Strong Game, Hampered by a Few Issues
Azur Lane is a game I have grown fond of for the short two weeks I have have had it on my phone. A bullet-hell like similar to the that of Touhou crossed with RPG elements, Azur Lane has you weave through waves of bullet, torpedoes, and ships as your destroyers (waifus of varying Moé-ness) fire at your enemies in a battle to sink see who can seek who first.
The gameplay is quite simple. Players move their destroyers by using an on-screen ‘stick’, while the ‘waifu brigade’ attack nearby ships automatically. Aside from that, the player uses three buttons that call upon three other attacks that require cooldowns that recharge over time. That’s pretty much it, really; simple, and enjoyably so.
On the other side of the coin is selecting your ships and your formation. The main thrust of the Azur Lane, and where it’s microtransactions are focused, is raising the girls under your command and equipping them for battle. Apart from standard XP gathering, players are also asked to equip them with weapons, send them to the academy to better their skills, and allegedly manage their moods by having them stay in a customizable dorm. Allegedly so I say because I, in my time with the game, have never once had to change my line up because one of my ships was upset or fatigued. Not to say that I haven’t used the dorm; it is a very convenient way to give my girls xp boosts at the cost of Oil, a sub-currency used to buy food and send your ships out.
Which brings me to my next point: Azur Lane is incredibly friendly to it’s players. It’s primary resources, Ships, Oil, Gold, and Home Tokens are thrown to the player at constant pace. Even Weapons and Wisdom cubes, one of which is to empower your ship and the other to build bigger and better ships, are readily available to be gained by players. Even Gems, which are what one can buy with real money and can in turn be used to buy seemingly everything you can need in Azur Lane, are given to the player regularly as level-up incentives. With my prior experience to this game being Fire Emblem Heroes, I far prefer how this game treats it’s players more than Nintendo’s famed free-to-play money-maker.
However, Azur Lane has quite a flaws that need to be wrinkled out.
The most minor of issues is the fact that this game has no english voice actors. For one who watches Japanese-dubbed anime and is a fan of the Yakuza series, this is a non-issue to me, especially given that all the text is translated for you mono-languaged brothers/sisters of mine. However, there is the occasional line that wants to translate an onomatopoeia that doesn’t inform the reader of what it is, such as “Whines”, in a sentence. Now, one can argue that “Whines” is more a verb that an onomatopoeia, to which I point out that the word was presented in a dialog box without context and not used as a descriptor.
Now, that line was used in a seasonal event and may never be used again, but the truth is that the this game’s story is very heavily text-based and, honestly, has issues conveying what’s going on beyond dialog. Every so often you’d get a well-drawn backdrop to go with what is being said, but otherwise it’s the readers guess as to what the hell’s happening. Are characters dying or just going silent? I don’t know and I’m not sure you will either.
The last issue I have, and the most fatal of the list, is that Azur Lane has some pretty awful server issues. While the developers are quite considerate and are handing out rewards as a way of making amends, the fact remains that the game is constantly asking players to reconnect to the network after merely locking your phone, or, more aggravatingly, it will subject the player to a loading screen that starts, disapppears, then starts again in a loop until they forcibly quit the game and restart it. Now, I don’t know if this is a server issue or a bug, but I’m gonna guess that since it generally occurs when I’m entering the more internet-unstable parts of my house, I am going to guess it’s a server issue.
Despite these complaints, Azur Lane is a solid mobile free-to-play game and is well worth checking out.