Arknights

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Arknights
Arknights icon.png
The app icon of Arknights, depicting the caster Amiya.
Developer(s)Hypergryph
Publisher(s)
  • CHN: Hypergryph
  • WW: Yostar
  • TW: Longcheng
EngineUnity3D
Platform(s)Android, iOS
Release
  • CHN: 1 May 2019
  • JP/KR: 15 January 2020
  • WW: 16 January 2020
  • TW: 29 June 2020
Genre(s)Tactical role-playing, tower defense

Arknights (Chinese: 明日方舟; pinyin: Míngrì Fāngzhōu, "Tomorrow's Ark") is a free-to-play tactical RPG/tower defense mobile game developed by Chinese developer Hypergryph. It was released in China on 1 May 2019, in other countries on 16 January 2020 and in Taiwan on 29 June 2020.[1] Arknights is available on Android and iOS platforms and features gacha game mechanics.

A spin-off game, Arknights: Endfield, was announced for PC and mobile devices in March 2022.[2] An anime television series adaptation by Yostar Pictures is to start airing in October 2022.[3][4]

Gameplay[edit]

A game of Arknights
One of the levels of Arknights. In this level, enemies proceed from right to left, and to stop them the player has deployed (from the top) a ranged operator, a melee operator and a healer on the left side of the screen. At the bottom, the remaining deployable operators are displayed.

The core gameplay is that of a tower defense game, with a number of characters ("operators") as towers. Melee operators can be placed on ground tiles and ranged operators on elevated tiles. Melee operators physically block enemies from advancing, and ranged operators deal ranged damage, heal or otherwise support melee operators. Players must place operators on the correct tiles to prevent the enemy from infiltrating the player's base. Once in place, an operator's skills can be activated after a time for special effects, or they can be withdrawn for redeployment after a delay.

Because there is often a limited number of viable solutions, especially at high difficulties, Arknights has also been described as a puzzle game.[5] The gameplay does not require quick reaction times (the game is pauseable, and time slows down while commands are issued), but rather on-the-spot tactical analysis and foresight.[6]

As the player progresses through the game, they unlock more stages, operators and resources, and are also introduced to new types of enemies and gameplay mechanics. Levels that have been cleared with a three-star rating can be auto-completed without player input, as the game records the player's actions and replicates them.

The game also has a base-building aspect, which allows players to construct facilities and assign operators to them. This allows players to increase their resources in the manner of an incremental game.[7] It features the usual array of free-to-play, gacha game mechanics, such as daily login rewards and randomized character acquisition through virtual currency which can be obtained by playing the game, through limited-time events, or optional in-app purchases using real currency. Because of the limited resources available (even if real money is spent), another layer of challenge lies in "internalizing multiple complex economic systems"[6] and in prioritizing the right operators to recruit and develop in order to build a capable roster. Arknights players have created a number of internet resources and tools to assist in this effort.[6]

Seasonal gameplay events introduce more complex but optional difficulties and handicaps, such as the game's semi-quarterly Contingency Contract. Players are awarded with resources and medals exclusive to these events. A roguelike game mode, "Integrated Strategies", was added in 2022.[8]

Plot[edit]

Arknights cosplayer
A cosplayer representing the Arknights operator character "Savage".

The game is set in the dystopian, post-apocalyptic future setting of the planet Terra, where people exhibit kemonomimi features – characteristics of animals or mythological races. Natural disasters leave behind a valuable mineral, originium, which infects people with a progressive disease, oripathy, but also allows them to also use "Arts" (magic). Because oripathy is highly infectious and invariably mortal, the infected are shunned and persecuted. In response, some of them form the Reunion movement, a militant group waging war on the despotic governments of Terra.

The player takes the role of the masked and amnesiac "Doctor", who commands a team of "operators" of Rhodes Island, a pharmaceutical, medical, and self-defense organization. As oripathy spreads, Rhodes Island searches for a cure while defending itself against Reunion and several of the governments of Terra.[7]

Music and voice acting[edit]

Arknights has an eclectic soundtrack drawing on a range of Western and Asian musical genres. Hypergryph has partnered with musical groups across the world to release Arknights-related songs and music videos. These include Steve Aoki ("Last of Me"), Yellow Claw ("End Like This"),[9] Starset ("Infected"),[10] and Low Roar ("Feels").[11]

The song "Feels" performed by Low Roar was re-released into a full version titled "Fade Away" on their 2021 album "maybe tomorrow...".

The Arknights-related song "Renegade" written by Jason Walsh and performed by Substantial and X.ARI was nominated for "Best Original Song – Video Game" at the 2020 Hollywood Music in Media Awards.[12]

The game's characters were voiced only in Japanese at the time of release. Chinese, Korean, and English voice acting is being incrementally added.[13]

Reception[edit]

Pocket Gamer highlighted the game's extensive lore and high production values.[14] Julia Lee of Polygon wrote that "Arknights is the only gacha game I recommend to people" because of its art design, lack of purchase pressure and competition, and limited grind,[5] and Sisi Jiang of Kotaku noted that Arknights is rare among gacha games in that its easily obtainable characters are better in some circumstances than the game's rare, high-powered operators.[15]

The game was nominated for Google Play "Users' Choice Game" at the Best of 2020 awards and for "Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game" at the 2020 Dragon Awards.[16] It won an award as one of the Best Innovative Games of 2020.[17]

Anime adaptation[edit]

Arknights: Prelude to Dawn
Created byHypergryph
Studio Montagne
Anime television series
Directed byYuki Watanabe
Music byYuki Hayashi
StudioYostar Pictures
Original networkTV Tokyo
Original run October 29, 2022 scheduled

In December 2020, Hypergryph released a nine-minute Arknights anime video, "Holy Knight Light", on the occasion of the game's first global anniversary. It was made by the global publisher's in-house studio, Yostar Pictures, which previously made anime trailers for in-game events for the global version of the game.[18]

In October 2021, Hypergryph published a teaser trailer for the first season ("Prelude to Dawn") of an anime adaptation of Arknights, also made by Yostar Pictures.[3] The anime is a television series directed by Yuki Watanabe, with Masaki Nishikawa serving as assistant director, and Yuki Hayashi composing the music.[19] Takashi Matsuyama is cast as Ace.[20] The series is set to air on TV Tokyo in Japan beginning on October 29, 2022.[4][a]

Episode list[edit]

No.TitleOriginal air date
OVA"Holy Knight Light"
December 26, 2020 (2020-12-26)
On New Year's Eve, Penguin Logistics' owner Emperor (Kenjiro Tsuda) is tasked by police officer Hoshiguma (Kiyono Yasuno) to deliver a package to Rhodes Island's leader Amiya (Tomoyo Kurosawa) before midnight. Emperor and his employees Texas (Azusa Tadokoro) and Exusiai (Manaka Iwami) defy the Siracusan Mafia to deliver the package – a timebomb that turns out to be a cake, sent by police chief Ch'en (Shizuka Ishigami) as a prank.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ TV Tokyo lists the series premiere at 25:23 on October 28, 2022, which is effectively 1:23 a.m. JST on October 29.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lada, Jenni (24 January 2020). "The Doctor Is in as Arknights Is Available Outside Japan". Siliconera. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Hypergryph Announces Arknights: Endfield for PC and Mobile". Game Rant. 2022-03-18. Retrieved 2022-03-19.
  3. ^ a b Luster, Joseph. "Arknights Anime Adaptation Revealed, Season 1 'Coming Soon'". Crunchyroll. Retrieved 2021-10-24.
  4. ^ a b Hodgkins, Crystalyn (September 24, 2022). "Arknights: Prelude to Dawn Anime's Promo Video Reveals ReoNa's Theme, October 28 Premiere". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Lee, Julia (2020-10-30). "Arknights is the only gacha game I recommend to people". Polygon. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  6. ^ a b c Jiang, Sisi (2022-02-21). "These So-Called 'Casual' Gamers Are Actually Hardcore Strategists". Kotaku. Retrieved 2022-02-21.
  7. ^ a b Jensen, Brock (29 January 2020). "Arknights Review - Gacha Tower Defense Done Right". Noisy Pixel. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  8. ^ Jiang, Sisi (2022-07-19). "Arknights' New Roguelike Mode Makes Its Gimmicky Characters Worth Playing Again". Kotaku. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  9. ^ Yopko, Nick. "Arknights Celebrates One-Year Anniversary With New Track by Steve Aoki, Yellow Claw, and RUNN". EDM. Archived from the original on 2020-12-28. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  10. ^ Childers, Chad (2021-04-26). "Starset Release 'Infected' to Mark 'Arknights' Video Game Anniversary". Loudwire. Archived from the original on 2021-04-26. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  11. ^ "塞壬唱片 - A WORLD FAMILIARLY UNKNOWN". monster-siren.hypergryph.com. Retrieved 2021-08-07.
  12. ^ Willman, Chris (2021-01-15). "Hollywood Music in Media Awards Announces 2021 Nominees; Kenny Loggins Set for Lifetime Honor". Variety. Archived from the original on 2021-01-15. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  13. ^ "Arknights Global releases English, Korean dub previews". GamerBraves. 2022-06-24. Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  14. ^ Gregson-Wood, Stephen. "Arknights is a tower defense game for iOS and Android that puts a huge emphasis on its lore, you can pre-register now". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  15. ^ Jiang, Sisi. "Arknights Low Rarity Characters Are Better Than High Rarity Ones". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 2021-09-27. Retrieved 2021-09-27.
  16. ^ Liptak, Andrew (2020-09-06). "Announcing the 2020 Dragon Awards Winners". Tor.com. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  17. ^ Faisal, Muhammad (1 December 2020). "Game Arknights Memenangkan Penghargaan dari Google Play Best of 2020!" [Arknights Game Wins Award from Google Play Best of 2020!]. Nawala Karsa (in Indonesian). Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  18. ^ "Yostar Pictures Produces 9-Minute Short for Arknights Smartphone Game". Anime News Network. December 26, 2021. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  19. ^ Kit (July 25, 2022). "Arknights anime seemingly confirmed for October 2022 broadcast by its composer". GamerBraves. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  20. ^ Pineda, Rafael (January 10, 2022). "Arknights: Prelude to Dawn TV Anime Unveils 1st Cast & Staff Members, Visual". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  21. ^ TVアニメ「アークナイツ」10月28日放送開始、ドクター役・甲斐田ゆきらキャスト公開. Natalie (in Japanese). Natasha, Inc. September 24, 2022. Retrieved September 27, 2022.

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