ARPGs — or action role-playing games — are a fantastic genre, including such greats as the Diablo series. Though the term is technically ambiguous, the other meaning being used to describe an RPG with a focus on live-action combat (think Dark Souls), traditional ARPGs have been around for a very long time. Though the Diablo franchise is considered by many to be the king of the genre, they have been many greats that I daresay equal, or surpass, Blizzard's offering, such as Titan Quest and Grim Dawn.
And while we have Titan Quest on Android — a mostly solid port, in my opinion — my new mobile ARPG of choice is Anima (stylized as "AnimA"), a straight-up Diablo clone that isn't afraid to admit it. Even the font is extremely similar, if not outright the same, as the iconic one found in Blizzard's hit franchise.
To be honest, the story for Anima doesn't matter all that much to me. Sure, it keeps me slightly interested as I go on, but the real draw of an ARPG is the loot. Oh boy, the loot; it's why I poured hundreds of hours into Diablo II and Titan Quest back in the day and why I continue to come back to Grim Dawn nearly every day when I have a few minutes of free time between jobs and assignments.
Anima's controls are fantastic, the graphics just good enough that it doesn't look terrible on a larger screen, and it doesn't cost you anything to jump in and get started collecting loot. Yes, that means it's free-to-play and yes, that means it has microtransactions. However, not only is the game good enough that I don't mind (similar to the effect that Warframe and Path of Exile have), but I haven't noticed the microtransactions getting in my way of playing. You can pay $0.99 to unlock three more character slots, two additional inventory tabs, and a weapon upgrade. There are other purchases, too, like dungeon keys and a skill reset item.
Since Anima taps into Google Play Games, you get cloud saves so you can jump between devices at will. So when I'm home, I use my gaming phone and when I'm out, say standing in line at a store because they're limiting the number of people who can enter, I can hop right in and play. While by no means unique to Anima, it is something I greatly appreciate since not all developers choose to use this feature.
I can waste so many hours in Anima, it's not even funny. Most mobile games, I'm highly aware of the time since they don't tend to draw me in as much as those on my PC, but Anima is one of the few that grasps my attention so thoroughly that I lose track of time. I guess the nostalgia for Diablo II carries me away.
So if you like ARPGs, whether from back in the day or from more recent times, Anima is a game you should check out. Though I would have preferred a premium title, paying several dollars upfront for an experience free of microtransactions, Anima handles its in-app purchases quite well, I'd say. So go on, give it a shot and get lootin'.
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