Title: Illusion Connect
Developer: Super Prism Games
Release Date: October 22, 2020
Reviewed On: iOS
Publisher: Super Prism Games
Genre: Tactical Gacha RPG
Waifu collectors are aplenty in today’s mobile marketplace, so I get how it can be difficult to determine which of them are actually worth the time and effort. In a genre that heavily pushes autoplay, I still want some variation or interactivity with my gachas. Thankfully, Illusion Connect, from Super Prism Games, fits that aspect to a tee.
Honestly, I don’t know whether to hate or love Illusion Connect’s story being as nonsensical and fragmented as it is. The translation isn’t great, but I can generally understand what’s going on. From what I gather, you’re basically a captain of these dream…warriors, if you will. They’re tasked with jumping into dreams and defeat monsters. From what I understand, these enemies manifest bad dreams before it destroys the real world.
The story hardly makes sense, let alone has any continuity, but I think that’s probably the best part. Each stage is almost set up as a “bad dream of the week” anime that the team has to fight. There’s an ongoing and overarching story across the chapters, which doesn’t make too much sense right now. Still, each chapter is awesome on its own, as separate stories. There are “side stories” in the form of dates and unlockable character bios to learn more about all the characters you collect. These date sequences with the girls were admittedly adorable, but don’t expect any harem endings.
Battles take place on a grid where you drop your team around the player character captain. The other side of the field will have the main enemy you need to dispatch, but not without cutting down the enemy soldiers placed on the field first. An energy meter fills up over time, and you can play certain units depending on their energy cost – similar to Clash Royale. Their main ability will activate after placing a unit, which can vary from buffs, debuffs, board wipe style attacks, row attacks, and more. A meter below each character’s health will gradually fill up with basic attacks for them to use their main ability again.
Each unit has specific roles, which are pretty easy to follow. Just set up a front line of tanks to protect your player character, use certain DPS characters to clear out high priority targets, have mages debuff the enemies’ defensive stats, etc. Your player character also participates in the battle, but his meter takes a bit longer to fill. Later on in the game, you can actually change the class of your player character, granting different abilities to use in fights.
Once you use up all your available units, you get access to buff and debuff cards to help close out the fight. There are auto-battle options if you want to speed through missions or farm materials. Still, it’s fun to actively play and experiment with different ways to approach each fight, especially during the later stages where fights become difficult. You’ll have to switch up your units and strategy depending on who you’re fighting.
Everything looks great visually, as well. The splash art of the characters is deserving of its own anime. On the field, your units appear as chibis, which show them as cute, but still badass, especially when activating their abilities followed by an impressive visual effect.
One of the main characters, Saya (who starts as an SR unit that can be leveled up to SSR), is one of the best designed “normal” characters in any gacha game. She doesn’t give off the typical serious samurai warrior vibe either but has a lovable tsundere side, making her more endearing. Her backstory, which you can unlock, makes Saya even more relatable than I originally anticipated.
Aside from the lengthy campaign, there are additional modes like guild bosses, various events, PVP, and even what feels like an entirely separate campaign where you run around a map to experience a standalone nonsensical story. You can build a base that provides resources and ways to develop your units.
This gacha is certainly one of the more generous ones I’ve played in recent months when it comes to in-game currency. I’ve essentially been able to draw a few top tier characters without too much trouble and get them to a decent level to progress through a major chunk of the story.
The game definitely gets challenging in the PVP options, guild battles, and late campaign stages. You’ll need to max-out characters with equipment to survive these moments. I wouldn’t necessarily consider a paywall, but rather a major time investment (as with any other RPG or MMORPG to beat late-game content).
What does worry me about the future of the game has to do with monetization. You’ll have the whales that’ll fund this game no matter what. But for the casual player, there aren’t too many options for me to occasionally drop money. You can power up units a ton throughout the game without having to pay much, which is fine.
You’ll only ever have problems dealing with actual whales in PVP who have fully decked out teams. It might be possible that this game might be giving too much to players. Whether it’s a good or bad thing, there’s a slew of content to keep players engaged for a long time. Hopefully, we’ll see some interesting collabs of other games or anime in the future with the potential to draw in more players and revenue for Illusion Connect.
Illusion Connect an engaging mobile gaming experience that rewards those who spend the most time playing. There’s always something to do, and rarely will you be locked out of events due to limited stamina. The gameplay isn’t the most innovative concept, but there’s an entertaining gameloop of character interaction and battles that make it easy to stay invested.
As a free-to-play mobile game, Illusion Connect checks all the right boxes for a quality gacha experience. There’s no pay-to-win systems that I can see and no shortage of content in sight for new scenarios and characters. If you’re trying to spend a lot of time in a mobile RPG, this is one game that you should check out.
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