In 2010, Konami introduced a social network game called Dragon Collection through the Japanese social networking service called GREE. Unbeknownst to the gaming giant, their game would become the foundation of Gacha games. These are games known as a luck-based RPG category that employs the use of the basic mechanics of the Japanese Gashapon machines. Similar to the Japanese capsule toy-dispensing vending machines, Gacha Games boasts a massive number of items and characters housed within its unpredictable loot box system.
The success of Dragon Collection inspired a plethora of indie studios to develop a highly-addicting collection-based game. Gacha also influenced the implementation of premium items and DLCs in modern video games which to some is considered gambling. Nevertheless, despite the bad publicity or reputation of Gacha, it still managed to entice millions of players across the globe.
Lunime’s Journey to Gacha Perfection
When it comes to Gacha games, the Chicago-based studio of Lunime boasts one of the most expansive libraries in the genre. Since 2015, the indie studio has produced a long list of titles inspired by the iconic Japanese toy vending machine. Nevertheless, it was not until 2018, when they launched Gacha Life, that the Lunime brand became synonymous with freemium gacha games. By 2020, Gacha Life has amassed over 50 million installs on the Android platform alone making it the studios’ biggest title to date.
Like most highly-downloaded freemium games, Lunime capitalized on the popularity of Gacha Life by announcing the development of Gacha Life 2 a month before the anniversary of Gacha Life. In August 2019, Lunime announced through their official social media account that Gacha Life 2 will launch as Gacha Club, and the rest is history.
Since its official launch in 2019, Gacha Club has managed to accumulate over 37 million installs complete with over a million five-star gameplay ratings on Android alone. A huge portion of the game’s accolades points to the unique features and elements embedded in its core.
A Freemium without the Premium
Unlike other Gacha games that focus primarily on monetization, Gacha Club does not flash premium offers on your screen each time you switch windows. The fact is that this game does not even feature an in-game store despite employing the use of in-game currencies. Unlocking pets and characters in this game requires Gems which you can earn by winning battles or watching ads. Gems serve as one of the rare currencies in the game requiring a lot of work to farm.
The game also features another type of currency called Bits, obtainable only by playing the mini-games featured in the game. Also, Gacha Club comes with a dedicated mini-games tab packed with four addicting and rewarding games inspired by arcade classics. One example is the Mascot Whack which is inspired by the classic Whack-a-Mole arcade game. Another is the Lemo & Yumi Dance which as the title suggests is inspired by the iconic DDR arcade game. Playing any of the mini-games will reward players with Gems and Bits. Players who want to boost or fatten their Bits and Gems stash can farm in Battles, Mini-Games, or watch some ads. This method makes the entire experience worry-free in terms of in-game purchases.
All in all, Gacha Club is a freemium game without the premiums. All customization items in the game are not padlocked by one-time purchases or subscriptions. Players can access the massive collection of weapons, costumes, accessories, etc. the moment they jump into the game. Gacha Club is basically defying the niche of gacha games by encouraging the player to play rather than spend.
The Studio & the GachaTubers
Aside from the microtransaction-free structure, one of the elements that make Lunime’s Gacha games stand out from the rest is The Studio. Originally launched in 2017 as a standalone title, the Gacha Studio is an anime character creation and customization app complete with a battle arena. The success of the Gacha Studio app made it a permanent feature in Lunime’s future Gacha apps.
The popularity of the Gacha Studio feature reached its peak in Gacha Life which allowed players not only to create their own story but also to share it on YouTube leading to the rise of the so-called GachaTubers. Moreover, Gacha Club comes with the latest version of Gacha Studio. This means that new features were added by the developers to the existing ones making the entire experience even more expansive. One of the new features added in the Gacha Club version is the Narrator option. The Narrator functions just like the dialogue box. The main difference is that the narrator box is not attached to a specific character and stretches across the screen.
Gacha Club also comes with a plethora of new items, costumes, accessories, weapons, objects, and pets. Pets and objects in the Gacha Club studio now come with various options that players can tweak to make their scenes livelier.
The Ultimate Gacha Experience
Gacha Club is an example of a video game sequel done right. Lunime made the right decision to compile the best features and elements from their previous games. Doing this allowed their ever-growing community of users to transition to a more advanced app with ease. The new elements and features added to the studio are on par with what the GachaTubers needed to enhance their videos. With that said, a decent video editor added in the studio would have made Gacha Club for mobile and the Gacha Club for desktop the magnum opus of Lunime.
Gacha Club with all its features and elements is easily the best Gacha game in the freemium market. The minor flaws and the lack of an in-game video editor are easily overshadowed by the game’s awesome features. Not to mention that this game does not pester you to purchase virtual items with your hard-earned cash which by itself is already a win for every player