Seek Hazardous Adventures
Masketeers: Idle Has Fallen by Appxplore is a strange beast. And I’ll get straight to the point: I’m not a fan. I do, however, appreciate what the developers tried to accomplish with this RPG-lite idle game. They clearly hoped to revamp the standard idle gacha titles that currently flood the mobile game market. And while they succeeded somewhat in their goal, they unfortunately simultaneously failed to make it very fun.
The game begins with our protagonist, Caine, on the roof of a building and contemplating taking a wingless flight. However, a mysterious entity interrupts him and inexplicably hands him a mask, which Caine dons without question. If some footless floating figure appeared in front of you and wordlessly gave you a mask, would you ask no questions? Would you put on this odd piece of attire without first indulging in a bit of inquiry? Granted, the mask is kind of cute, but even so…
Nevertheless, when Caine puts the mask on, he instantly transforms into a being somewhat resembling his visitor—who poofs out of existence and is never seen again. Our melancholy protagonist immediately notices that he can now see terrifying shadow creatures, intent on attacking him. Again, without question, he jumps into the fray. And thus begins Masketeers.
Run the Gauntlet
Masketeers is an endless combat gauntlet. It never ceases, and it’s designed that way. Wave after wave, enemies come at you relentlessly. When you go into menus, while you customize and upgrade your characters, as you browse the in-game stores, combat continues in the background. It truly is an idle game and can play entirely without your input. It’s a little off-putting at first, but you soon become accustomed to it. You realize that there’s no need to rush through the menus to get back into the brawl. Your group of masketeers will do just fine without you.
Each wave of combat is called a stage. After completing a set number of stages, you reach a Milestone that earns you a one-time gift. It might be something simple like a new mask for one of your party members, a wooden chest with a few goodies in it, or even a new masketeer. These milestones can be tracked through an in-game menu, and I scrolled all the way up to combat stage 4000 before I lost interest. I knew I would never play that long.
A Dash of RPG
To keep the game from being little more than a not-very-interesting combat movie, Appxplore padded the gameplay with all kinds of nonsensical and confusing tasks and upgrades. Honestly, the specifics of most of them flew right out of my brain after their extremely brief and vague introductions. If I could have gotten more excited about them, perhaps I’d have enjoyed the game more. But to me, it just felt like busy work to mask the absence of real content.
Gameplay starts off straightforward. First you have the typical RPG-style character upgrades. As Caine does battle, he is joined by other masketeers, each with a specific class such as defender, tank or attacker. Every member of the party has their own skill tree that can be upgraded using Sparks. You earn these by defeating enemies, watching ads, or clicking on little koi fish that caper across the screen.
While playing, you will earn new masks that bestow different bonuses like increased dodge rate, reduced revive time, or adding fire to attacks. Each masketeer also has three slots for runes of different shapes and colors. Runes provide further perks such as increasing team damage, improving team health, or upping the number of Sparks that drop. You can fuse runes together to increase their power, and masks can also be upgraded using a currency called Dust. You obtain this by logging in, dismantling unwanted masks, or occasionally by watching ads. Simple enough, right?
Transcend Guardian Charms Into Relic Crystals With Arcanas?
Well, that’s where the simplicity ends. You will also earn things called Arcanas, which you seemingly can Transcend using Crystals, another type of currency. I don’t know what Arcanas are or what Transcending them does, but I’d randomly receive new ones for unknown reasons. Upon opening the Transcendence menu, I learned I needed two additional currencies that I hadn’t even realized I’d been earning and had no idea how to get more of.
In the same menu as the Arcanas, but seemingly unrelated to them, are Charms. These unlock as you progress through combat stages. Charms grant perks like doubling Orb spawn speed for a limited time or showering you with massive amounts of Sparks. What are Orbs, you ask? I’m not sure, but I think it’s the word used for the masketeers’ combat abilities.
Let’s move on to the Guardians, who must be leveled up like members of your party but for exorbitant amounts of Sparks. Guardians increase team damage, health, crit, and Spark drop rate. They also have a tier list of Blessings that I assume unlock as you increase the Guardian’s level. Blessings confer additional bonuses to the masketeers’ abilities. I never progressed far enough to unlock any, despite plugging a decent amount of Sparks into them.
In another menu, you will find Cores, which are little floating entities that can be hatched every four hours. Then there’s Relics that you discover…somehow. These also can be leveled up, using one of the currencies that I don’t know how to earn. Like everything else in the game—masks, runes, Arcanas, Guardians, Charms—Cores and Relics provide advantages like doubling the number of koi fish on the screen, increasing dodge chance, and so on.
I’m Sure You’re Very Nice…
All of that, and I didn’t even get into the combat mechanics, the Fortune Cat, the limited-time themed minigames, the quests that reward yet another currency type, the in-game store, or the constant prompts to watch ads. But I think you get the picture.
Masketeers started off with a unique premise and showed potential. If it had stopped at leveling up party members, unlocking skills, and upgrading masks and runes, it might have sucked me in for a little while. But there’s too much tossed in. It’s almost as if the devs hope we won’t notice the lack of depth if they throw fistfuls of meaningless content at us. The failure here is that much more disappointing because it was so unnecessary.
Is It Hardcore?
Masketeers tries to break the mold of the standard idle gacha game. Unfortunately, it doesn’t succeed.