Mobile RPGs are a quickly growing genre, with many entries recycling the same content in an attempt to artificially lengthen the grind (and often giving players an option to pay their way out of the grind). In a genre that’s so easily monetizable, it can be hard to find a game worth investing time into without hitting a wall where the game expects you to pay to progress (in fact, I played a game that did just that earlier this year that you can read about here). Fortunately, Xross Chronicle sidesteps this pitfall by making a game that rewards the player for their time and skill. Line Games have created the antithesis of the idea that free games have to be aggressively monetized, and it does a lot to distance itself from its competitors as a game I could see myself playing beyond the review process.
A Joy to Behold
Graphically, this game is a beauty. The wide roster of playable characters have both a 2D and 3D model. The 3D model is what you see in gameplay, and the 2D model is intended for cutscenes and their character screens. While 3D models are detailed enough to get the job done, the 2D versions of every character are gorgeous. Xross Chronicle’s art direction rarely falters, and the end result is an extremely clean and unique presentation. Voice acting and music is pretty solid across the board despite the fact there’s no English VA. Not something that bothers me, but that might be a turn-off to some.
In addition, this game’s combat has a certain cinematic flair. Every character has animations for their two abilities, as well as animations for Yokai Fusion (we’ll get into that later). The point is, rather than just staring at the same screen for the entire time, what’s going on in-game is presented in a way that makes it feel like there’s a lot going on at any given time. If you aren’t a fan of all the animations and camera stuff going on, everything can be turned off. Having some visual distinction going on is great for alleviating the feeling that comes with a grindy game. And, believe me, this game requires a massive time investment.
Hold the Line
Gameplay is simple on the surface. Your party of three runs from point A to point B, killing everything along with the way. Kill the boss at the end, go on to the next mission, rinse, repeat. However, that party of three is (kind of) a party of six. Yokai Fusion allows for a character to channel half another character’s stats, and take one of their abilities. Some characters have better synergy than others, but every character in the game can be human (your primary roster of three) or yokai (the backup) through training. This means there’s an unimaginable number of combinations for a team composition. Not only that, but the time in which you use your abilities matters in Xross Chronicle. Yes, the game can be left on autoplay. However, taking control of your characters can make or break clearing a mission against tougher enemies.
Dungeons add a nice bit of spice to the gameplay experience. Some dungeons allow you to farm for items and crafting materials, while other dungeons are full-on raid bosses. Forming a well-balanced team makes the challenging parts of this game much easier to get through. I usually went for a tank, a healer, and a DPS character for a well-rounded and durable team. However, this game has one big flaw: The PvP arena. Matchmaking is based on level within the arena mode rather than overall DPS. This means someone could never play arena, put dozens of hours into the game, and then completely obliterate your team. Considering that’s what happened about 70 percent of the time in my experience, the PvP arena is off-limits until late game. It’s a shame considering I liked the few even matches I was able to play.
Toss a Coin to Your Game Dev
Monetization is a hot topic when it comes to any “free” game, and we play free games free at Hardcore Droid. Fortunately, developer Line Games did a fantastic job at implementing fair and rewarding monetization options. To start, I was able to accrue over $100 worth of the in-game currency just for playing. Xross Chronicle rewards players for doing well in missions. Premium currency can be acquired through these rewards from every single story mission and dungeon. Additionally, the monetization that is present in Xross Chronicle has several layers. For instance, a lump sum of currency can be purchased for a flat cost, but there’s also an option to get over $400 worth of premium currency for around $30. The catch is that all that currency is tied to progression, so it rewards the player for getting further into the game’s huge pool of content.
The only blemish on the system is the abysmal drop rates for characters via the game’s loot boxes. The game’s highest rarity characters have a drop rate of 0.044 percent. That’s staggeringly low, even for a game that provides you with a ton of its own paid currency. The scarcity of these higher-tier characters puts a damper on the game’s large variety of combinations due to the infrequency of character drops. A player might just never get the character they want, which is a real shame. Regardless, there’s more than enough options within the game’s lower rarities to make viable team compositions. All of these elements combined make Xross Chronicle a hard-to-miss mobile RPG for those looking for a game that is a worthwhile time sink.
Is it Hardcore?
Xross Chronicle’s stylish presentation and gorgeous visuals pull you in, and the game’s surprising depth makes you stay. A great option for people looking to sink dozens of hours into an RPG.