With the recent popularity of Pokémon Go sucking me in (probably like most people), my mobile has become more of a gaming platform. If I am honest I am surprised the amount of free- to play RPG games available out there which provide good gaming experiences. So – Phantom of the Kill – a strategy free to play RPG for mobile smart phones and tablets including both OS and Android operating systems. Developed and published by Fuji and Gumi Games it’s a great place to start.
The games story is pretty rudimental as it is set in an apocalyptic future where Demons have taken over the world and humanities only method of fighting back is using the ancient arms bestowed upon humanity by the gods. You play as a “commander” in the Ragnarok institute, an institution created to combat the demonic invasion. Using a variety of units presented to you, you must fight on their behalf. There is a plethora of characters in the game which are presented to you in the story, however if you want to know more about characters then you have to complete their character quests which can only be unlocked by obtaining a 5 star of that unit which –unless your lucky – takes time. These character quests are more useful for fleshing out other random characters that do not seem to have so much of a part in the main story, and is fairly effective as it gives something to the game that’s focus is not so much on story but, gameplay.
The main gameplay of the game is centred on tactical RPG fights. You select a stage to fight and this gives you a map full of enemies to defeat which then nets you EXP for the units used and your overall player EXP amongst other rewards such as units, money and gear. However, rarely – if at all will you ever get units from story quests. Every encounter uses a set amount of energy or “action points” which is restored over real time which means you are limited to how many battles you can have in a day. The higher your level the more action points you can store. If you want specific units say units for evolving other units then you will have to do event quests which are the same map based fights. There is a fair amount of depth of strategy in these fights as different terrain can grant different bonuses such as plus one to defence and magic defence or additional evasion. Also, depending on the units that you take into battle depends also how you will be able to move across this terrain. Dragoon units can move across any terrain freely due to their flying steeds, mounted units can move across most terrain quite quickly apart from desert terrain where un-mounted units have an advantage. Then there’s the armoured units such as armoured mages which have a hard time with any kind of terrain and are fairly limited in their movement range. The main types of units available are (giving you there unofficial name) gun mages, lancers, bow men, swordsmen, axemen and a healer class. These have variations such as with the “armoured gun mages” which have their advantages. However -more importantly – each has their own advantage such as axes, swords and lancers have a rock-paper scissor relationship as swords are better against lances, lances are better against axes and axes are better against swords. But, this is not all, as a unit’s type also gives a unit an advantage over another such as its elemental type. For example fire is strong against wind and wind is strong against thunder. This coupled with other factors such as bowmen being strong against flying units will give you plenty to think about while fighting.
As mentioned to obtain units you can participate in event quests which will give you units however these units are only useful for ranking up other units. A ranked up unit will have its level reset to one however the unit’s base stats will be a lot better. To recruit actual units to use in battle you will have to earn mana to spend at the recruitment shop. Mana can be obtained from doing stage challenges, daily rewards or having a random player online help you. Lazuli can also be used to obtain rare units to boost your combat prowess and can be obtained like the mana through daily login bonuses and stage challenges or buying with real money. This is where a slight pay to win factor could creep into the game however I found it rather easy to get quite high ranked units and the game does a brilliant job of supplying you with plenty of opportunities to get lazuli for free at the beginning. With the use of levelling up and ranking up your units and fusing your gear there is a lot to keep players playing for completionism sake. There is also a nifty auto play option that you can take if the grinding is becoming a little too boring which is handy when you would much rather be focusing your attention elsewhere.
The game has a very anime style to it and has a lot of very creative character designs giving a variety of units for a player to choose from in just an aesthetics sense. The games battle animations look fairly nice too with their colourful sparks of death and the cinematic sequences created for the game in various parts are also a nice touch. But, the animations used are fairly basic and after a while get very boring. This is helped by the game giving you the option to speed up the engagements by three however it would have been nice just to have some more interesting fighting animations. The game has that standard kind of RPG soundtrack to it which fits the game nicely but will not be getting your notice any time soon.
Overall the game is a great free to play mobile game for casual players and hard-core players. However with the lack of real depth in combat the game can get quite stale especially due to how limited each character is. But, with the impressive amount of depth in building your units up, there will be plenty a need to grind away for a hard-core player. The animated style works well and although the game can feel like it has a million loading screens these are not present when actually playing and doesn’t chew through your phones battery power. So, if you want to try a good anime-styled tactical RPG then this is a good game to buy. Oh, wait, it’s free!