Spring is here, and even though the weather has been warm and bright, the rainy days and allergies have taken their toll on me. Like many others, I find myself locked away in my house more often because my sinuses are out of control. Then when the rain arrives, it becomes cold. It can be a bit frustrating being cooped up.
Which is where my love for games come in. I find myself downloading as many free games available on the iTunes store as I can, trying to figure out which ones will keep me entertained until the weather improves.
I later narrowed it down to anime games and further narrowed it down to four free anime-related apps that any fan of anime should be playing right now.
Bleach: Brave Souls
Based on the anime Bleach, Bleach: Brave Souls is an action based game where players will collect various characters–such as Ichigo, his sister Karin, Grimmjow and even Byakuya–then assemble teams and run through the storyline up until the Arrancar plot. Various events are also available for players to run through if players have completed the available storylines. As gameplay progresses and spirit orbs are obtained, a random (or several depending on how many spirit orbs collected) character will be unlocked. 157 characters are currently accessible and many are available across multiple rarities–thus allowing you to play with a full team of Ichigo’s if you wish to.
Bleach: Brave Souls is a freemium game, but what’s amazing is that you don’t have to pay to get spirit orbs and unlock characters. Plenty of orbs are available through various events, milestones (such as one million players) and storylines–the one time I put money down for spirit orbs was during the White Day event when I hoped to score a special Shuhei Hisagi (instead I managed to score a very rare Toshiro). Never have I felt the need to lay my cash down to see what I could get.
The graphics for Bleach: Brave Souls are good, and the battle system is easy to use. Players can compete in the Battles area to raise their rank, gain medals and spend their medals on special downloadable (and sickeningly strong) characters. The game gives players the option to skip over cutscenes if they have prior knowledge of the story, and yet gives newcomers to the franchise a taste of the world millions love.
Tales of Link
While not based on an anime, the Tales of series has had its share of anime adaptions–such as Tales of the Abyss and Tales of Vesperia: the First Strike. Tales of Link features several popular Tales characters that be summoned to fight for you. In Link, you play as an amnesiac savior who ventures on a quest with a young girl named Sara and the sprite Lippy to deal the seeds of ruin. Gamers must assemble teams of nine heroes–such as Milla from Xillia and Luke from Abyss– and take on quests and gain items (or characters) that will help you along. The battle system is fairly simple–heroes will populate a 3×3 grid, then players must link the heroes together with a certain marker (such as a triangle, or circle) to deal damage. Heroes later in the link dealing increased damage, or the symbol may do something special.
The graphics are true to what a Tales game should be–simple yet beautiful. Hero Stones (needed to unlock characters) are readily available, so no money has to really be put down, though the option is out there. While Tales of Link has characters from previous games available and it gives the idea that you have to be familiar with the previous ones in order to enjoy it, that’s not the case. Having only played one Tales game, I find it enjoyable and it makes me far more curious about the ones I’ve missed.
Love Live! School Idol Festival
Somewhere along the way, anime idols took their place front and centre in the anime world. In Love Live! School Idol Festival, players must manage the school idol group “u’s” (Muse) from the anime and help them by putting on performances by tapping the screen in time to the music the girls sing. Numerous songs are available to unlock, and players must form their own idol group from various available cards, including the group from the main series. As players go through the game, girls can be unlocked and should you acquire two of the same member, they become idolized with cuter costumes. Side quests are available and the characters are fully voiced.
As of this writing, love gems–items used to unlock cards–are more readily available, though some may feel inclined to spend money to unlock a card they truly want. The game has an addictive charm to it, making you want to keep playing in hopes of unlocking the coolest characters available, all while enjoying the songs played. Daily goals are available which give rewards for achievements and events happen on a regular basis with unique card available.
It’s truly an enjoyable, game but can feel like a cash grab if you really want a particular card.
Kingdom Hearts Unchained X
In the eighth installment to the Kingdom Hearts series, players navigate through several Disney-inspired worlds, such as Agrabah and Wonderland using their custom avatars. Clothing, hairstyles and keyblades will be unlocked as players complete quests with outfits harkening to pieces that Sora, Riku and several other characters have worn. The game is extremely friendly to newcomers, so for those wanting the Kingdom Hearts experience but afraid to jump in with so much material available, can breathe easy. Yet it also doubles as part of the storyline for those wanting more–the game is set 100 years before the first Kingdom Hearts game, taking place before the Keyblade War. Players will join a faction led by one of the Keyblade Masters, and fight for control of the Light. The game is said to share a strong connection to the next installment, Kingdom Hearts III.
The game-style is very similar to Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, however instead of using cards, players will have access to medals which can be leveled up for unique effects. For example: Tinkerbell (Peter Pan) does not have a strong attack but she can heal the player, then follow up with an attack. The graphics are not similar to the previous games–but in fairness, it would eat up a great deal of memory if they were. The graphics in Unchained are charming and have a storybook quality to them, which makes them lovable to all. Players will fight enemies, take down bosses and even participate in multiplayer competition.
It’s a fun way to spend time. Avatar customization and medal collecting is addictive and while we visit worlds that have already been visited, the graphic style makes them feel fresh.