In these trying times that the dumpster fire of 2020 have become, one game has risen above the ashes and given me a glimmer of hope. Chinese developer MiHoYo has revived my candy crushed dreams of having full-featured and compelling games available in the palm of my hand with their recent September release of Genshin Impact (iOS, Android, PS4, Windows).
The overworld of the game is set in Teyvat, a “fantasy world where the seven elements flow and converge.” Players are immediately immersed into a beautifully rendered open world that gives me major Breath of the Wild vibes.
Initial gameplay involves taking down overworld monsters and collecting various plants, ingredients, and resources. The combat system is intuitive and well-adapted to a mobile touch platform. Story development is rapid and players quickly find themselves trying to figure out the mysteries of the realm. Characters are well-developed and full audio conversations greatly add to the overall experience. The party system is easy to navigate and switching between elemental characters during battle is very smooth.
With any free-to-play game, there are multiple areas to purchase rolls on new weapons or characters, but the most refreshing aspect of this game is that you are not constantly barraged by the request to do so. So far I haven’t had a single banner or pop-up ad or in-app purchase request. The game is wholly playable without needing to be constantly barraged to spend money. With a compelling story, immersive gameplay, and an overall high-quality user experience, Genshin Impact has me actually wanting to play a game on my phone for the first time in ages.
P.S. In case you were wondering, all the images in this post are direct screen shots from the game on my phone. Sorry Super Mario Run, thanks for letting me delete you and use the space for an actual game.