The world of mobile gaming is often seen as an insult to true gaming to some of the most hardcore console gamers. However in some countries outside of the United States, mobile games thrive and even dominate their console counter parts. Enter Granblue Fantasy, a top mobile game from Final Fantasy veterans Hideo Minaba (art director) and Nobuo Uematsu (music composer). While not graphically intensive, Granblue Fantasy has managed to thrive in the mobile space gathering up to 18 million players here at the end of 2017. So what makes this game so special? Let’s dive in.
For a mobile game Granblue Fantasy offers a lot more story content than most offerings on Android or iOS. There are 77 chapters in this game all of which follows an ever expanding crew traveling a land full of might and magic. To be completely honest with you, the story is just a catalyst that drives the draw (lootbox) system of the game. You mainly play through the story just for the crystal rewards you get after each mission. Not to say there is anything wrong with the plot, but the game’s text is on the obnoxiously long end of the spectrum. The developers themselves acknowledge the text heavy issue and even inserted a skip option in order to ignore entire dialogues, which are played out by actual Japanese voice actors, in order to get your mission complete rewards.
The main allure to Granblue Fantasy is its character selection. There are hundreds of well drawn characters to Draw from. Emphasis on the word Draw. Cool characters can be unlocked from completing story missions and gaining the necessary amount of crystals. With good luck and praying to your favorite anime god you can unlock characters of high rarity.
While the game is character focused much like Overwatch or League of Legends, the grind for a character can be unreal at times. It takes three thousand crystals to get 10 draws. It’s a lootbox-centric game that will have you repeating cycles just to get that sweet, sweet SS Ranked waifu or husbando of your choice. The effort wouldn’t be so bad if the grind wasn’t so mindless.
While I’d like to say the gameplay is fun and satisfactory, the opposite is true. The combat is much like older Final Fantasy games: turn based and UI driven. Throughout the story mode I’ve found little to no trouble winning each match. Heck, I even played missions with new level 1 characters and was still able to progress. The real challenge comes from the Raids which usually have 30 players come together and fight an overpowered monster.
As you can hear from the video below, the music is pretty god tier. On your adventure you’ll hear whimsical music throughout the game’s various modes. With various unique memorable themes for modes such as holiday events, side stories, and draws Granblue Fantasy offers a memorable soundtrack. By the end of an hour play session the battle track will be drilled into your mind and become a theme you recall for years to come. A cool twist to the battle music is dynamic shift much like the fighting game Killer Instinct. During combat reducing the health of an enemy to certain extent will cause the music to change and become more dramatic.
Personally, I abandoned the game a while ago when realizing how pointless the cycle for characters were. Unfortunately for me, I came back to it and was hooked by the gacha game and they roped me in with one hundred free draws for characters, weapons and summons. So if you’re into anime and don’t mind loot-boxes, then by all means download Granblue Fantasy. If you don’t enjoy any of the mentioned intricacies of the game, then by all means stay away. In the end, Granblue Fantasy is like one of those slot machines you play as kid. You spend coins on it hoping to get something good, but you never do. I want to love the game but it just wants me to spend money on draws. Its only saving grace is the well drawn characters and constant content updates.