The Best RPG for Busy Me
AFK Arena (by Lilith Games) is a game that presents for review as a part of the newly renovated “Idle” games that are becoming ever popular on the app store. Players can drop in and out while progress is constant. Build a team of various factions, classes, and abilities to fight off the darkness. Take your team into procedurally generated labyrinths, fight against other players in the PvP Arena, and ascend to greatness with wave after wave of combat.
Your team is made up of five characters, two in the front and three in the back. AFK Arena features six available races to choose from: Lightbearer, Mauler, Wilder, Graveborn, Hypogeans, and Celestial. Each group has a race they deal extra damage to and a race they take more damage from (similar to Pokémon types). Within each race there are various classes like archers, mages, melee, etc. Each hero has their own abilities and gear you can equip and upgrade. Battles consist of your team of five against five NPCs where you watch the battle. You can choose between manually activating ultimates or having them go off automatically (further enforcing the “AFK” mentality). When not actively in battle, your team continues to fight infinite waves, which is how you gain experience and gold.
Idle games have captured my interest for a while. Games like the famous Cookie Clicker have bred an ever expanding genre. It was only a matter of time for people to take it and start applying it to other genres of games. As someone in the medical field, time is precious especially when it comes to gaming. I don’t really have a couple hours every day to run raids or fight mobs. There are other games that offer an idle RPG experience like Taptap Heroes and Idle Heroes, but they all lacked something.
This something was a true style. Most of these games look like your typical “made in an hour” type app store money grab. Heck, even the logos follow the famed app-store trend of yelling people.
In contrast, AFK Arena has a gorgeous art style that is rather similar to that of Banner Saga. Characters are well designed and have a surprisingly flushed out background. The variety is fun to tinker with to try and find new and better combinations. If you lose a fight, a simple hero substitute can completely change the outcome.
Another great feature is that there is always something to do. While most of the other idle RPG apps seem to be focused on the idle part, AFK Arena pursued other ways for players to invest their time in a meaningful manner. Guild hunts allow players to fight damage sink bosses for rewards and PvP allows for you to climb the ranks. The arcane labyrinth is an especially interesting and fun procedurally generated challenge.
Of the downsides, the biggest is a problem all of the idle RPG apps have. There is too much junk in the way at the start. The tutorials are usually short and don’t fully explain the utility of all the different things. The basic concept is easy enough but trying to figure out how to optimize your leveling and time can be a challenge.
A personal complaint is the sheer lack of audio variety. You’ve got a basic lobby music for each tab and a battle music or two. These will instantly repeat when you switch between tabs and even between areas in that tab. Lack of variety is also true of character voices. Each character has a line or two, and the game has an incessant need to make these repeat with every click or movement.
Overall I've really enjoyed my time with AFK Arena. It's best feature is that you can grind, raid and battle all while getting stuff done! It's a great game to fill those awkward 30 minutes between cases and also when you have more time to delve even deeper into it.
- Constant progress for those who are busy
- Stunning graphics
- Wide variety of tasks
- Complicated start can be overwhelming
- Limited soundtrack
- Limited character voices
- Minor but common application pitfalls
Prognosis is Good