Final Fantasy Record Keeper
- iOS, Android - F2P with in-app purchases. This is basically the only non-card game I play, and there's a lot to say.Basics
: This is an adventure game where you take parties of up to 5 characters from (at this point) all 14 FF games and Tactics into dungeons to get new characters, gear, and crafting materials for spells. It's completely single-player PvE, and there is a stamina system that affords a decent amount of play at the beginning. You start out as Tyro, an apprentice Keeper of an FF art gallery. Your mentor, Dr. Mog, has informed you that the paintings are being corrupted, and you need to enter them to root out the corruption. You do this by playing in ATB-style battles. You start out getting some of the more popular characters (Cloud, Kain, Wakka), and eventually get a deep roster for most games, including villains and notable NPCs like Sephiroth, Golbez, Gilgamesh, and Cid Raines. Characters are all either rezzed up or down to have 16-bit sprites from the FFIV-VI era. Tyro has completely average stats, but can use any type of weapon, spell, or ability. Every other character has a range of usable weapons and abilities, from very narrow, but powerful, characters like Lulu from X who can only use Black Magic to very open characters like Ramza from FFT who can use Combat, Ninja, Bard, Support, and Knight abilities.
If this interests you, or you love getting struck by the FF nostalgia bug, read on. If not, please skip my insane rambling! (I need to look into spoiler tags on the board).
: Playing consists of doing FF-style ATB battles against a hoard of FF enemies. You might be in an FFVII dungeon where you fight Blood Tastes before squaring off against Jenova DEATH, or an FFIV battle where you face the Four Fiends. They've played a little with the structure of the dungeons, but generally they consist of 2 battles of 3 trash waves, followed by a battle with 2 trash waves and the boss. Bosses have different weaknesses or conditions that can be exploited for extra medals at the end of a fight. If you get more than 1/3 of the medals in a battle, you're an Expert and get 150% XP for the battle, and if you get more than 2/3 of the medals you are a Champion and get 200% XP. Each dungeon has First-time rewards and Mastery rewards-getting overall 2/3 of the medals in the dungeon grants Mastery. Basically, if you enjoy FF turn-based combat, this is the game for you.
Characters can be assigned certain Abilities with limited uses, which can be honed using Orbs for more uses per dungeon. Rank 1 Cure has 4 uses per dungeon, but it can be honed to Rank 2 to gain 6 uses per dungeon, all the way up to Rank 5 with 12 uses per dungeon. Offensive abilities like Black Magic and Combat generally start with 2 uses and gain 2 additional uses per rank. Summons gain 1 use per rank, but are good ways to clear trash. Generally, you don't need to hone past Rank 3, unless it's an ability you use often or repeatedly. Orbs are rewards from dungeons.
Characters also have Soul Breaks, which are like Limit Breaks from VII or Overdrives from X. As you attack and take damage, your Soul Break gauge grows, and you can spend it to do special Soul Break attacks. 5* Relics may also grant additional Soul Breaks which are much more powerful.Economy
: There are four main currencies in the game: Stamina, Gil, Mythril, and Gems. Mythril and Gems are the standard free currency and paid currency, respectively, while Stamina is used to go into dungeons. Stamina refreshes at the rate of 1 every 3 minutes. When you collect 5 Stamina Shards, given as rewards from dungeons, you gain a point of Stamina and, most importantly, your Stamina refreshes. You can use this to "slingshot" yourself to longer play time, and in the early game your Stamina refreshes quickly through plentiful Shard rewards. You can also spend 1 Mythril or 100 Gems (basically $1) to fully refresh your Stamina and gain your leftover Stamina as a bonus (so you never "waste" any by refreshing with Mythril or Gems). Mythril is rewarded for daily logins and for completing dungeons, as well as often for apologies for bugs in the game. Gil is used to pay for Relic and Ability upgrades, and is rewarded for battles. There are also Gysahl Greens, Nightmare Records, Memory Crystals, Record Sphere Motes...but please, don't worry about those right now.
Items (called "Relics"): These are your weapons, armor, and accessories, and what you'll be spending the majority of your Mythril on. Because this is originally a Japanese game, its items are given out by random gachapon. Relics are ranked from 1* to 5*, and have levels based on that rank (basically 5 x the Rank). You can level up a Relic by feeding other items into it, or certain materials which give a better rate. Once an item is max level, it can be combined with another of the same item (any level) to increase its rank. Any item can be combined twice. For instance, you have a Level 1/5 1* Dagger (II). You feed some armor and weapons you don't need into it, to level it to Level 5/5, which increases its ATK. If you then find another Level 1/5 1* Dagger (II), you can combine that with your Level 5/5 Dagger (II) to create a Level 5/10 1*+ Dagger (II). This can be further leveled up to 10/10, then combined a second time with another Dagger (II) to become a 1*++. I think you see where I'm going with this.
Every day you get a free Relic Draw, which has a high chance of a 1* item, a small chance of a 2*, a very small chance of a 3*, a minuscule chance of a 4*, and an infinitesimal chance of a 5*. Seriously, bad rates on 3* and above
(in European format, yes, higher rate of 5* than 4*, but come on). These draws are great early on as you're filling your roster and looking for upgrade materials, but you will
have to spend Mythril on Relics. Of course, 4* and 5* Relics can be leveled and combined. There are psychos with lots of 5*++ (essentially 7*) weapons wandering around.
You can spend Mythril on Relics in the following ways: 5 Mythril for 1 gacha pull, 15 Mythril for 3 pulls, or 50 Mythril for 11 pulls. It doesn't take a genius to see that the best value is 50 Mythril, but it takes a while to acquire that. However, the Mythril pulls guarantee a 3* or better item, so starting off with a 3x pull isn't a bad idea. My first 3* item was some jobber spear that was streets ahead of any other weapon I got that turned Tyro or Kain into a wrecking ball. Relics also have Realm Synergy with dungeons in the game they come from, which gives an additional 10 Levels of stats. So a 20/20 Platinum Dagger (XII) has 57 ATK, but in a XII dungeon, it has 114 ATK (only coincidentally double), essentially a Level 30/30.
Events: There are special events in the game that are dungeons based on certain FF games. These dungeons give improved rewards, characters, and XP, but they give NO Stamina Shards. It's worthwhile to do some of the early stages of an event, though, as it will expand your roster and give 3* rewards. The early stages also give some Mythril.
Each event lasts for 2 weeks and has 2 gacha "banners" linked to it, which give improved rewards for that game's characters and dungeons. There is a new event every week, approximately, as well as Daily and Weekend special dungeons. Sunday Daily is greatly increased XP, Monday and Friday have Weapon and Armor upgrade materials that are more efficient at leveling Relics than other Relics, and Wednesday and Saturday Dailies offer greatly increased Gil rewards. Those are the most important dailies for early on-there are also Orb rewards, but concentrate on those 5 before you bother with Orbs.
F2P-ness*: Mythril comes pretty regularly, so you don't need to pay into the game to play it effectively. There are only a few ways to spend Mythril or Gems on the Orbs needed to get Ability uses, which is really what helps you get over the hump into harder content. I've bought my share of Gems-not enough to receive their "thank you for being a whale!"-type gift packages, mind you-but only because I'm enjoying the game and have some WoW budget I can spend. I have friends with better-paying jobs who spend WAYYYY more, and I'm only a little bit behind them.
*No, the pun is not lost on me. Come on.
Basically, this game is a great implementation of the FF ATB system, and it really hits all the nostalgia in me. I've bought at least 4 FF games based on the nostalgia from the dungeons and events. The game also only takes a small amount of time per day, though you can spend more if you want, since each Mythril you use on Stamina will net you 2-3.
There's also a friend code situation, where you can summon a friend and use their Soul Break twice per dungeon. If you do play, my code is GDyY. I'm currently rocking Sentinel's Grimoire, which is a unique and powerful defensive buff.