Game Showcase: Valkyrie Connect

Good evening fellow gamers!

Today, I’d like to present you a small tour through a mobile game I picked up a few months ago. I know that mobile games aren’t really “gaming” but, in my opinion, merely a fun way to kill some smaller increments of time. Nevertheless, I really enjoy those.

Now what is Valkyrie Connect? First of all, it has a unique name. In times where mobile games in the Apple/Android store are mostly called (clash/reign/lords/kings/war) (of/in/at/from) (the) (kings/lords/war/cheesecake), this is already a big plus.

On a more serious note, here’s a “small” description:

What would you get when you mix up nordic mythology with the japanese anime style? Valkyrie Connect.

You are some chosen one, and you guide a group of 5 heroes through a campaign, a bunch of challenges and an arena. I guess there are a lot of other games like this available at the moment, and I have played Heroes Charge for a whole year before.

This, on the other hand, has some really beautiful animations, a cheesy, cliché but well made story mode and origin stories for each and everyone of the playable heroes in the game.

The Heroes

Speaking of heroes: there are a lot. I haven’t counted them, but there should be about 80 available in the global version.

Heroes are split into 3 categories: Melee (where there are also a few tanks), magic and ranged (which are either magic-based or physical). Pretty standart.

The progression system also is quite as usual, having a player level which limits your hero levels. This level is capped at 55 and is reachable in about 3-4 months. Aside from that, you have your promotion levels, or stars. Your heroes are based on 1-, 2- or 3-stars when first summoned, with 3-star heroes being more rare and most of the time a notch better than lower starred ones. To promote a hero, you need to complete their story chapters and gather shards.

BUT, unlike other similar games, every character is unique and usable in the current meta. While some specific heroes are better suited for task X, another is good for task X and task Y. And after all, it is possible to use the heroes you like, to finish any PVE-elements in the game.

As a last progression level is orbing. Quality of your hero so to say. It goes from white to green to blue to violet and each tier opens up a gear and acessory slot as well as stat buffs for the specific hero.

The Gear

Gear comes in 2 categories: Gear and accessories.

Those are summoned alongside heroes with either mana (normal currency) or diamonds (premium currency). Gear has it’s own starlevels, and you can combine 2 identical pieces to get one a bit better, up to 5*.

Aside from that, most gear pieces have skills (passive or activated) which have 5 tiers and a baseline level which goes up to 50. Every star promotion on the gear piece, lets you level up 10 more levels and have your skill 1 tier higher.

Screenshot_20170508-200125
Equipment looks like this

The General gameplay:

You’ll have your daily quests, which grant you experience, stamina and some diamonds.

Aside from that, you can compete in the arena (5v5) and grand arena (3 times 5v5) and join a guild to fight in Guild Battles (a map full of defenders waiting for you to attack them)

Connect bosses and events: You may join with up to 2 other players to defeat some bosses, which will rotate on a weekly or biweekly basis. Other than that, there are some events scattered around.

Screenshot_20170508-192854
Connect boss Fafnir up this week

To finish: here’s a list of pro’s and con’s:

Pros:

  • 3D animation, looks beautiful, plays nicely
  • A manifold of heroes to choose from, ranging from your cliché knights, badass wolves or simple fanservice (for those who like that)
Screenshot_20170508-194210
Fan service. One of many examples. =)
  • A kinda deep gameplay structure, which is easy to learn, but hard to master.
  • Possibility to play it casually and still be able to do most of the regular content (given that you are level capped), while the option of playing with min-maxing in mind in order to be more competitive.
  • It is friendly to it’s free-to-play playerbase. At the start, you are given a load of diamonds, which when used wisely, can give you a real good start. Nevertheless, as with every freemium game, paying customers have more options to get the good stuff.
  • A lot of customisation potential. Use any hero you like, with any gear you want, and it can be viable. Of course, there are optimal set ups, but not having some key heroes or gear pieces, does not keep you from progressing
  • While overwhelming at the start, it is quite easy to understand afterwards.
  • A really nice mythology to pick up. Nordic gods mixed up with japanese elements are a mix up well done.
  • Cool and foremost many different events. There are about 10 different connect bosses, there have been 2 month long story events in the past 6 months.
  • Good storytelling. Skippable, but if you wish to know more about what happened, you can always go back and look at the story chapters.
  • Voice acting which is not that bad (albeit being in japanese only)
  • No servers. Everyone plays with everyone. You want a mate to join? no need for him to come to your server. He can catch up quite fast.
  • A nice progression curve, you aren’t granted godly powers upon day 1, but you aren’t kept in an endless grinding loop forever.
  • Clean, easy to use UI

Screenshot_20170508-195000

  • Possibility to reroll, when you want to. ( completely optional)
  • No VIP programs. Some argue that there should be one, but I find that VIP programs often just come with a sense of missing out on stuff.
  • Some ridicoulous sense of humour

Screenshot_20170508-193948

Cons

  • Stamina system. While it is necessary for such games to “limit” a player in one way and to guide him towards their premium services, stamina systems force you to play at specific times (when your stamina is full) and you feel that you miss out when you can’t play at this time. Stamina pools are too small (baseline 80 +1 per level up)
  • The plentitude of stuff at the start can be overwhelming. You start of with a bunch of stamina (1000 or so in my first few hours) and you are introduced quite rapidly to the different mecanics.
  • It starts to feel if they shift more and more towards the pay-2-win side, with stamina packs on sale (unlimitied) and now with some hero orbs available to buy.
  • Some shard drop rates can be frustratingly low.
  • Clunky hard to use chat functions
  • Some loading times can be quite long.

To conclude:

I really like this game. It doesn’t feel like a chore 6 months in, which is something most games in this style fail to deliver. There are some money-grabby-moments in the game, but as I said before, it is quite friendly to f2p players. If you choose to support the devs a bit, their stamina and quick ticket packages are a good value.

I absolutely love the aestethics and the depth of this game’s progression. There are surefire ways to improve yourself with a little space for own decision making and strategies.

The game, as I understand, is rather new (1 year maybe?) on the global version, while the japanese is out much longer. There are some large differences between those 2 versions.

A good thing is, that there is a community which has formed aroung this game on reddit. There are some friendly people who help with newbie questions as well as more precise discussions about recent stuff. Aside from that, there is a fully updated wiki and a few guides as well. (Link)

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