Gacha games are one of the fastest-growing mobile game genres on smartphones today. Based on Japan's 'Gashapon' system, these games act like vending machines that dispense toys. A large part of these games' appeal is drawing new characters, not knowing what you'll get.
Players can spend money on boxes or packs to unlock cards, characters, or items. Many gacha games are tie-ins with anime franchises or established video games. The highest-ranking items are scarce and hard to obtain, requiring multiple gacha pack openings.
Here are the top gacha games to play right now!
This mobile strategy RPG takes place in a world where alchemy is forbidden and sealed away. Players take control of heroes Logi and Dias to play through the game's story mode. The Alchemist Code also offers events, multiplayer co-op, and arena PVP. The gameplay is much like turn-based tactical RPGs, similar to Fire Emblem or Langrisser.
Tales of Erin is another strategy RPG with a focus on story and tactical gameplay. The game features divinity animations and summons, similar to Final Fantasy 7. Players can assemble a party of five heroes of dark, wind, light, fire, and water types. Each heroes' skills and weapons impact how well you can tackle each level.
Marvel's Strike Force splits its campaign into superheroes and supervillains. Players can collect both, but each has a different story to play through. Players can combine all of their characters to participate in PVP battles, raids, and other challenges.
Players can earn character shards by completing missions to unlock characters. A gear collection mechanic exists to power up your superheroes and villains once they are unlocked.
Dragalia Lost takes place in Alberia, with players assuming the role of a prince who has just inherited the throne. Dragalia Lost contains more narrative story pieces than most gacha games, but that's not bad. The game itself is a party-based dungeon crawler.
Players can control their party's attacks with just the swipe of a finger. Those party members are customizable with weapons and cards that grant a bonus stat or ability.
Dragon Ball Legends draws inspiration from the popular Dragon Ball anime series. Most characters in the game unlock using the premium currency, like most gacha games. Unlike other gacha games that feature a robust story component, Dragon Ball Legends is primarily PVP based.
The portrait-based fighter features four abilities you can wield in combat against other players. Quick thinking is needed to be successful, but you'll need powerful characters, too.
Be sure to check out Dragon Ball Legends 2nd Anniversary Campaign - it's out now!
7 Deadly Sins: Grand Cross is another anime tie-in gacha game that saw great success when it launched in Japan. The game itself features highly cinematic gameplay and cutscenes. The game follows the basic plot of the anime, starting in the Boar Hat Tavern with Hawk and Meliodas.
The battle system is turn-based and employs some strategic gameplay through skill synthesis. When two of the same skill are next to each other, they automatically combine into their next powerful tier. The mechanic allows players to shuffle skills for a more significant impact on battles.
RAID: Shadow Legends features a single-player story mode, but PVP is where the game shines. The campaign, dungeons, faction wars, and other options are all just treadmills for building up your character's strength for PVP.
Unlike other gacha games on this list that respect its players, RAID: Shadow Legends does not. It continually asks players to spend money here and there to continue enjoying the game. The monetization is so blatant that any other gacha game on this list would be a better way to spend your time.
Gacha World is a tongue-in-cheek self-referencing game about the 'gacha lifestyle.' Players can build their own anime-styled Gacha Summoner to earn gems by completing quests and battling bosses. There are over 90 characters to collect in the game, with light story elements to keep things fun.
Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius brings the classic Final Fantasy style gameplay to mobile devices. It's a dialogue-heavy game with lots of story, much like early Final Fantasy games. It features more trappings of a JRPG than a gacha game, though it does have collection mechanics.
Arknights is one of the best gacha games available on mobile devices. It's an anime-themed story about the Rhodes Island organization's agents, protecting people infected with a mysterious disease.
The gameplay itself is tower defense style gameplay, where agents are leveled and promoted to become stronger. The game's story divides up into chapters with a base-management segment similar to Fallout Shelter. Out of all the mobile gacha games on this list, Arknights is the fairest with free-to-play players. It also lacks PVP, which is a plus for some players.
Fire Emblem Heroes draws from the massive collection of heroes in the Fire Emblem universe. The game uses Fire Emblem's tactical strategy maps, but it feels shallow. There is only a single screen map in each mission, and only three units are available to control on a map.
A long, drawn-out story is available for fans of the Fire Emblem series. Nintendo regularly runs special events and free summons, for players to stock up their roster of characters.
Granblue Fantasy is another fighting game gacha that is enjoyable to play. Players can choose Gran or Djeeta as their starting character as the captain of an airship. The player's character wants to travel to a mythical island in the sky.
Along the way, players gather a large crew to help them fight off the evil empire. The game's training missions do an excellent job of teaching everything you'll need to know. It teaches basics like attacking, jumping, dashing, and cross-ups and cancels.
As you can see, gacha games occupy a wide variety of genres on smartphones. Whether you enjoy tactical strategy gameplay, tower defense, or even robust fighting games – there is something for every gaming fan.