Hello, and welcome back to another game post in a long time!

There are a lot of games that I previously wanted to cover, but did not have the time to actually write the thing down, but now that I can actually spend time writing stuff now, I'm going to resume checking out games that I find interesting! With that aside, let's try out Alice Fiction, a game that was released recently!

A puzzle RPG in a virtual world

The developer of this game, WonderPlanet, also developed Crash Fever (which also has ALICE!). Like Crash Fever, Alice Fiction's genre is described as a Puzzle RPG. I'm inclined to believe that Alice Fiction is at least a spiritual successor to Crash Fever, being set in the same world and all, if not an outright prequel.

The official PV with the worldview.

When you first open the game, rhythm game players will be able to identify easily the one detail that made me try out the game: the title screen music was composed by ginkiha. That ginkiha, a composer who is known for rhythm game songs like EOS. They also composed a lot of the soundtracks in the game, and that was reason enough for me to try out the game. Other composers in this game include Veneo Isrugi (did the sound director of Alice Fiction watch Elegant Sister?) and Hiroyoshi Kato, principal composer of Crash Fever.

Title screen
Very recommended to use headphones because there's ginkiha in this game.
Notice for the ability to reroll
They knew rerolls are gonna happen. 

ALICE in this game is the world the game is set in (the game used the term metaverse, the buzzword of the year). ALICE is divided into various areas based on function, like the Business Area or the Amusement Area. ALICE is protected by an AI called the Queen that acts as the virtual world's security force (Crash Fever also has a similarly named AI, but Crash Fever's Queen had turned Skynet mode, while Alice Fiction's Queen have not gone off the deep end yet).

Tutorial, introduction to ALICE
Akiba area.
Tutorial, Pronoun dialog
Pronouns! For a metaverse, this actually kinda fits. 

You, the player, tries to enter ALICE, but got interrupted by some kind of error (thanks, Queen!), and somehow lost all their memories. Then, there's the mandatory monster encounter, and your friend gets eaten. The tutorial guides through the basics of the game, which I will explain further along in this post.

After the tutorial, the first screen you will open after starting the game is the main menu screen. This is your hub to all the game offers.

Main screen
I'm not sure referencing "Lick me in the arse" is a good idea...

The characters in this game are called Folklores, and they're based on various historical and mythological figures (Crash Fever also has units based on historical  figures, and for the inevitable comparison to Fate/Grand Order, Crash Fever is released in the same month as F/GO, so Alice Fiction having such characters just being consistent with the world-view). Each has an element, which totals six of them: Fire, Wood, Earth, Water, Light, and Dark. It is similar to the six elements you can find in similar games, but with the green element being Wood instead of the more common Wind.

The leveling system is similar to Princess Connect Re:Dive (I did not expect to find that system in this game...). Each character's level is increased with tickets and limited to your current Rank at maximum, you can upgrade your character's "grades" that are basically equips, you can upgrade skills limited by the character's levels, and you can ascend characters with their "anima". Pretty standard stuff.

Character screen
This character is based on the musician Mozart. It should be obvious by now, though, because of that arse-licking reference.

You can bring a total of 6 characters to a fight, 4 main and 2 backup. Each character can equip a World Memory. World Memories enhances the character's stats and has a passive skill that affects them, and is upgraded by sacrificing other World Memories.

World Memory upgrade screen
Wait, I think this interface is more like Revue Starlight Re LIVE.

The gacha system is located in the straightforwardly named Gacha menu. You can pull. There are separate gacha pools for characters and World Memories. A 10-pull costs 3000 Quartz.

Gacha screen
The gacha menu has such a banger soundtrack (thanks ginkiha!)

The quests menu is where most of the main gameplay is located. You can access several modes that the game offers. At the moment of writing, there are functionalities in the Quests menu that I have not been able to access for now, such as Team Hunt.

Quests menu
There are a few inaccessible ones at the time of writing.

Main quests are where the main story takes place. There are two difficulty modes, Normal quests and Hard quests. These also work similarly to the system in Princess Connect Re:Dive, where you're able to get character "animas" to obtain or ascend characters. Skips are also available in this game, although it's a tad more verbose compared to other versions I tried.

Main quest screen
Stages intertwined with story, which is unlike Re:Dive. The latest game I played having a similar system is Artery Gear: Fusion.

The gameplay can be described in surprisingly simple terms: break blocks fast. There are four colors of Panels that correspond to each character on the team, determined by party position. Panels that are next to each other can be broken together. Breaking 3 or more Panels of the same color at the same time gives a Crash Skill Panel that can be activated by breaking it or stacked by breaking 3 or more Panels again with the particular Crash Skill Panel. The more Panels you destroy, the higher the damage you will deal.

I find that breaking Crash Skill Panels delays the timer by a bit, and while I cannot break Panels during that delay, it helps reading the incoming Panels and planning ahead immensely. Ensuring each character's Crash Skill is activated at least once is also helpful for dealing damage, since Crash Skill activations are in addition to normal attacks, so you're essentially able to deal damage twice. Simple-looking gameplay like breaking Panels can have a surprising amount of nuance to them!

Gameplay screen
I took a screenshot while the timer is ticking down. Yeah, it's hard.

Before each turn, you are able to inspect the battlefield, choose who do you want to target first, and activate characters' Active Skills. During the turn, it's breakin' time! You have a limited time window to break the Panels you need, and after you're done, your characters will unleash attacks and skills based on the Panels you break. There is also a limited amount of turns available per battle, so make sure your party deals enough damage!

Breaking blocks will charge a gauge, that will grant you access to the Support Command when full. Support Commands are powerful abilities that will greatly help you in your block-breaking quest. Support Commands can be activated before or during the breaking phase, and are randomly chosen.

This video has one of my favorite soundtracks from the game!

As with similar games, there's an Auto function available that automates the battle. However, I find it much slower than manually playing. If you are playing stages near your power rating, this can mean the difference between winning and losing. Because of that, between the effectiveness of manual control and the ability to skip stages, the most practical use that Auto has is for breezing through early event stages.

In my experience, the breaking Panels part is quite fun, although activating Active Skills is slightly more tedious than some of the other games I've tried due to requiring two presses. The cooldowns also make Active Skills more viable as a battle opener, as you will rarely activate a skill twice in one battle.

Alongside main quests, resource quests are available for farming EXP and credits. You are limited to 3 of each types of resource quest per day, so be sure to not miss it!

Resource quest screen
The obligatory farming stages.

Memory Search is a way to obtain World Memories without spending Quartz on the gacha. The system is closest to Arknights' recruitment system, where you choose the time spent searching, and use a Memory Key to start the search.

Memory Search screen
But where are those who share the memory?

The Underground is this game's Dungeon, where you descent a certain amount of stages while carrying over health from previous stages. You will sometimes need to build multiple characters, because one of your core characters got knocked out in a stage.

Underground screen
At earlier levels, this is pretty unforgiving. I literally lost half my party's HP on the first depth!

Battle Arena is the game's PvP system, which is also reminiscent of Re:Dive's own arena system. The battle in the Arena works a little bit differently than battles in regular Quests, since a character is not eliminated until they finish their turn, so they are still able inflict back damage to your party. This gives the opponent a chance to turn the tide, since they are in a disadvantage because you always go first. That's pretty thoughtful of them.

Battle Arena screen
It is Re:Dive's arena system. Kind of.

This game has a guild system, called Teams. You can contribute to your Team by giving them items, and get various perks in exchange, like stat boosts. The game's resource collector also resides on the Team, so joining one is very important.

Teams screen
Microsoft Teams

Fun puzzle RPG with fresh soundtrack

I've been playing Alice Fiction for a few days by now, and I'm starting to get the hang of the daily routine. In those days, I managed to unlock basically every mode offered in the game, completed all the main quests, and built a pretty solid team, thanks to the guaranteed 3* reroll banner in the beginning, and 4 10-pulls worth of Quartz as preregistration rewards.

The gameplay is hectic and quite fun, in the spirit of Crash Fever, although eventually you'll be reaching for the Auto button soon enough. However, playing manually is so much more effective in my opinion because Auto is quite slow for my standards.

The Re:Dive-like leveling and overall system gives an ability to quickly farm things you need, although a lot of good gacha games already have a similar system, so it can get a little bit boring after a while.

I've played a lot of gacha games with electronic music soundtracks recently, but Alice Fiction manages to keep its electronic music soundtrack fresh, having ginkiha on board as composer for a lot of the soundtracks in the game. ginkiha brought a fresh touch to the game's music that is different to other mobile games I've played, and sets it apart from Crash Fever's soundtrack.

In conclusion, Alice Fiction is a simple but hectic puzzle RPG with a fresh electronic music soundtrack. The gameplay is simple enough, and in the spirit of the developer's previous game, Crash Fever. Leveling and progression is familiar, but can get boring because of the amount of games having a similar system. The soundtrack, however, sets it apart from the rest. My opinion? I recommend trying out Alice Fiction, if not for experiencing hearing ginkiha music in a game at least once.



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