on repeating useless content and more time playing the game.
That is not to say the grind is entirely gone. There are missions that will have players go back to some of the game’s easier content, as well as daily tasks that can be quite easy. That might add up to 5 to 10 short levels of easy content that gamers are compelled to do per day, a far cry from the dozens and dozens of missions that mobile RPG gamers are used to. Though like most games, auto-play can make short work of the game’s easier, less goal oriented, levels.
The game’s departure from the standard hero collection RPG formula might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The summoning system has proven to be somewhat controversial. Obtaining a SR character using Grandchase’s summoning system will cost players an average of 30,000 gems (3,000 gems for 10 summons, with a 1% chance of a SR per summon). Given the difficulty of obtaining gems, SR characters are extremely hard to get without paying for them. Even those that obtain a SR will need duplicates to awaken it several times to truly make it useful. SR heroes are also obtainable through evolution and fusion of rank S characters. Both routes will require large quantities of rank S heroes which are themselves not easy to get, though they are much more common than SR characters. Those looking for a game that makes obtaining the highest tier heroes easy should take a look at Destiny Knights.
Ultimately these heroes are largely unimportant unless players are interested in Grandchase’s PVP content or most difficult raids and single player missions. Player versus player combat is underwhelming, fought against AI controlled opponents, and a small part of the game. Players are required to get one PVP win per day if they hope to complete their daily quests, but the mode can largely go untouched beyond that.
The lack of attention payed to PVP also means that it can be quite difficult to advance in PVP ranks. Beginners who want to move forward will frequently encounter high level players who are not ranked very high because they don’t participate in PVP matches beyond their daily win.
Like its PVP, Grandchase’s social elements are also below what mobile users have come to expect. There is a lack of global chat, private messaging, or any real form of communication outside of guild chat. Instead players will receive a constant deluge of updates about other users upgrading their gear or collecting rare heroes.
One of the best gacha games around?
If it was available worldwide and had an active global community, Grandchase would likely be among Android Sloth’s best gacha games. It offers a unique story driven experience that’s compelling without relying on random hero draws. Despite being a gacha game, the hero collection elements are one of the game’s weaknesses. Though the game’s cast of characters are all interesting, the act of collecting them doesn’t offer the same level of excitement as games like Knights Chronicle, where players will often hope for a particular hero and have multiple opportunities to draw them.
This is a title for gamers looking for a more active mobile RPG that feels like something more than an endless grind. Players can be perfectly satisfied with having played the game and finished the story mode without going on to some of the more challenging content. It’s not the sort of game that constantly drives players towards buying more and more heroes to keep up with their competitors, nor does it provide the visceral rush associated with doing a premium hero pull. Luckily there are enough games out there that provide that rush for those that seek it.
As of right now, Grandchase is only available in Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. The app is the same for Japan and the Philippines but they use separate servers. As with most games releases in Southeast Asia, it’s available in English. Here’s a guide on how to download GrandChase directly from Google Play using a VPN. Developer KOG’ has chosen not to comment about the game’s potential global expansion, but the game’s quality, success, and already available English version make expansion highly likely.