My fascination and interest in gacha games surged with the release of 2020’s Genshin Impact, which pretty much raised the bar for what gacha games could potentially become. MiHoYo’s excellent open-world RPG weaved its gacha elements into its story in an unobtrusive manner and you could engage with that as much or as little you want; the real focus was on exploration. Enter Tower of Fantasy, another gacha game whose aesthetic looks remarkably similar to that of Genshin Impact’s.
It’s clear that Level Infinite wanted to compete with MiHoYo’s monster game. After spending about 20 hours in the closed beta test, I’ve come to realize that Tower of Fantasy isn’t so much of a Genshin Impact killer than it is a Genshin Impact alternative that may falter in some areas, but excels in the ones where Genshin falls short.
Let’s talk about some of the obvious similarities: Tower of Fantasy begins with you choosing a male or female avatar (though this quickly becomes irrelevant), the combat has some elemental synergies you can make use of, it features a large open-world for you to explore and farm resources in, and it also has an annoying mascot character that’ll get old real fast. Oh, and it’s also a gacha game. And that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
I wanna spend some time on the gacha system first as I know that’s the one aspect that both gacha enthusiasts and RPG fans alike will be the most curious about. For the latter group, you can rest assured that, similar to Genshin Impact, the gacha system isn’t all that intrusive and you can certainly clear most of the content without pulling for new weapons. It’s too early to say whether you can beat the entire game without even touching the gacha, but from what I’ve played so far, I’ve only done a couple of pulls and haven’t had much of an issue clearing the PvE content with the gear that the beta test started me with.
And for the gacha enthusiasts, I’m also pleased to report that Tower of Fantasy has a pretty fantastic pity system. As always, there are a few rarity tiers of weapons in this game: R, SR, and SSR. Most of your pulls will be trash R weapons, while the SSR weapons only have a measly 0.3% change of showing up.
However, the pity system guarantees that you’ll always get an SSR on every 80th pull. In addition to that, the pity counter doesn’t reset if you happen to get lucky and pull an SSR before you reach 80. This means that if you pull an SSR at 79, you’re still guaranteed to get another one on your next pull, which is very nice.
The summoning currency, known as Nucleus (which comes in gold and black variants), can be obtained by either purchasing them with real money, or by exploring the open-world, completing quests, and progressing in the story. You can expect the Nucleus to be dripfed slowly as you get further into the game, making it progressively harder to pull, but that’s just how most gacha games are.
That said, I did find myself somewhat disappointed with Tower of Fantasy’s selection of weapons. You’ll notice that I said weapons, not characters, because this game’s gacha system doesn’t pull characters. Instead, you’re pulling for different weapons that you can equip, and each SR or SSR weapon then comes with a character skin that you can put on. The skins are completely cosmetic, so you aren’t getting new characters you can add to your party or anything like that.
Personally, I found this a little disappointing as Tower of Fantasy is definitely missing a bit of the charm that made Genshin Impact so compelling in the first place. Every character you met in Genshin Impact came with their own quirks and unique personality traits, and finally pulling them and adding them to your party came with a real sense of joy.
Pulling an SSR Icewind Arrow weapon isn’t even remotely comparable to that time I pulled Hu Tao on day one of her banner. You gotta have some sort of attachment or connection to the things you’re pulling for, and I’m not sure Tower of Fantasy’s weapons will have that same appeal.
Despite that, Tower of Fantasy definitely excels in a couple of key areas where Genshin Impact is severely lacking. The character customization options are nice, and even without the skins you get from your weapons, you can alter your character’s physical appearance to make them fit your own individual style. As someone who loves character creation, this was a huge plus for me.
Tower of Fantasy is also an MMO, which means there’s a bigger focus on multiplayer and group content. You can have a fun solo experience, and you’ll get a lot of that when you’re powering through the story and exploring the massive open-world, but right off the bat, the closed beta test comes with quite a few dungeons that you can attempt with other people.
Matchmaking is quick and hassle-free, so if you’ve always wanted an open-world gacha game that had solid multiplayer features, this could be one to look out for. Especially for Genshin Impact players who have been waiting for proper multiplayer dungeons and raids for a long time now, Tower of Fantasy is proving to be a very viable alternative that you can check out.
The one downside is that Tower of Fantasy’s combat can feel rather floaty at times, and from what I’ve played so far, it doesn’t seem to have that same level of strategic consideration when it comes to party and elemental synergies. You can equip up to three different weapons at once, and switch between them to make use of various skills and abilities. The combat is simple and pretty fun, often only requiring you to button-mash to string together cool-looking combos. It’s a lot more streamlined for sure, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your preferences.
With all that said, it wouldn’t be accurate to call Tower of Fantasy a Genshin Impact killer as both games are focused on very different things. If you’re a huge Genshin fan and you don’t have a ton of other gacha games taking up your time outside of that, I could see Tower of Fantasy becoming a great complement for you. It’s still early days, but this is definitely worth keeping an eye on when it eventually gets its full release later this year.