The game up on the plate for first impressions this time is Monster Hunter Riders, available for Japanese mobile devices on both iOS and Android. The gameplay preview prior gave off the impression of a mobile tactics game, so let’s see how close that is to the actual launch! For reference, the device used is the Pocophone F1.
You get thrown into the story, which you can play through some if you’ve opted to download the data to start. It uses 3D sprites on a 2D plane, and the story is unfortunately not fully voiced. As previewed, it’s a turn-based tactics game, with the turn order shown at the top of the screen.
You can do a normal attack, or any of the skills you have if you have enough SP. Tap on the attack or skill buttons, then the target, then confirm the action. If the skill hits a weakness, it’ll be displayed on the attack button. You can also hold down on the enemies to see their resistances too. Riders and their “Monsties” are levelled separately, nor do they get experience automatically from battle.
As is usually the case, clearing all side objectives for a mission will give you additional rewards. You have the main story quests, daily quests for resources and event quests. Obtain eggs of various Monsties from event quests, starting from 2-star rarities. Different Monsties will give their Riders different stats and resistances, and it looks like Riders can keep up to 10 on their person, though only the active one will provide the stats.
Obtain Riders from the gacha, which looks like you’re sharing a meal with them before recruiting! Duplicates of characters turn into shards of a sort, and characters can have lower rarities of themselves in the gacha as well. One handy thing Riders does is that rerolling is automatically built into the game, so you can keep resetting your first 10-roll until you’re happy with the result. It would seem this initial roll can only give one 5-star character, but you can just keep trying anyway until you confirm.
Riders also comes with an auto function, and auto continue for you to grind out those quests. The auto continue seems to be not fully implemented at time of writing because there’s no actual way to stop it if you want to. There are expeditions you can send Riders out for, where they will return after some time away with quest related rewards.
Other things you might want to note is that certain armours have also been redesigned to seemingly better fit the setting. Likewise, monster colourations can be more reminiscent of Monster Hunter Stories rather than their home console counterparts. These Riders have their own roles, like Offense, Defense, Support and Recovery, with specifics surely to be known later on.
Gacha has a 5% rate for 5-star characters, which is fairly generous. The most expensive currency pack, offering 4460 total currency, is at almost USD$110, or your regional equivalent. 1,000 currency is enough for a 10-pull.
From the current list of monsters available, we have:
- Yian Kut-ku
- Kecha Wacha
- Royal Ludroth
Depending on how you like your tactics games, at first impressions, Monster Hunter Riders isn’t particularly satisfactory. Something doesn’t quite click it for me for whatever reason. Maybe it’ll be different for series fans, so feel free to try it out for yourself.