Mobile games aren’t really known for offering deep character narratives or story arcs. Still, developer Cygames doesn’t seem to care much about that statement with their approach to developing games for the platform. In their title, Princess Connect! Re:Dive, players can experience some exceptionally straightforward moments of action, emphasizing the characters and party customization.
Throughout my first 5 hours of Princess Connect! Re:Dive, I realized that I actually did minimal “playing.” In fact, the matches seemed to be decided while on the loading screen of the missions. While referred to as an action RPG, the five-person party system acts on their own, with the player merely deciding when to use a characters’ special, which can also be automated. It took a second to understand why I was having so much fun with this, and that’s when I realized that it was the characters themselves that kept me invested.
Typically in gacha mobile games, I’ll roll for the strongest characters, create a party, and make my way through the campaign without changing them much. However, Princess Connect! Re:Dive flips the script on this by focusing on each of these playable characters’ unique character arcs. Yet, these arcs are only unlocked while using them in battle, meaning you are rewarded for experimenting with different party loadouts.
Princess Connect! Re:Dive features a main campaign with some gorgeously animated scenes between characters. Further, each character has their own side events and bonding events that are unlocked as you level up as a player, which allows them to level up to match your highest level. As new scenes are unlocked, players can sit back and enjoy some visual novel scenarios between characters to learn more about them.
This system encourages you to unlock as many characters as possible, if only to see what they each bring to the party. Characters come in a few different standard classes, such as tanks, magic users, and healers, but the battles aren’t won by overloading your party with DPS characters. I quickly had to adjust my characters a few times because, as I said before, the battles are automated to the point where if you lose once, you’ll lose again unless you change something about the team.
Aside from changing their party, players can equip characters, which allows them to rank up. This increases HP and other stats as well as gives them access to new skills and equipment. It’s easy to get sucked into the entire experience because the developer made everything so seamless. They provide roadmaps to the locations of equipment and easy access to all essential systems.
With all this said, players are required to invest themselves in this world. You’re expected to play if only to unlock more story missions and equipment, but if you’re not into that, then you probably won’t find the appeal of it all. I personally enjoyed the quality character designs, and the hands-off battle system is only to see where the story takes me.
On that note, I did notice that one of the earlier animated scenes was altered with steam covering a bathing character. I typically wouldn’t care about this too much, but given that these scenes are of such high quality, I was left confused why they would decide to obscure them in any way. Outside of that, I haven’t seen any changes and the character illustrations that I was able to pull are unchanged as well.
Princess Connect! Re:Dive is an entertaining and very addictive game that provides a way to unlock a batch of story content across multiple missions and then spend a few hours just watching scenes with your favorite waifus. The battle system relies on players creating various five-person parties and actively equipping their characters as they make their way through the campaign. With its western release, I can see this being a mobile game that I will return to often.
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