AFK Arena – 2020 First Impressions and Thoughts

AFK Arena - 2020 First Impressions and Thoughts

This is the highest, probably most rated mobile game I’ve ever seen. Almost 2.3 million reviews so far? Holy– man, that’s actually ridiculous. Today, I’m hoping to find out why this is.
Now before we go any further, I do want to preface this by stating that the game is called “AFK Arena.” However, the game is far from an AFK game. I feel as though the title is actually a little disingenuous, as you’re required to do quite a bit in-game.

To start things off, we’re greeted with the history of the game. I’d skipped it initially because… well it was an accident, and I wasn’t going into this game with much, if any hope of it being any type of good.. but you know what? That just goes to show you don’t judge a book by its cover.
See, while there doesn’t seem to be any kind of story present in-game, there’s still very much a sense of progression, with a leveling system, tons of different types of gear to grind, lots of different heroes to obtain and various chapters to make your way through.
Much like the majority of Gacha RPGs, AFK Arena takes place with an overworld map, having players advance through the game via varying Chapters.
Each Chapter functions as a single-wave battle. There are 5 monsters, one of which is a boss-type, and you field 5 heroes to eliminate them, advancing you to the next Chapter.
Battles continue to scale and get increasingly more difficult the further you progress, and this is made very evident by the plethora of times I died because of the poor gear I had equipped on my characters.

Yes, gear is a very important part of AFK Arena. Without it, your characters will fail to live long enough to see the damage required to defeat your opponents.
But not only that, you have to individually level your characters with EXP you accumulate over the course of the game. This requires forethought, as I had leveled my mage first, and kept losing my frontline fighters to enemies, resulting in my mage repeatedly dying.
Yup, that was something I instantly regretted. But learn from my mistakes!
Combat is probably the only thing in the game that is “AFK-esque.” You need to choose which heroes you want to field in battle, and you need to make sure they’re adequately positioned, lest they get easily overrun.
Your heroes move horizontally to attack enemies, until none are left standing. You or the enemy. Your heroes have abilities which are learned over the course of leveling and can also be used within battle.

The game isn’t limited to chapter-related battles exclusively though. Not only are there quests you can fulfill daily, but there are various different instances you can run, there are several different game modes you can participate in, and – honestly, I found myself a little overwhelmed at times.
Which is never a bad thing in a mobile game, as all too often players find themselves with a lack of things to do other than repetitiously grinding Chapters.

Graphically, AFK Arena actually looks pretty good. It’s not Anime-esque or Eastern looking, which is something I’m surprised by, but it still has a very polished cartoonish vibe to it.
Character models, special effects, even environments in-battle all looked solid.
If I had to complain about anything in specific, it was that there wasn’t any story, but at the same time I think this is a game that is aimed more at letting you have fun building teams and watching how they fare against hordes of enemies.
I know there’s a market for games like that, and tackling it with that mentality, I actually kinda had fun.

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