Over the past few weeks, I’ve been playing a certain game called Ash Arms. However, it’s not played on PC or console like most games are. Instead, it’s a mobile game and today I want to take some time to talk about it.
First what exactly is Ash Arms? The closest comparison I think of is a tactical turn based RPG. However, it’s a far stretch from having all the features of one. Instead, it’s better to think of Ash Arms as a game similar to Pokemon, and it only borrows some aspect from tactical turn based RPGs. Rather than a full map, there is instead only eight columns to move your units around. What this means is that you can only move units left and right, which is pretty limiting. The other important detail to note, is that there are two of these maps stacked on top of each other at once. The reason for this is because the game revolves around tanks and aircraft. One map represents the ground while the other is the air. Instead of thinking too deeply about it, just imagine playing two of these eight column games at once. The only thing that connect these two games are that sometimes units can attack over into another game and your turns are linked together. All in all, it’s the weirdest kind of turn based game I’ve ever scene. However, it’s still a creative way to integrate both tanks and aircraft into one game.
This leads me to my next talking point, units. Like I said before, the game revolves around military assets without warships. However, these might not be the tanks and planes some are familiar with. Ash Arms uses an anime art style with cute girls representing these vehicles. It’s a popular trend in Japanese games and other media with some other examples being Kancolle, Azure Lane, Girl Frontline, Girls und Panzer, and Strike Witches. However, this topic is deep enough on its own and can easily be its own blog. I just wanted to touch upon the art style used as some might not understand the concept.
Unfortunately, what I can’t touch upon deeply is the plot. Normally, I would make it a point to talk about the plot, as I really enjoy a good story. However, I can’t make heads or tails of Ash Arms plot as it’s all in Japanese and there is no translation. With the pictures in the background, you can infer there is a war against some sort of aliens or machines gone rogue. Regardless, after the first few scenes I made it a point to skip all future ones.
Like most people who pick up a Japanese mobile game, it’s for the gameplay, art, and gatcha, not so much the story. Which leads me to my next point, the gatcha. If you’re unfamiliar to the term, it is the eastern equivalent to loot boxes and a light form of gambling. In most turn based mobile games or any game that includes a form of units, they use a gatcha to have you obtain more. From a business stand point, it makes sense as it’s the easiest way to extort money out of the player but I digress. Some players don’t like this concept of obtaining new units but I don’t particular mind. Compared to other gatcha games, Ash Arms odds lean towards the more lenient side of things. In the beginning at least, it’s easy to collect the currency needed to roll for new units, and five precent odds of a rare unit are pretty good. In comparison, some games have the odds at one precent for a rare unit, or make rolling for new units extremely hard. However, from what I hear, rare units are almost a necessity to progress and no matter the odds, that’s never good. I guess only time will tell if that is true.
Overall, Ash Arms takes familiar concepts to me and turn them on their head. The gameplay is not quite simple but not overly complex either, the art is familiar but taken in a completely different direction than what I’m used too, and the gatcha is surprisingly lenient. All in all, Ash Arms is a great game and I can only hope for a global release someday.