Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: Genshin Impact is a fantastic action-RPG that feels right at home on mobile, but its lack of controller support and level-gated quests drag it down.
Addicting gameplay loop
Interesting characters and world
Touch controls are decent
No controller support
Why you can trust Android Central
Genshin Impact was an instant hit when it released in September 2020 and has since become ever more popular. With consistent updates adding seasonal events and new content, developer miHoYo struck gold, creating an evolving universe that allows players to jump in at any point and get in on the action.
While it's available on consoles and PC, it can also be played on mobile devices. It's one of the best Android games you can get today, and it's entirely free-to-play (aside from some optional microtransactions you can buy into with the title's gacha system).
Journeying through the fantasy world has its downsides, though. As fun as Genshin Impact can be, there are a few things you'll want to know about the Android version before you download it.
Genshin Impact: What's good
|Android 5.0 and up
What surprised me about Genshin Impact on Android was actually how decent the touch controls are. I normally hate touch controls, but Genshin Impact's don't make me want to pull my hair out. The controls are responsive enough that you can easily keep up with other people on PC or PlayStation via cross-play. It definitely takes some time to get used to them, though, especially if you're used to a controller. I still think a controller would be far superior, but Genshin Impact only supports touch controls on Android at the moment.
It's important to note that I was playing on a Samsung Galaxy S10 as well, and you'll probably have more luck with its touch controls if you're on a larger tablet. For smaller phones, the touch controls could be more difficult to use properly.
The world of Teyvat continues to grow, but the regions it has so far (Liyue and Mondstadt, with Inazuma inbound) offer diverse environments and enemies that keep gameplay fresh, and there are plenty of hidden mysteries to uncover that keep you exploring for hours on end. That said, I've played enough — at least on the PlayStation version — that I'm itching for new regions. Seasonal events are nice, but they're not always enough to tide me over.
One of the best parts about Genshin Impact, though, is its cast of characters. There are dozens of playable characters you can unlock that each have their own unique abilities. You'll need these because certain elements are better against particular enemies. Mixing and matching your four-player party is the key to success. Unlocking some of these characters through the game's gacha mechanics can be frustrating, but it's also one of the few games where I felt it was worth spending money on microtransactions.
Between the world and its characters, you'll easily fall in love with Genshin Impact. Every time I pick up a controller or my phone to play it, it's hard to put back down. And it incentivizes players to check back each day for extra goodies and rewards that can be used to unlock new characters and gear.
Genshin Impact: What's not good
Genshin Impact not supporting controller input on mobile is a massive oversight, and is even more unacceptable when it already has perfectly fine controller support on PlayStation. Players should not be forced to play an action-RPG like this with only touch controls, as nice as those touch controls may be. It's just not accessible for a lot of people.
Because of the wide range of sizes and specs of different Android phones, your mileage may vary when it comes to your experience. Anyone with a smaller or older phone may run into trouble trying to play Genshin Impact.
Anyone unfamiliar with Genshin Impact and hopping into it for the first time should also be aware that quests are level-gated. There are entire questlines you won't be able to start until you reach a certain level, and they'll sit in your questlog mocking you. It's a grind to level up in Genshin Impact because you'll want to level up four characters at once to keep your party balanced, and in order to level up your characters quickly, you'll be spending a lot of the experience boosters you earn.
Genshin Impact: Should you play it?
Despite any complaints I have with its mission structure and lack of controller input, Genshin Impact is still a ton of fun to play. If it looks like something interesting to you — whether because you appreciate the art style or you're a fan of action-RPGs, it's definitely something you should give a try. Genshin Impact is completely free to download and you don't have to spend a dime on microtransactions if you don't want to, so there's no downside to trying it out.
4 out of 5
Because Genshin Impact is a live service game, it's difficult to predict how it will look in a year's time from now. Everything so far that's been added has been fantastic, so that gives me a lot of hope that developer miHoYo knows what it's doing to keep players invested in the long run.
Even without controller support at the moment, Genshin Impact can compete with the best Android games available. There's always new content being added that makes the game better and better every time.
Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.