Chain Chronicle – RPG
Role PlayingStrategyTower defence

Chain Chronicle – RPG

Probably the best-looking mobile Strategy-JRPG in a long while.

Chain Chronicle is a fantasy strategy RPG developed by Gumi Inc and published by SEGA. The game is available as a mobile game for both the IOS and Android platforms. The game describes it's battle system as a "line defense role-playing game" – a mix of real-time strategy and tower defense. This system, alongside with literally TONS of unique characters and five different classes will surely pique the interest of fans of JRPGs, tower defense, and strategy games. The game is free-to-play, requires constant internet connection and recommends downloading the whole game data for faster and smoother gameplay.

In the world of Yggra, where a menacing force called the Black Army has risen and started tearing through the land. The land's nations was banded together by the Holy King which unfortunately fell in battle after fighting the Black King. Without a King to lead them, the surviving nations and cities are held together by whatever forces and guilds remain. Players take the role of a lone captain who leads a "Volunteer Army" made up of various recruits, mercenaries, and guild members. The whole background story is cliched at best. However, before disappointment sets in, consider that this generic backstory gives players a platform where they can forge their own destiny as they defend key locations in the kingdom, and meet unique and interesting characters to add to their army.

Before we move on, let's talk about the game's "line defense" system. In the battlefield screen, the player's characters will be placed in a 3x3 grid on the right side of the screen. The barricade behind them is the actual defense line. The players' main goal is to prevent any enemies from breaking through the defense line.

The player's party can be composed of a maximum of four characters (and two "Sub" characters that will replace any fallen party member on the field), and a guest character. (Invited friend or random player before the battle starts) The enemies will arrive in waves from the left. Basically, characters will attack enemies on the same line as themselves. However, this doesn't restrict them from defending one line only. Characters can be moved on any line to reinforce their allies and gang up on a single target, especially bosses. Characters can also move to the left side of the field to attack ranged enemies like magicians, archers, and even healers. Enemies will continue moving towards the barricade and the only way to stop them on their tracks is to place a character in front of them. You can also change the game's speed or have the characters fight automatically.

The game has five classes which are color-coded and have their own icons that can be easily distinguished by players. The Knights are the tanks of the game. They have average attack power and high HP and defense. Their shields also lessens the damage they take from bows and magic attacks. Archers and Wizards are both long-range fighters. While archers deal long-ranged physical attacks, Wizards excel in long-ranged magic attacks. There are Wizards that don't have offensive special attacks. Some of them provide buffs and act as support characters. Soldiers have the highest attack power but they need to get up close to their targets to deal damage. Lastly, Clerics are the main healers in the game. They will automatically heal any allies near them.

The game follows a "rock-paper-scissors" battle system that applies to the game's five jobs or classes. Soldiers are effective against Knights, Knights are effective against Wizards and Archers, and they are in turn effective against Soldiers. Clerics don't have any offensive attacks so they're not included. With that in mind, your soldiers and knights should be in the frontline, your cleric somewhere in the middle, and your wizards and archers on the far end.

All characters have their own unique Special Attack. To be able to use Special Skills, you must have the corresponding Mana of the character's class. They are also color-coded and have the same emblem as the characters' class. At the start of every wave during a battle, a roulette will spin, containing different Mana icons. It will stop automatically or you can press Stop to stop the spin. The available Mana icons will depend on the jobs of the characters in your party. That said, it's impossible to get a green Cleric Mana if you don't have a Cleric deployed on the field. Additionally, Pirika will deliver a random mana icon during a boss battle.

Special Skills usually consume one Mana icon though some more powerful skills consume more. That said, you can't use a SP Skill if you don't have enough mana icons. You can opt to save your mana icons every wave/turn but take note that you can only store 8 mana icons at a time. Further Mana gained will be wasted. If you have a guest character, you won't be able to trigger his/her Special Skill unless that character is owned by a friend. Also, using different types of Special Skills consecutively forms a "chain" or combo that increases the skill's power. This chain is broken if you used the same skill consecutively or within the same set.

After the battle, all characters in the main or sub-party will receive experience points and Gold. The EXP point you gained is equally distributed to your characters and will also count towards your rank. Increasing your rank fully restores your AP, cost limit, max number of friends, max AP and many more. Characters only have HP and Attack so when they level up, these two stats increase as well. There are also additional rewards, like the contents of chests dropped by enemies during the battle (there are three types of chests. Better chests contain better items), and quest completion rewards. Gold is used for Enhancing your characters (we will tackle more of that later). Also, there are three special conditions that can increase your gold bonus: Time Bonus (awarded if you finish a battle as fast as you can), No Casualties Bonus (you didn't lose any character), and Special Finish Bonus (your finishing blow is a Special Skill).

The game takes players in an overworld map with fixed paths leading to different key locations. These routes are unlocked as you proceed with the story and clear battles along the route. Every battle consume AP, which is recovered automatically over time (1 AP recovered every 8 minutes). AP can be fully restored by ranking up. Additionally, you'll also have a Soul counter. The three soul counters are also recovered over time and only consumed when you're fighting demons.

Demons are special enemies that appear randomly and every time you defeat them, they get stronger. Spending one Soul Counter will allow you to fight the demon for 90 seconds while spending all three will give you 200 seconds of fighting time. Demon battles consists only of three waves and even if you didn't manage to defeat it within the time limit, you can attempt again, provided that demon's counter doesn't expire yet. The damage you've done to the demon is permanent during that encounter so you can continue where you left off on your succeeding attempts. Furthermore, you can ask for assistance from some of your friends.

To recruit new party members, you have to get their Arcana. These are character cards that you can get by spending Prysma and various coins in the Tavern. You can also get them as battle rewards. Arcanas have different rarities which are identified by the number of stars. Basic Arcana cards have one star while rarer cards have more cards (with undoubtedly better stats and skills). Take note that you have a default limit of 40 Arcana. You can further increase this limit by spending Prysma.

The game has a lot of different currencies. Prysma is the game's premium currency which can be used in a variety of things. You can spend 50 Prysma to summon a sure rare card, with a chance to get even rarer ones. This can be used to restore increase the Arcana Limit, continue from a Game Over, and many more. Prysma is acquired through quest rewards, daily login rewards, and completing character side stories.

Arcana Coin are blue coins acquired as battle rewards. They can be used to perform normal recruitment or procurement of basic Arcanas. Additionally, you can collect Demon Coins (awarded for defeating Demons), Honor Tokens (acquired from the Gauntlet), and Fortune Rings (mainly acquired by selling Rare Arcanas above).

With the game's large variety of characters, micro-managing them would be a nightmare. Fortunately, you don't have to worry about their individual skills and equipment. However, you can make them more powerful by Enhancing. Basically, this is like "feeding" the Arcana with unused Arcanas or Enhancers. Enhancers are cards that boosts the experience of the base card it was applied to. Enhancers have job emblems too. Using an enhancer on a character with the same job will give 100% experience (based on the Enhancer card level) while using a different enhancer job class will only give 80%.

If you use the same arcana card as the base, (exact copy of the character), you'll be able to perform a Limit Break on that character, up to five times. Aside from gaining high amount of exp, the base arcana's max level is also increased. However, basic arcana can only grow so much.

The game boasts around 250 unique characters as of the time of writing this review. So how do you keep players from getting bored from having such a wide selection? Simply by making them unique. Each character has their own skills, personality, and backstory. These are not just backstories you'll lazily read as flavor text or profile descriptions – but actual missions and dialogue screens. Some characters unlock their unique skill after completing their side story, some get even more powerful as you level them up and grow fond of them. The wide selection also gives players a chance to form their preferred party and stick to it until they get even more powerful arcana. This gives the characters individuality, and not just make them appear as generic, expendable peons.

Now let's move on the game's visuals. As a fan of JRPG games, I can say that the character illustrations are stunning. They're professionally designed, and you can appreciate the effort done in making the individual characters. The story "scenes" are laid out similar to Japanese visual novels. The overworld map is simple but the background and backgrounds of the locations looks good as well. The actual miniature character models who take part in the battles are very detailed, their animation and even the visual effects are all very smooth. The game's menu, layout, even the simple color-coding and emblem assignment for arcanas, enhancements, and more complement the game's JRPG-sque design.

The background music is mesmerizing, not to mention that the characters have indivitual voiced lines as well. Though the actual dialogues are not voiced (it will be one hell of a production with all the characters featured in the game), players will be immersed by the perfect combination of sound effects, BGM, transitions, and character designs that work hand-in-hand.

The game is free to play, with constant internet connection needed. There game is devoid of any ads though there will be very minimal instances that you'll see an offer. The game also allows players to link their FB profile so they can easily switch their data when necessary. The game's overall presentation and design is already of a premium title already. There are microtransactions though these are entirely optional. The game offers a lot of alternatives (albeit harder and requires a streak of luck) to gain premium currencies and rare arcanas. New players won't immediately notice the restriction of having limited AP since they can rank up quickly but this will become a burden to high ranking players since they'll have to wait for their AP to be replenished.

Chain Chronicle is quite addicting as it is. SEGA and Gumi has revealed that there's a lot more instore for this amazing mobile game. Though some players will be turned off by the limitations (especially the AP and requirements to gain access to high ranking arcana), don't let this discourage you. Give the game a spin and see for yourself. As it is now, Chain Chronicle is already a part of my main game library for my tablet.

4.6 / 5.0
review by vhayste | Apr 14th 2015

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