WonderPlanet's latest puzzle JRPG release, Alice Fiction, might be easy to overlook as just another gacha game in a market saturated by them. That could not be further from the truth, and here are four reasons for why you should be excited to try it.
A thought-provoking story
Every gamer at some point thought it would be cool to have a fully immersive VR world. That is the basis of the story of Alice Fiction. In this background, Alice's metaverse can replace the real world. ALICE is a place where you can work, go to school, and experience food in real life. But what if the controlling AI goes out of control?
Upon logging in, the game's protagonist is marked as a virus by the Queen, the AI ruler of ALICE, and their data is thus deleted. When they get to ALICE, they meet a girl who claims to be their sister, then attacked by Broken Data, who goes wild and takes the girl away. Immersed in a whirlpool of lost memories and mysterious characters, can you really trust what someone says?
Intense high-speed gameplay
Every round of combat is an exciting and bewildering affair. When a team of four characters face off against an enemy, the player must break as many panels as possible to deal damage on the enemy. When you defeat one, a powerful skill panel appears. Breaking it will unleash a powerful attack.
The basics are easy to grasp, but the tactical possibilities go deeper. If you manage to break the Skill Panel next to two more panels of the same color, it will help you upgrade even more. As the board continues between rounds, do you go for fast damage? Or sacrifice a round of less damage to set a big score for the next round? These are decisions made in a race against time. A simple system in theory, but it keeps every round engaging and like a challenge.
The protagonist gains the skill to summon help from a huge cast of characters to fight battles for them. Whilst a few of these are characters from the story who are interesting in their own right, most of them are known as Folklore. In-game lore explains that a Folklore is born in ALICE out of various stories of both non-fictional and fictional people from all over the world, and recreating them in their universe to aid whoever contracts them.
WonderPlanet drew inspiration from many cultures to create these characters. From folk tales like Lancelot, the Arthurian Knight of the Round Table, to Musashi Miyamoto, the legendary Japanese swordsman, there are countless fascinating legends to uncover. Also, quite interestingly, WonderPlanet redesigned a lot of these characters to fit the anime world, so while you might expect Greek mathematician Archimedes to be a wise old man, it is. A young woman rides a mechanized turret and shoots enemies with alternate currents. Naturally.
An audiovisual treat
While design deviations can be an amusing thing, humor is an important part of Alice Fiction's story and characters, which doesn't mean the art style is bad, far from it. with it. The designs of all the characters I've come across are great, and the combat graphics are incredibly engaging. Each character is presented as a chibi version of themselves, unleashing lightning attacks on equally attractive enemies in the context of an interesting VFX scene. The collision skills for the 3-star base characters also come with their own elaborate videos, all of which are incredibly beautiful to watch.
In addition to this feast for the senses, the in-game music is amazing. The sound overall is pretty good, especially the voice acting, but the music really stands out. From the initial introduction to the game, to booting up to the title screen, the music is so catchy that I immediately wanted to hear more of it.
Alice Fiction launched world wide for iOS and Android and can be downloaded right now on MuMu for free. Try it!