The Best Gacha Games of 2022
Finding a new Gacha game capable of rivaling the titans that already dominate the industry like Genshin, Azur Lane, Arknights, Punishing Gray Raven.. is admittedly very difficult.
We approach every new release like we do every Gacha pull: With eager anticipation that we’ll get something new, something rare, and something worthwhile. And for the most part, we end up ultimately disappointed.
This is due to a multitude of reasons, but none more evident than the single fact that most developers just lack the creative talent to really captivate us.
Which is where this video comes in. I’ve played over 50 Gacha games this year alone, many for my “Worst Gacha Ever,” and I want to discuss what I believe the 10 best Gacha games are, in no particular order. Your opinion might differ, but these games have left a lasting impression on me due to the quality of their narrative, their gameplay, their voice acting or their generosity.
These are the best Gacha games of 2022. Games you can pick up and play immediately.
Path to Nowhere
I’m gonna start this off with a new release. It’s rare for new releases to truly excel – we’ve had quite a few this year: Artery Gear Fusion, CounterSide, Tower of Fantasy, that all look great but ultimately end up underwhelming.
That was not the case with Path to Nowhere. Initially considered to be an “ugly Arknights clone,” this game has proven time and time again over the last month that this game is so much more than a simple clone.
It has some of the best voice acting in a Gacha game I’ve seen up until this point, has a dark narrative with a lot of depth, interesting characters, decent Gacha, but most importantly? It gets very difficult.
This is a tactical RPG, so it has a very large focus on which units you deploy, how they interact with one another – and the stage itself, their respective strengths and weaknesses. Forethought is required, and that makes for a game that doesn’t allow you to just auto your way through it.
This is easily the best release this year based purely off of the cumulative total of all of its features.
Azur Lane really needs no introduction. When you google “hot Gacha Waifu’s,” the first several pages are literally all just Azur Lane characters. This game has garnered a reputation as “the cultured Waifu Gacha,” due to how they manage to walk the line between PG13 and 18+.
Admittedly, I didn’t think Azur Lane really had an exceptional storyline. I see some of you raising pitchforks into the air – relax. The story isn’t bad, I just feel as though they had less of a focus on it and instead opted to focus on other aspects.
This game is a shoot ’em up style game, where you deploy a unit of Waifu.. ships, yes, ships, that engage other.. Waifu.. ships in battle. And while the gameplay loop is fairly basic – your Waifu’s move horizontally while trying to sink the enemy battleships, the game gets progressively more difficult the more you play.
Azur Lane has one of the most fair Gacha systems, including the ability to upgrade your units. I spent a couple months playing the game and had no issue limit breaking my Waifu’s, increasing their potential, and upgrading their gear without paying a cent.
You don’t expect games to actually allow you to acquire everything for free.. but Azur Lane kinda does, and it’s a refreshing change of pace.
Blue Archive is a little more tricky to label as a game. It’s an RPG at its core, but its cast of Waifu’s are also all school students. So fans are often labeled in a certain.. way, that we’ll just kinda.. pretend is normal. hah.
Blue Archive has a more interesting type of gameplay to me. You can auto your way through the game, but having tried, even being tens of levels and having my gear upgraded significantly above the requirements of each stage, I found the auto-mode to be horrendous.
My characters would just run into AoEs, stand out in the open taking damage and just die, resulting in failure to 100% the mission. Thus, for the most part, you’re required to actively control your units, moving them around, utilizing their abilities at an ideal, opportune time.
And while I found the gameplay to be a little difficult at times, I thoroughly enjoyed it. As I did most the game. The Waifu’s look great in-game, animations looked fantastic, but I know one point of contention within the community is its horrible chibi graphics.
I’m not overly fond of them either, but I’m also not going to dislike a game purely based off of that.
Neural Cloud is the newest release included in this video, and actually took a lot of players by surprise. Much like Path to Nowhere, Neural Cloud is a tactical RPG. But it provides players a very different selection of mechanics, making the overall game feel distinctly different.
This game isn’t dark, and also lacks the same deep narrative as Path to Nowhere, but where it excels is its gameplay. Being able to control the flow of battle, use abilities that have a direct impact on allied and enemy units – like the ability to sweep them up in a tornado – making them immune to damage, or teleporting units around the field.
Every mission is a sequence of battles, split between trading posts, upgrade stations and rest stops. These allow you to customize your units – increasing their damage, their leech, their healing output. Neural Cloud is a game pretty much exclusively about its gameplay.
You’re going to be spending 99% of your time engaging in combat, or navigating the menus outside of the combat, preparing for combat. You don’t find many games like that – and those that do, often aren’t as complex and rewarding as Neural Cloud is.
Love or hate Genshin Impact, there’s no contesting the fact that this is easily one of the highest quality Gacha games on any platform, and more than that, the most beautiful, best playing open-world game on the entire mobile platform.
The story is good, getting progressively better with each major patch. Like, let’s be real. All of 1.x is pretty basic, but beginning 2.x the game really found its footing, and from what I’ve heard of 3.x, the game has really become something extraordinary.
Unlike.. pretty much every other Gacha available, Genshin Impact is a fully open-world RPG. You can see something in the distance? You can reach it. Climb it. And fight the monsters that’ll be scattered around it. That level of freedom isn’t found in ANY other Gacha game. Tower of Fantasy tried, but its world is just so much smaller in scale.
The voice acting is very good – in every language. Really aiding the game in captivating you and keeping you enthralled in the story playing out. Gameplay might be a little simpler than other action games like Punishing Gray Raven, but is in no way a hindrance, inhibiting your ability to pull off some crazy attacks.
Granted, there’s no real endgame so often you feel like you’re just repeating the same content while waiting for a new patch to drop.. but that’s why you never play a single Gacha exclusively, right?
Arknights is by far my favorite Gacha game. It helped me with my Fire Emblem obsession, and is the one single Gacha game I have not missed logging into since I started playing it earlier this year.
Everything about this game screams quality for a tactical RPG. The narrative is absolutely fantastic – and continues to be one of the few stories I manage to follow. The characters are gorgeous – both males and females, and don’t seem hyper-sexualized.
Gameplay is very difficult. So difficult that I often watch Eckogen for guides on how to complete the final stage of every new event. I like to think I’m good at strategy or tower defense games but evidently I’m not.
Every character has their own unique abilities, with quite a sizeable number of effects and functionality implemented. We have tanks, support, healers, DPS in the form of archers, mages, a hybrid of both, CCers, summoners, hybrid healer-summoners, hybrid tank healers. The combinations are limitless, and continue to be expanded upon.
And don’t even get me started on the events. They somehow continue to outdo themselves repeatedly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a diverse selection of events in any other Gacha game. When you look up the definition of “high quality Gacha games” on Google, there should be a picture of Arknights. Nothing more.
I know if given the opportunity, 110% of you would totally marry and.. y’know, engage in certain.. after hours activities with your Waifu’s. You’re all a bunch of degenerates after all, it kinda comes with the territory.
But Refantasia actually allows you to do this. You recruit Waifu’s – in all shapes and sizes. Like, some have tentacles. Some have 8 legs, or 8… uhh, well, other.. parts of their body.
The gameplay in Refantasia is actually incredibly basic, and you can pay to skip the combat all together. Which I did, because it honestly left me bored to tears. But the majority of the game took the form of a dating sim.
You’d raise affinity with your Waifu’s, you’d take them on dates, you’d have children with them, raise the children, marry them off to other kingdoms, securing alliances with them, continue to expand your harem, and rinse and repeat.
I never thought I’d ever include a dating sim in a list of “best games” of any type, but here we are. This game is just so absurd that I couldn’t drop it for 2 weeks.
Speaking of not dropping a game for several weeks, that was the case with NIKKE as well.
NIKKE tries to, and succeeds on multiple occasions to be one of the most perverse Gacha games I’ve played this year. But it handles it in a… well, more.. sophisticated way. And I know what you’re thinking. “Really, Stix? Sophisticated? You rammed your head into Anis’ rear and Rapunzel blew you while you were sleeping!”
.. to which I have nothing to defend myself with other than “they know their audience,” haha. NIKKE has set itself apart from other Gacha games by not only targeting a specific demographic of players, but by also providing a fantastic narrative that continues to get progressively more messed up the more you play through it.
It also has some of the best voice acting in the Gacha genre – tied with Path to Nowhere. Fantastic gameplay that is honestly too difficult at times, but if you tackle it casually like I do you shouldn’t run into too many problems.
It has had its fair share of issues recently with censorship, Tencent being Tencent, and… well, you can Google the problems if you’re really curious. But at its core? This is a fantastic game that is honestly a LOT of fun to play.
Rarely am I left with the impression that a Gacha game is pure art, but that is how I felt after having played Soul Tide. I’m gonna be honest – this game doesn’t truly excel in anything. It has an okay narrative. It utilizes turn-based combat.
Chapters consist of several missions, and missions consist of a selection of puzzles that you’re required to navigate. Sometimes consisting of a sequence of battles, other times they have you find items, artifacts, have you solve memory puzzles, RNG puzzles.
Honestly it’s a weird little game, but it left me continuing to push through stage after stage because I was curious what would happen next. This is a type of Gacha game I don’t often see – or, haven’t seen outside of Soul Tide, really. So it left me with a sense of curiosity.
The game felt like I was playing an interactive painting. It was beautiful. That’s really all I can say about it. You have to play it to fully grasp what I mean.
Punishing Gray Raven
Punishing Gray Raven is the uncontested king of action Gacha games. There is just no other Gacha game with combat as fluid or rewarding as the combat that is present within this game. And that’s it. That’s really all you need to say about Punishing Gray Raven.
You could realistically just end this segment there, and I’m sure a lot of you would immediately go and download the game, and trust me, you’d enjoy it because it’s just that good. But thankfully so much more is offered to players.
There is a narrative worth investing yourself in. Not of the same caliber as Path to Nowhere, Arknights or NIKKE, but far above average. The game is absolutely stunning, featuring some of the most stunning 3D character models you’ll find anywhere. A variety of different game modes, including multiplayer functionality, and cross-platform functionality.
But its selling point is how incredible the gameplay is. Every character feels so different to one another, which really leaves you feeling like the investment into obtaining them is worth it. They’re not reused assets, character models, fighting styles.
And the Gacha? Is one of the best in the genre. Obtaining characters is incredibly easy, and you’re actually rewarded for actively investing time and effort into the game.
And that’s it – what I believe are the 10 best Gacha games in 2022. We’re about to start a brand new year, with a lot of new upcoming Gacha games on the horizon.