Arknights 2020 Review and Guides
Everything you need to know
Is it worth playing?
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Arknights is a new and improved jab at the tower defense genre, which is combined with some other popular mobile gaming genres to bring engaging and satisfying gameplay but adapted to the light mobile way. It has some interesting solutions as to the mechanics and the overall mix, while it also infuses it with an engaging story, characters that we get to know, and we get an emotional stake in it all. This probably seems the reason why the game expanded worldwide, after only being out in China for about half a year, so we’ve decided to delve deeper into the game. We also composed a list of guides and tips for this competitive game in the second part of this page.
If you want to find out what are the best operators in the game and how to play them, use the link below.
Arknights is developed in the Unity engine by Studio Montagne and Hypergryph…
Arknights is developed in the Unity engine by Studio Montagne and Hypergryph. Both studios are relatively young and this appears to be their first mobile game title. However, they’ve published it under the Yostar Games brand, a publisher with a bit more experience in the mobile gaming market. The game first came out in China in May 2019, achieving acclaim, and was then launched worldwide for both Android and iOS in January 2020, as a free-to-play gaming app, achieving similar success.
On Google Play, Arknights Android has a quite high 4.5-star score from around 40k votes currently, with overly positive feedback, over 1 million installs, and many satisfied fans of the tower defense genre. The situation is the same on the iTunes App Store. Arknights iOS has the same 4.5-star score, from several thousand votes, and it is even counted in the Card genre, for its mix of mechanics.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Despite a pretty straight forward gameplay, game has a pretty immersive storyline behind it all…
Despite a pretty straight forward gameplay, Arknights has a pretty immersive storyline behind it all. The players assume the role of a Doctor, called Dr. *your nickname*, in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian future world of Terra. This world contains magic and it is inhabited by Terra humans, but some of them show features of mythological and even animalistic nature. The climate is also quite harsh, with natural disasters often raging, but also leaving behind precious Originium, a mineral that infects the people with oriopathy, a progressive disease.
Oriopathy has a 100% mortality rate and high infectivity, which has pushed the civilized part of Terra into mass quarantine, widespread hostility towards infected people, and governmental expulsion. The player’s character is just recovering from amnesia due to being awakened from cryonic sleep at the start of the game and is being introduced to other characters in Arknights. They introduce you to your role as the team commander of Rhodes Island Pharmaceuticals operators. Rhodes Island Pharmaceutical is an organization for medical research and self-defense, combating oripathy, and its consequences in the world, which is engulfed in anarchy and chaos due to the virus.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It is a tower defense game in its core…
As said, Arknights is a tower defense game in its core. The mentioned characters, the operators who are the members of your team, function as towers. However, genre-mixing begins with these characters, which are divided into classes. There are 8 classes i.e. 8 different tower types, and those are:
This is where the RPG genre comes into the mix, as each of the characters or operators have their role to play. Firstly, the positioning of the characters depends on their role, where melee operators can be positioned on ground tiles of any given map, and in addition to striking, they can also block the passage of a certain number of enemy units. Ranged characters in Arknights can take up higher ground i.e. elevated tiles of the terrain, which include Medica, Caster, Supporter, and Sniper.
Specialist operators are an exception to the rule, for they can be placed either on high or low ground, depending on the character. However, Specialist placement is crucial to preventing the enemies to infiltrate your base. Once any character is placed on the battlefield, you can then choose the area which it is to guard or cover. Taping on the character will bring up its stats and the special skill icon, which can be used if the requirements are met. The combat then revolves in a standard and usual tower defense genre way, where enemies flow in from various sides and sources and seek to infiltrate your base, attacking your operators along the way.
However, there is much gameplay that happens outside of combat in Arknights. This is where card collecting and gacha genres are involved, as the players collect or unlock different characters and operators. Recruitment, progression, and forming squads are crucial to progression, while the player can also unlock different gameplay modes.
Most of the things you do outside of combat require in-game resources. Progressing will unlock more characters, but also more powerful enemies and challenging stages, with more complex gameplay mechanics. The player acquisition is done through the traditional gacha mechanics, like rewards, collecting card sets, unlocking achievements, purchasing, and such stuff. Also, clearing levels yields stars, depending on the success rate, which is important since you will be “farming” them at some point. If you clear a level with 3 stars, you can then auto-complete it since your actions are recorded by the game and replicated.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The graphics are just high enough to give it a modern look but not too high as to pose a problem for some low-end devices…
Arknights is a very advanced tower defense game in its gameplay innovations, but also in its appearance. The game uses a 3D environment, with advanced textures and physics, but also very good-looking models and animations. The graphics of the game are just high enough to give it a modern look but not too high as to pose a problem for some low-end devices.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It’s not a demanding game tech-vise…
As mentioned, the advanced graphics of Arknights does make the game look modern and advanced in terms of visuals, but this is not a demanding game tech-vise. System requirements are low enough for most of the low-end Smartphones, where even under 2GB of RAM will be enough to get you covered. You will need Android 4.1 or up, or iOS 9.0 or up to run it. It is compatible with iPad and iPod touch, as well as iPhone and other iOS devices.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
After a while in playing the game extensively, you get to a limit of Sanity(Stamina)…
This is where Arknights got some negative feedback and scores. The game is free to download and play on all platforms, but it offers in-app purchases, which go from as low as $0.99 to up to $99. The packs offered usually yield Originium, which is the game’s premium currency, but there are also some packs with other in-game stuff. Now, several of the negative comments and feedback state that, after a while in playing the game extensively, you get to a limit of Sanity, which is an in-game resource traditionally called Stamina and used to go through stages. According to some players who have played the game extensively, your stamina runs out and you are forced to spend real money to progress through the game at your high pace.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It is a brilliant way to bring back tower defense in a sci-fi environment, with many new mechanics, improved familiar gameplay elements, and a mix of genres…
Arknights is a brilliant way to bring back tower defense in a sci-fi environment, with many new mechanics, improved familiar gameplay elements, and a mix of genres. It contains all from strategy, RPG, gacha, and card collector gameplay elements and uses it all to benefit the main tower defense premise. It also supplements it all with an engaging story, where Arknights happens in a world not too different from what our Earth could grow into. And, the premise of a virus that has plunged humanity into chaos is just weird timing, since we did deal with a similar pandemic in 2020. We recommend this title to all people who like tower defense games, despite the stamina limit which does lead to a soft paywall according to some players from the community, but only if you play it extensively.
How to improve your gaming experience and gameplay…
Note: Use the button “GUIDES” in the lower right corner to jump back to this section.
We’ve given you our impression of Arknights and we are featuring the game in our site, dedicating a special section to guides, tips, and tricks. The base we create is intended to grow as we will follow the further development of the game, while we also compiled guides we produced and found among other community sources, like Reddit, etc… We will cover stuff about the gameplay which usually requires help and we have also found frequently asked questions the players pose about the game.
Use links below to jump to the guide sections. Use links in the lower right corner to jump back.
- How to use a drill plan?
- How to reroll?
- How to get orundum?
- How to get distinctions?
- How to get top operator tag?
- How to get originium?
- How to get chips?
- How to change auto deploy?
- How to increase trust?
- How to add friends?
Drill Plan is important in Arknights because they enable you to simulate battles for your operators so that they can adjust their strategy accordingly, ahead of time. The more drilled the characters are, the more situations they are prepared for, like enemy ambushes, fighting in different surroundings, and stuff like that. Drill Plan can be used before you do a quest to practice and increase your chances of success, before spending Sanity on a failed attempt. This is incredibly important in the late game as Sanity becomes a scarce resource and some players are often forced to spend real money in-game to recover it.
Rerolling in Arknights is the same as it is in most of the other gacha card collector game, where you unlock or collect characters or fragments for unlocking. However, there are some cunning players among this game’s community, Reddit, and other sources that have refined the method to a higher level. In one case, a player uses Nox emulator to play Arknights on PC and he opens 4 windows of the emulator, running 4 different versions of the game. One is his main account, while the other 3 are guest logins. You need to clear the second stage on all quest accounts, which awards you with 3800 orundum in your mailbox, along with some other rewards. This gives you enough resources for a 10x pull with others you get at the start. Then you go to the headhunt tab on each of the Nox emulators and then just roll all of them. The results are up to you and the entire reroll tutorial video is below:
Orundum is one of the premium resources in the game, and it’s The Red One. It is used to pull the gacha, costing you 600 Orundum for a single pull (3.3 Originium), while 10x pull costs 6000 orundum (33.3 Originium). However, unlike Originium, Orundum is obtained a lot easier and more frequently, from stuff as:
- Daily missions (100)
- Weekly missions (500)
- Annihilation mode (1200 to 1700 with Annihilation 3)
- Factory production
- Free 5,800 Orundum every fourteen days
- Originium exchange (1:180)
It is best to always have 6000 Orundum for 10x pull for every new banner because each new banner has a guaranteed 5 Star character. You can do this roughly once every two weeks. This means that in the space of two weeks and with the 5800 free originium, you only need 200 more for a 10x pull which yields a 5-star character in the worst-case scenario. If you are unlucky, you might need to purchase the extra 200. The best thing is to plan and see which Operators you want for your team.
DCs (Distinction Certificates or the yellow resources) are rewards from logging into the game, character recruitment, and headhunting. One Distinction (DC) is earned when you pull any unit for the first time, while you will be awarded 5 DCs for the first 5 duplicate 5-Star operators. After that, this increases to 8 DC for each duplicate character thereafter, while the first 5 duplicate 6-star characters will yield 10 DC, increased to 15 DC after that. When you trade an Operator Token in for a 4, 5, or 6-star character, you will be awarded 1, 5, or 10 DCs accordingly. DC can purchase you lots of things, among them, are:
- 1 Operator with 6 Stars (Pool Banner rotation)
- 1 Operator with 5 Stars
- As much as 38 Headhunting Tickets monthly
According to the Reddit Arknights community, it is best to spend DC on rare characters, according to your preferences. You should save for the characters you plan to obtain according to the team comp you plan on having. You can see which Operators with 5 and 6 Stars will rotate for purchase in the Banner List. The Operator in the middle of 5 Star characters will be purchasable with DCs. Among the 6-Stars Operators, you will be able to purchase the one in the back for DCs.
However, if you are not sure how best to spend your Distinction Certificates, don’t. Save them! You can also purchase up to 5 Headhunting Permits, and each new set you unlock is better than the previous deals, so only go for them if you plan on buying all sets in one given month, which will cost you 258 DC and yield 38 Headhunting permits. DCs are also earned well through recruitment.
Recruitment is a vital part of Arknights, and you can recruit new characters in two ways, via Headhunting or Recruitment. Headhunting is how Arknights call the usual gacha method or obtaining characters with random ticket pulling and spending premium currency. However, Recruitment is an interesting method, innovative for the gacha genre. You can use your LMD and Recruitment Tickets for a semi-random change for a new Operator. It is “semi-random” because you get to have some say in the matter and set some input. This can yield you 6-star operators.
The parameters you can set for the Recruitment outcome are:
- Recruitment Period
There are 4 different operator tag categories:
- Qualification: Top, Senior, and Starter Operator
- Class: Vanguard, Guard, Defender, Caster, Sniper, Specialist, Medic
- Position: Ranged and Melee
Affix: DPS, Survival, Support, Debuff, Slow, Healing, Defense, DP recovery, AoE, Robot, Nuker, Crowd Control, Summon, Shift, Fast-redeploy
Tags change overtime so getting the Top Operator Tag is a matter of choosing it when it happens. You can choose recruitment time, which can go up to 9 hours, and every 10 minutes the tags will change. Longer time for recruitment increases the chance for higher rarity Operators and is more likely to keep you the Tags that you want, but it will cost more LMD. You can lose the tags you want with time or if you chose mutually exclusive Tags, like Medic and Guard or Melee and Ranged. Recruitment can be completed immediately by spending your Expedited Plan, which yields you the full results.
Originium is the rarest resource in Arknights, the game’s premium currency. And, as it is traditional in similar gacha collector games, it is awarded rarely and mostly purchased for real money. However, if you can play for free and still get the originium you need if you remember to save it and spend it only when you get the most value.
Originium is awarded from every stage you clear with 3 stars for the first time. However, Originium is the same thing as Originite Prime, with them being used interchangeably and are the Yellow Ones. You can buy Operator outfits, some packs, replenish Sanity (stamina), or trade it for Orundum (1:180). Mostly, players from Arknights community save up Originium for Operator Outfits, but if you don’t care about cosmetics, just save them for later as sanity replenishment and pulls become the most important things in the late game.
Class chips are obtained from Chip Missions, which can be done daily. They have a specific schedule rotation too, so not all chip missions will be available every day. Chips earned are used to promote your characters i.e. operators, so they are crucial for in-game progression. Each class in Arknights has its chip that is titled after the class, like Vanguard Chip, Guard Chip, etc…
Auto battle is activated with a tap on the checkbox, which is available for a certain mission only after you first clear it with a 3-star rating. After that, the checkbox will appear in the mission info. You need to clear the stage if you are to get all 3 stars, killing all enemies. Furthermore, unlocking the Auto-Battle feature requires you to complete the TR-6 mission. Once you get that done, you need to clear each mission with 3 Stars to use the Auto-Battle feature.
Trust is increased at your base of operations. You need to check up on all your operators daily for their trust to increase. It will be indicated with a bubble that will appear above the character with which you can then increase trust. You just tap the bubble and nothing more.
With many new players pouring into Arknights, Reddit is flooded with loads of questions about core gameplay. While most guides focus on advanced mechanics and stuff for mid to late game, beginners often need help with various things. It is best to make friends fast in-game, as you can solve most of your conundrums simply by conversing with other players and on Reddit of course. Adding a friend is simple, but first, you need to complete the TR-5 story tutorial mission.
- Tap the name in the search bar
- Tap your friend
Friends can visit each other’s bases, which will enable searching for clues. Clues are bound in the Reception Room and you can attend the Investigation as well as parties you or your friends host, which will reward both with Friend Credits that can be exchanged at the shop for valuable stuff.