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Alchemy Stars | Global4.6
Day 1 AK doctor here, first time I make a review about a game so please bare with me, I noticed a lot have been comparin' Alchemy Stars to Arknights & considerin' it as a straight out copy-paste which isn't that far off from the truth but not quite exactly, it has a soul of it's own & I'll be breakin' down the similarities & differences and decide for yourself whether the game is up your alley or not.
- To make it brief without spoilin', it's set in a fantasy world where you're the last of your kind & on the verge to existent with no capability of actual fightin' but you get rescued one day by the female heroine & the journey starts from here, you being a navigator to the characters called Aurorains, guidin' them in battles against the enemies called Eclipsites with your telepathic abilities & about discoverin' the mystery behind the MC past & such, it has lighter tone compared to AK where it's set in a post-apocalyptic settin', dark, grim & heavily full of text, while Alchemy Stars leans more on the colorful & not that much serious of a story from what I've played since there's only 8 chapters so far that all combined felt like 1 chapter of AK in terms of story length, too early to judge since there's lots to be explored in the future, like events & such, there's also 3 extra chapters as well, overall not that great but not bad either.
- Character designs are aesthetically beautiful & vibrant, it has lots of variety of unique characters in which they come in 4 different elements (water, fire, forest & thunder), all being L2D, they gain extra artwork upon ascendin' the characters, the system is similar to promotions in AK, also the story has some CGs that happen in between when goin' through the story, durin' battles or dorm they appear as 3D chibi models which I think are nicely made.
- A mixture of great ambient, classical & electronic OST which varries dependin' on wherevever you're in the game (homescreen, stages, boss fight & so on) to set the mood right, not much better than AK but still pleasant to listen to nonetheless.
- To whom who played AK, it's pretty much the same minus the recruitment system, it's splitted up to four banners at first, (beginner) banner which is 50% discounted that guarantees you 6* in the first 21 pulls then it disappears, next is the (limited) banner which is similar to AK which features a 6* on a rate up then gets added to the perma pool after the banner duration is over, it guarantees you a 5* in the first 10x pulls & the pity is accumulated & get carried over to other future limited banners if you didn't get a 6* by then, third type of banners is called (mainstay) which what you could call it standard, it's just there permanently with all the characters that are in the current pool, next would be the (RRR) short for rotatin' recommended recruitment that features a 6* & a 5* every 21 day or so, similar to the limited one, it guarantees a 5* in the first x10 pulls .. note that banners don't share the same pity count nor the currency used to pull, mainstay & RRR one type of currency while the limited one is of a different type, about the rates it's pretty much like AK, 2% for 6*, 9.5% for 5*, 4* for 33% & 3* for 55.5% and the pity starts to kicks in after 50 pulls then it adds 2.5% to 6* rate after each pull & onwwards till it reaches 100%, you can exchange items & characters by usin' the currency you get after pullin' in the gacha, similar to green & gold certificates in AK, if you're fine with AK gacha then you most likely won't have any complains here.
- Noticed that lots of people consider the gameplay similar to AK which is totally wrong while AK being tower defense & has strategic elements to it, Alchemy stars is more on the offense side while havin' totally different gameplay style, it leans more to the puzzle-ish, strategic & a bit of RNG, each stage you enter you're greeted with a huge floor with 4 different colored tiles (red, blue, green & yellow) scattered around which you use to utilize killin' the waves of enemies with a formation of 5 members each have different elemental attribute & skills dependin' on whom you pick, some being converters that change the tiles colors to combo better & do chain skills, others are supporters that provide utility, heals & buffs/debuffs, detonators that deal AoE damage, snipers that hit multiple targets from afar and the list goes on.
- One of the major complains that I noticed people say that enemies & stages gets repetitive, which clearly isn't the case as you further progress into the story new enemies & mechanics keep gettin' introduced to make the experience feel fresh & challengin', auto mode unlocks after you finish a stage manually & you can even set it to 2x speed and tell the game to repeat the stage by the X number you set the command at, it has the same promotion system in AK like elite 1 & 2 but it goes up to ascend 3 but fortunately all stages are guaranteed to drop the items you're farmin' for with different quantity and not just one of that said material which in AK you can be left empty handed after burnin' your sanity (called prism in this game).
- There's dupe system but like AK it isn't of any means necessary, just a bit of a boost, characters are already useful from the get-go, what also worth mentionin' all rarities are viable and can actually be used like AK, my current formation consist of only one 6* that I got from the beginner banner while others are of lower rarity, one being the female heroine (Vice) 5* that's been given to us like (Amiya) from AK & I managed to fully 3* the entire 8 chapters (except the last boss) with no issues whatsoever, people say the stages are heavily reliant on RNG or whatever but in fact as long you get the hang of everythin' (character skills, mechanics & such) you can plan accordingly & set the board to your advantage to clear the stages easily.
- It has dorm system but not quite the same to AK, where you need to switch your characters now & then when their mood drops low, or of need some actually management by the player to utilize it day & night to generate some benefits, no there's none of that here, you can just place your characters & they'll do their thing with no involvement from the player, & you can actually interact with the characters & get to know them better by tappin' on them, unlike AK where the purpose of the dorm is get exp. cards, gold & such, in Alchemy Stars you can get prism (sanity) on top of what regenerates automatically same to AK, 1 per 6 minutes, and stages have fixed costs, goes up to 24 where I reached in the story, there's a workshop to create higher rarirty materials that unlocks later in the story, on top of that a dispatch system where you can send a formation to get materials & gacha currency along with what you get daily which I calculated to net you 10+ if not more pulls a month beside the first time rewards, branch, growth, achievements, sign-in & spire (challenges floors), those can get you 80-90+ pulls the first month, in addition there's pre-registration & giveaway rewards they handed & keep handin' us till this day ater after launch & I heard people say the game being so stingy which honestly baffles me.
- There's a rogue-like mode that refreshes every week in which you clear stages & boss fights ascendin' to upper floors which grants currecny to buy more pulls for gacha, materials & so, similar to AK annihilation mode but the stages vary in type & not just a fixed perma stage, good to mention that your characters have fixed levels & such, so you don't need to worry that you're being underleveled or lackin' in ascensions (promotions) or so.
- There's an end game system that unlocks as you go way further in the story that is similar to (Azur Lane PR system), where you do tasks to unlock four powerful 6* of different elements which is nice to have, & perhaps more characters will be available in the future, also when you at least unlock one of these characters, a new mode unlocks in which you can fight multiple bosses that are way challengin' for gacha pulls if defeated.
- Like AK no PvP, game is completely PvE which I wholeheartedly appreciate.
- Only complains I can say for the time being is that the font that is chosen in some places around the game doesn't look right & gives a cheap feelin', also the game is 30 FPS locked in stages which felt like an issue at first but I adapted quickly to it, U.I sometimes lags a bit & doesn't have that smoothiness of AK but I hope the devs. are already aware of that and workin' to fix these issues, despite those complains I pointed out, the game is an absolute breath of fresh air, with how unique the gameplay is, I highly recommend it to those who like strategy & puzzle games that want another game which doesn't feel like a full time job like what most gacha games are nowadays but quite the opposite, being genuinely fun, there's lots of room for future improvements down the road & I can feel it, all in all a really pretty nice game to have as a side just like how AK is.
- Play Alchemy Stars.