Gacha is a Japanese term for “draw” and usually refers to the gachapon, the machine that releases the toys.
The Gacha game style has already taken over mobile games all around the world, but this phenomenon started in Japan with mobile games like Puzzle & Dragons back in 2012. Ever since then, gacha games have slowly but surely taken over the top-grossing charts and we’ve seen a lot of them reaching the West.
Gacha games are usually turn-based, involve characters with special abilities that you evolve and customize to make them stronger, and feature extensive teams that give you an edge during battles. In other words, they’re a combination of mobile-friendly elements from RPGs, strategy games, and collectable card games.
While it’s usually free to play game style, some gacha titles rely on selling in-game currency or items to take an edge over players who don’t spend money. Then again, you can jump into these gachas with no problems if you’re not into that.
Here are the best gacha games out there, roughly sorted by their release date!
12 Best Gacha Games for Android and iOS
1. 8-Bit Heroes
A pixel art game with JRPG elements, 8-Bit Heroes offers you the chance to control your team of heroes as you explore dungeons and fight other players all around the world for loot. There are also events, fusion options, and more to keep you busy with this game completely free to play.
2. Brave Frontier 2
Brave Frontier was already one of the most successful gacha games in Japan before it received a sequel that improved upon everything players loved about the original. Brave Frontier 2 has you travel to beautiful lands, meet interesting characters, and fight your way through turn-based battles. The game follows the same concept as most gacha games out there, with free summons for new heroes that can be levelled up to become even stronger during combat or added to your team of five.
3. Card Thief
A card-based stealth game by the makers of Card Crawl, Card Thief sees you become a thief in a fantasy-themed world where your goal is to steal the treasure without getting caught. A mix between strategy and solitaire, this one lets you move cards around to avoid guards while paying attention to their vision cones and hiding in shadows. If you do all that without making a single noise, you should be good to go!
4. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
The second mobile-exclusive Final Fantasy game on this list (so far!), Final Fantasy Brave Exvius takes us back to the fantasy realm where we’re hunting for all sorts of magical creatures as we fight our way through turn-based battles. While this one does have some gacha elements, it’s not a pay-to-win title by any means. In fact, I would say Final Fantasy Brave Exvius has the fairest gachas out there since summoning new units requires Lapis or premium currency which you earn from clearing quests, selling items, or by logging in every day.
5. Forge of Gods
The most recent release on this list, Forge of Gods has you collect all sorts of heroes to add to your team so you can take down the bad guys. The game features a card system similar to other gacha games where you can summon new units by spending mana stones. While free summons is the way to go here, there’s also an option for “premium summons” that cost money but don’t give you any sort of advantage during battles. Instead, these premium summonses help out big time with your daily events so you could say they’re actually quite fair!
Forge of Gods is available on Android.
6. Hero Generations
A pixel art strategy game in which you have one hundred in-game years to do whatever the heck you want, Hero Generations lets you wander around a procedurally generated world where everything has an expiration date. Your task is to build villages that will produce heroes for when it’s time for them to leave their home village and start settling somewhere else. Allowing your character to have children ensures that the next generation will be able to do this as well by keeping track of all previous descendants. While there are some gacha elements here, they’re rather mild because not only can you use real money to make upgrades at any point, but premium currency isn’t even necessary!
7. Hex: Card Clash
Not just a card game, but also a board game with dimensions! Hex: Card Clash first starts out as a free-to-play match 3 RPG where you have to strategically place cards of different elements on the grid field in order to win battles. You can move them around or even rotate them so they fit your needs best at any given time. Hex: Card Clash mixes all that up by adding a board game element. The map features five different hexagon-shaped spots where you can summon monsters, cast spells, use equipment, and more. It adds an extra layer of depth to an already great mobile experience that gets more complex as soon as your heroes level up and gain new abilities that change up your strategy.
Hex: Card Clash is available on PlayStation
8. The Hunt: Blood in the Sand
A third-person shooter where you have to fight zombies with a bow, The Hunt: Blood in the Sand puts you in a post-apocalyptic world where everyone wants to kill you because you’re immune to the zombie virus. It plays out like any other third-person shooter would but does something interesting by adding role-playing elements such as classes, levelling up, and talent trees. Instead of quickly using the same skill over and over again until enemies get knocked out, players can instead select from both active and passive abilities which cost energy points or mana points accordingly. Since there’s no real grinding involved in the game, this makes for a nice change of pace.
9. Pokémon Shuffle Mobile
The mobile version of Pokémon Shuffle, Pokémon Shuffle Mobile has you solve puzzles so you can capture all sorts of cute yet powerful monsters. You have to think carefully about how to match up gems in order to get combos that increase your damage output while also preventing enemies from attacking. It’s not just an ordinary match-three puzzler since you have to keep track of both your offensive power as well as your own health bar which can be reduced if you panic or are just plain bad at puzzle games. Fortunately, there’s no time limit to each so it’s possible to take all the time in the world to match gems and strategize.
10. Rise of the Kings: Tactics
An MMORTS that takes place at a medieval fantasy setting, Rise of the Kings: Tactics focuses on one-on-one matches which you play by taking turns with your opponent while thinking carefully about where you’ll move each of your units. It’s important to scout out what happens when you play cards because each unit has different abilities depending on whether it’s standing, fortified, or in full attack mode. Do well enough and this game will even give you free packs of cards via daily rewards! There are also various quests for players to complete such as playing 5 PvP battles or winning 3 PvP battles with one of each hero type.
11. Tap Titans 2
If you want something more casual where you don’t have to think that much about strategy, Tap Titans 2 might be for you! This game takes place in a medieval fantasy world where players must fight monsters by simply tapping on them over and over again until they’ve been defeated.
To make things even easier, various heroes can join your party so aside from tapping away at monsters, there are also skills that can be activated when tapped upon as well. There’s tons of stuff to do in this game such as collecting pets which range from all sorts of cute creatures to powerful beasts that will enemies automatically if they’re within range. Tap Titans 2 is available on Android and iOS.
12. Valour And Glory
Valour & Glory takes place in a medieval fantasy setting where players have to manage their kingdom while fighting the big baddies that come knocking at your door. Since this game has many elements of strategy games, it’s important to think before you act because every decision you make can come back to haunt you.
The artwork for this game is amazing too, with each character model looking realistic enough to be believable but also cartoonish enough so they don’t look too serious. This makes it great for gamers of all ages, especially those who are fond of the genre since there’s something here that everyone will enjoy. Valour & Glory is available on Android and iOS.
If you’re looking for a change of pace from the typical strategy games that are out there, then The Hunt: Blood in the Sand might be just what you need. This game is all about being quick on your feet and thinking outside of the box to create combos that do more damage than usual without sacrificing defence.
If this sounds like something up your alley or if it’s not quite enough to challenge you, consider trying Pokémon Shuffle Mobile instead. In this puzzle-based MMORPG, players have to think carefully about how they match gems so their offensive power goes up while also keeping an eye on health points too! With no time limit either, players can take as much time as needed before making decisions that will ultimately decide whether they win or lose