Solo Leveling Arise is one of the most high-quality gacha games to date


solo leveling arise title

Andrew Grush / Android Authority

During my years at Android Authority, I’ve had hands-on experience with dozens of mobile games and developed certain expectations. Chief among them is that most mobile games based on existing franchises are nothing more than cheap cash grabs. That’s what makes Solo Leveling: Arise such a breath of fresh air and our pick for the Best New Mobile App of the Week!

Solo Leveling Arise: At a glance

Solo Leveling began as a manhua novel in 2016 before transitioning to the webtoon format two years later. Arise represents the series’ first attempt at a video game adaptation, and despite its heavy reliance on in-app purchases, it’s clear that real care was taken to ensure the story, combat, and mechanics are up to the same standard as the manhua or webtoon.

Pros:

  • Feels more like a console/PC-quality experience than most gacha mobile games
  • Well executed story that closely follows the source material
  • Excellent gameplay mechanics, including combat
  • Supports Android, Chrome OS, and Windows formula

Cons:

  • Loading times can be pretty long
  • Aggressive in-app purchases
  • Many bugs and technical issues remain

What we love about Solo Leveling: Arise

When I first booted up Solo Leveling: Arise on my Pixel 7, I thought it was going to be like every other tie-in game I’ve reviewed in this genre. While there are obvious similarities, I quickly realized there was more here than meets the eye. Unlike most tie-in games with watered-down storylines and mechanics, I was surprised by the detailed lore, world-building, and story elements.

The game starts with a short intro that explains the game world. In brief, there are gates where monsters constantly emerge. The only thing preventing chaos from destroying the world are the Hunters. You take on the role of Sung Jinwoo, known as “the weakest hunter of all mankind.”

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Andrew Grush / Android Authority

The game’s cutscenes use actual panels from the manhua to illustrate the story, beautifully animated. Just be aware Arise adapts the novel completely, so playing through the game could spoil events that haven’t yet appeared in the webtoon. The storytelling and dialogue are so good that it’s almost like reading the novel.

solo leveling arise

Andrew Grush / Android Authority

While Solo Leveling: Arise doesn’t dramatically change the gameplay experience from other gacha action games, it adds RPG-like mechanics that help it stand out. For example, while the setup is similar to Honkai Impact with special skills for your character, there are also special weapon skills that vary depending on the weapons you use.

The fighting experience is based on short stages with a few random fights typically, followed by a major boss fight. The main goal is to take out the boss for each stage, requiring you to break down their Guard bar with specific skills and weapons in the process. Once the Guard bar is lowered, the boss becomes temporarily vulnerable. This experience might not be novel, but it feels more inspired and fleshed out than many other mobile titles. Additionally, there are bonus objectives in these stages that can help you earn in-game currency and other rewards.

What we don’t like about Solo Leveling: Arise

Solo Leveling: Arise isn’t without its faults. As mentioned in the cons, loading times can be quite long. The first boot took me 5-6 minutes due to initial downloads, and even in-game transitions could take up to a minute or more, especially during moments of server lag.

I encountered several bugs, such as my character freezing during a battle and the game crashing without warning. These issues should hopefully be addressed in future updates and aren’t necessarily deal breakers, but they are worth noting.

The most significant issue is the aggressive in-app purchases. While the game feels console-like and polished, the in-app purchases are a constant reminder it’s a mobile game. There are virtual storefronts, a paid battle pass system, and pay-to-win bonuses. The whole experience is fairly aggressive. The good news is that the game is playable without spending money, but it becomes much harder.

Does this contradict my claim this game isn’t just a cash grab? Not really. While it’s true the company has plenty of money-making opportunities with their in-app purchases, the actual depth of the game’s mechanics and story help make this feel like a product of love and not just a way to make a buck. I just wish there were a premium paid version that did away with the in-app purchase element.

Solo Leveling Arise: Get it now on Google Play

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Andrew Grush / Android Authority

Despite its flaws, Solo Leveling: Arise doesn’t feel like just a cash grab. The depth of the game’s mechanics and story shows a product of love and dedication to the fans, not just a way to make money. I just wish there were a premium version without in-app purchases.

If you’re looking for a gacha game with a strong story and deeper mechanics than most, pick up Solo Leveling: Arise. It might not be perfect, but it’s one of the best tie-in mobile games I’ve ever seen and gives me hope that not all games like this have to be cash grabs.

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