Champions Arena, a free-to-play, turn-based role-playing game (RPG) with optional NFTsLaunched this week to the public on mobile and PC, offering players a fun and mobile-first experience with a colorful cast of characters.
Developed by OneUniverse/Uniflow and published by Gala Games, Champions Arena is now fully released for iOS on the App Store, for Android on the Google Play Store, and for PC users via the Gala Games launcher on the website.
Champions Arena is addictive, with a solid gameplay loop that had me hooked for hours. And as a PC gamer, this is actually one of the few mobile games I’d enjoy playing in my spare time. This is my take on Champions Arena.
Watch our video review, or continue reading below.
Into the arena
Champions Arena offers two primary game modes: Arena and Campaign. While both active modes of play feature the same turn-based RPG action, Arena is the real-time player-vs-player (PvP) mode, and Campaign is a player-vs-computer mode that takes players slowly across a world map after winning. moves. a certain number of games. Ranked Arena matches are the only game mode where players can earn a certain amount of money GALA Tokens for victories.
Play Champions Arena on iOS. Image: decrypt.
In a Campaign or Arena match, players can have up to four characters or champions on their side. Matches are played in a 4v4 format, with one gamer’s team fighting against another. There are tanks, damage dealers and healers; it’s good to have one in every match. 4v4 Feels Good: Had this game been a 5v5, matches could get too long or too complex for more casual players.
There are also three alliances to be aware of: Red, Yellow, and Blue, known as Destruction, Harmony, and Prosperity, respectively. Each character belongs to one color or alliance, and playing cards that match that character’s alliance when it’s their turn is generally a good idea, as this often increases damage or unlocks an extra effect.
Nearing the end of a campaign match on iOS. Image: decrypt.
Games in Champions Arena are usually fast and short. Each of the eight characters in battle gets a turn to take action, whether it’s dealing damage or helping teammates.
On each character’s turn, the player can combine cards to level them once, or move cards to establish a strategy. For example, combining two cards with one star creates a single, more powerful card with two stars. The more stars, the more powerful the card. Aside from that, the cards themselves aren’t overly complex, but offer a few stats and details like those of a Pokemon game.
So while some players of advanced trading card games (TCG) may find the card mechanics a bit simplistic, RPG fans and seasoned mobile gamers will be able to pick up the card mechanics quickly.
Play through campaign mode on iOS. Image: decrypt.
Mini-movies appear during a match when a character deals higher levels of damage. Fortunately, these movies are very short and the animations are generally attractive. While they’re fun to have, they’re repetitive (as characters only say the same handful of voice lines and perform the same mini-movie every match) and aren’t as graphically sharp as the rest of the game.
The “Mayhem” mode is an idle game mode that can bring you numerous rewards. Image: decrypt.
A cast of champions
Overall, there’s a wide variety of attractive characters, from sultry vampires to monsters, robots, elves, beasts and brawny gunmen. I loved the look of the Harmony allied champions like Sophia and Feraella, as well as some of the Destruction alliance characters like Kage and Violet, just to name a few. Some of the characters feel heavily inspired by existing games or movies (Sophia, for example, is very similar to Nintendo’s Zelda), but that doesn’t really bother me or detract from my overall enjoyment of the game.
The game offers a total of 68 champions at the time of writing, but most players will need to unlock these by purchasing gems, which can then be used to summon any character. In theory, you could unlock a lot of characters for free (I unlocked six of them for free in just a few hours), but it would take a while.
Characters can also be beaten as NFTs, which can be traded and will also maximize your GALA earnings in Arena matches. Players must have at least one NFT character on their side in an Arena match to be eligible to win GALA Token rewards.
An iOS screenshot of Sophia, who looks a lot like Zelda. Image: decrypt.
Champions must be manually leveled up through the menu screens. Character gear can be purchased in-game or obtained as a reward through one of Champions Arena’s many free reward features. However, there is no shortage of shop items that players can spend real money on via gems to give their characters various boosts.
Converting a character to an NFT on iOS. Image: decrypt.
Character skills cannot be modified, nor can their physical appearance be changed. That lack of customization and the current lack of different ‘skins’ can be disappointing for some players, especially those who played games like League of Legends and Fortnite that offer a lot of premium cosmetic options.
All the characters I’ve unlocked for free on iOS so far. Image: decrypt.
Players can also “link” characters together, automatically matching one champion’s level to the higher level of the other, for a price. It takes 100 gems to link two characters, which is about $0.97 on GALA at the time of writing, or about $0.73 in the iOS app.
The main way to unlock new characters in Champions Arena is through the summoning feature, a gacha mechanic. Gacha games work like toy machines, giving players a random chance to get a particular character, eliminating player choice from the equation.
That’s a shame, and could frustrate players who only want to pay to unlock a handful of specific characters without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Gacha Mechanics in Champions Arena on iOS. Image: decrypt.
That said, if a player unlocks a duplicate of a character they already own, the duplicate can be resolved and used to ‘promote’ or raise the star level of the other character.
Players can also try to buy an NFT character on a secondary marketplace, but those prices may vary. At the time of writing, Champions Arena character NFTs start at 0.1 ETH (approximately $165) on the OpenSea marketplace.
I used a duplicate of Lucia to promote our existing Lucia to star level 3. Image: Decode.
On the iOS mobile version of Champions Arena, a chest of 3,000 “paid gems” costs about $29. On the Gala Games website, a chest of 3,000 paid gems is listed at 0.019 ETH, or $31. At this point, it appears that purchasing gems directly through Gala will not lower players’ prices.
Considering that it costs between 200 and 1,000 gems (about $2 to $10.60) to summon one champion, taking your chances with the gacha mechanic may be a better deal than buying a Buy NFT from a specific champion on secondary.
The graphics of Champions Arena are generally great. The character models are detailed and colorful, the animations are smooth, and the game assets are sharp on iOS. The game loads quickly and is virtually free of performance related issues. The PC version of Champions Arena feels like it’s been ported from the mobile version, so it could benefit from a graphical upgrade. I highly recommend you to play this game on mobile over PC. It just feels better, also from a UI perspective.
Meanwhile, the audio in Champions Arena can feel a bit repetitive after just ten matches. Each character only has one or two main voice lines, so you’ll probably get tired of hearing your characters say the same thing every time they fight. You can play the game without sound though; there are no clues that require a player to listen to the game.
The game is awash with free idle rewards, as well as shops where tickets, scrolls, chests, gems, battle passes, and more can be purchased using fiat currency or crypto, which is then converted into the game’s synthetic gem currency.
The sheer number of useless in-game achievements that earn players “gold,” another synthetic gaming currency, can be a bit overwhelming for those unfamiliar with mobile games. But it feels great and is part of what makes the game addictive: you can get tens of thousands of gold in the game with just a few clicks between matches.
Some players may be put off by the amount of items and content behind a paywall, but it’s much the same as modern mobile games. In addition, many items can be earned for free; it just takes a little more time and a bit of luck.
Overall, Champions Arena is a fun, solid mobile game for RPG and TCG fans looking for a new low-stakes fantasy game to spend some crypto on. It’s informal for those looking for mobile distractions, but also has a built-in competitive system for grinders looking to earn GALA Tokens – and possibly recoup some of the money they’ve spent converting their characters into NFTs .
While it doesn’t stand out from the crowd when it comes to rich lore or distinctive game world, there are plenty of charming characters to unlock, buttons to click and matches to win in Champions Arena.