Blue Archives is the latest gacha craze from the developers of NAT Games (a subsidiary of publisher Nexon). The game joins the ranks of other gacha games to reach the west such as Genshin Impact, Arknights, and Azur Way.
Players can expect to try and collect and fund their favorite waifus as long as luck (or money) is on their side. But is Blue Archives worth the investment? How far will a player‘s money really go? Find out below in our review!
Developer: NAT Games
Platforms: Android (reviewed), iOS
Release date: February 4, 2021 (Japan), November 8, 2021 (Worldwide)
Price: Free (with microtransactions)
Blue Archives takes place in an academy city, or rather several academy cities all grouped together in a Tokyo-esque fusion called Kivotos. In this city, young girls with supernatural resilience attend classes and engage in regular firefights over resources.
Fortunately, such an outrageous precedent is more than enough to suspend disbelief. Some details are not said (from the first chapters of the game), but it is safe to assume that the power of the girls comes from the halo-shaped projections coming from the back of their head.
To clarify, don’t force yourself to worry too much about why girls are practically immortal and shoot each other for fun. Fortunately, what is missing in the construction of the world, the real story of the game tries to carry it.
In Blue Archives, the players take on the role of a faceless “sensei” (who is heavily implicated as being a man). Following the demise of the student council president, Sensei arrives in time to gain administrator access to Kivotos systems via an esoteric tablet with an AI companion.
With this new tablet and this new power, Sensei becomes the head of “Schale”, an after-school club founded on the principle of solving the problems that plague Kivotos. Schale is an intercollegiate club and thus students from all Kivotos academies can be recruited.
The overall story of Sensei and Schale follows the big issues facing individual academies, as well as ultimately trying to figure out what happened to the missing student council president. The first chapter wastes no time tackling these larger issues at stake.
In the first chapter, we are introduced to the last remaining students of Abydos, an academy on the edge of Kivotos that borders a desert (again, don’t worry). All but a handful of students have dropped out of Abydos because the school is heavily in debt; and the remaining students work hard every day to make at least the minimum payments.
However, the source of this debt is questionable at best and with Sensei, the students of Abydos uncover a plot that takes them to the wrong side of the city’s business and the black market.
Blue Archives sincerely tries to create a compelling story, which is not bad at all for a free mobage (it’s web talk for a mobile game). There are also side stories in addition to the main plot.
Some side stories are unlocked by owning enough characters and progressing through the main campaign. These stories tend to focus on the clubs as a whole. The other stories are more personalized and unlocked when you hit certain thresholds in your relationship with a character.
These personal side stories will also reward the player with animated backgrounds that they can have on the game’s home screen. These animated scenes are found in side stories and can allow players to be greeted by a scene. memorable with their favorite daughter; but keep in mind that not all girls have an animated background yet.
The in-game artwork doesn’t appear to be censored, but some Twitter users begged to differ. But that aside, the character designs are cute with girls ranging from a variety of archetypes, body shapes, and outfits. My favorite is probably Tsubaki.
So how do you get Waifus? The premium currency Pyroxene! But how far does Pyroxene go? Well, it takes 1,200 to make a draw of 10, and their most âprofitableâ plan is 6,600 for $ 79.99, so it’s 55 draws which to be honest at that price? It’s not really great.
However, this is offset by two things. First, these are two monthly plans that give you a total of 60 Pyroxene per day for around $ 12 per month. Which, yes, is only 1800, but you also get 3 ‘Bounty Tickets’ per day which are used for other upgrade materials. It’s not great, but it’s probably worth it.
The second thing is that Nexon is generous with the free Pyroxene. I would take this with some caution, the game was only released a little over a month ago at the time of this writing, so maybe they’re just trying to get people hooked. But right now you’re getting around 600 every time the game goes down for maintenance, 1200 at the start of every event or content patch, etc. things with the monthly subscription.
Now, when it comes to drawing students, for every 10 draw you are guaranteed to get a 2 star or better. Blue Archives Also usefully gives the ratings listed for pulling a particular student, and there is always an event going on with a greater chance of getting a particular 2-3 star. These special prints have 3 times more chances for the 2-star special unit and 7 times more chances for the 3-star special unitâ¦ compared to other units of the same rarity.
Does this sound confusing? It is easier to understand by looking at the numbers directly. But that means your chances of getting the special 3 star is 7 times higher than any other 3 star. But the overall odds of getting a three star seemingly remain unchanged. So what does this mean? 0.7% chance of getting Special 3 Star and 3% chance of getting Special 2 Star during an event.
Fortunately, with every draw you make, you get recruit points. It takes 200 recruiting points to âbuyâ one of the girls in the special event. Unfortunately, 200 is a tough target. That’s 24,000 Pyroxene. This mechanic is a last resort, a pity-coin if you sweep (a mobage term for someone who spends a lot of money) for this event girl.
These recruit points disappear at the end of each event and are exchanged for the weakest crafting material. It’s a huge disappointment that these recruit points aren’t being kept for characters that you might really want in the future, it’s a system designed to force players to either unconditionally or hopefully accumulate their Pyroxene. -the (from Nexon’s point of view), to spend a lot of money before the event girls ride their bikes.
In the end, spending money on Blue Archives is a personal choice, and in most cases not what I would recommend without disposable income.
So we know why we have the waifus, we know how to get the waifus. So after saving the best for last, what do we even do with waifus? Gameplay in Blue Archives takes place in two stages. The first stage is a hexagonal map where you move your units to meet other units or collect power-ups. The important thing is that it is an achievement to complete this phase in as few turns as possible.
The second and main step is combat. The players have a unit of six girls (four âattackersâ and two âsupportâ) who are sent on stage to fight. Battles are ultimately a kind of self-failure, and individual actions are largely uncontrollable. The exception lies in the ultimate capacities of girls.
The effective use of these ultimate products is bread and butter Blue Archives. Some ultimates deal damage, heal, or buff in an area of ââeffect. Others deal high damage to a single target or create debuffs. Others create covers or summon units like turrets or punch bags to distract enemies. Placing and timing these ultimates is the key to victory.
These ultimates can sometimes be used to maneuver allies out of large attacks or move enemies to a privileged position for an area of ââeffect. These moves become necessary on more difficult missions and are worth considering when selecting your team.
Ultimately, Blue Archives is a gacha with enough gameplay to entertain even the most demanding fans looking for difficulty. Of course, you can outdo yourself, but players with good team composition and ultimate use will be able to get a head start.
Being able to use your favorite girls and devote resources to their food is the greatest strength of Blue Archives. As long as the free Pyroxene continues to sink like it did in the month since launch, it’s worth checking out.