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10 Best Gacha Games for 2023

Daniel Horowitz
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Gacha gaming is growing into a major part of modern gaming. Japanese developers pioneered the format, but Chinese, Korean, and Western developers are all jumping on the trend.
But what is gacha gaming? And why is it so popular? We answer those questions and more in this article, and we provide our list of the best mobile gacha games to play in 2023.

What is gacha gaming?

Gacha games use a free-to-play monetization strategy similar to collectible card games or gambling. They were initially created for Japanese audiences, and are named after the popular Japanese gashapon vending machines.
These machines allow you to pay money for the chance to win a random toy capsule. But unlike claw vending machines, they don’t require any player input or skill. The purpose of gashapon is to collect the toys. And the rarer the toy, the more valuable it is.
Gacha games expand on this model within the world of mobile gaming. In gacha games, you can buy virtual currency to acquire new items, characters, and collectibles. You can often acquire the currency by playing the game, but it occurs at a slower rate than purchasing the currency outright with real money.

Top 10 gacha games

The gacha system is complex, and there are many different types of gacha games. Many are based on existing IP and aim to bring in new players to that franchise. However, there are plenty of good gacha games that exist in their own world.
Here are our picks for the top gacha games to play today.

1. Genshin Impact

It's impossible to discuss popular gacha games without highlighting Genshin Impact. Within a year of its release in September 2020, the game grossed $2 billion from player spending on its mobile version, edging out popular mobile titles like Pokémon GO.
Genshin Impact's popularity stems from its amazing visuals and resemblance to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the popular Nintendo Switch title. Genshin is an open-world action RPG that sets the standard for gacha games. It utilizes party-based combat mechanics to help you combine elemental magic, skills, and attacks for maximum impact. The game also features an array of characters, many of which you can buy through gacha elements.

2. Fire Emblem Heroes

Fire Emblem is one of Nintendo's most popular and long-running franchises. In addition to releasing Fire Emblem: Three Houses on the Switch in 2019, Nintendo published a mobile gacha game spin-off in 2017 with Fire Emblem Heroes.
Unlike the mainline Fire Emblem titles, Fire Emblem Heroes allows you to play as characters from throughout the series' history on iOS and Android devices. The game borrows its tactical RPG elements from other Fire Emblem games, but you’re limited to only four characters at a time. You can purchase additional heroes, stamina, and quality-of-life items with orbs, which you can obtain through gameplay or by spending real-world money.

3. Langrisser Mobile

The Langrisser games were once largely overshadowed by bigger titles, including the aforementioned Fire Emblem series. However, with the move to a gacha format, Langrisser Mobile breathes new life into the franchise. It also helped to develop interest in the earlier Langrisser games.
Unlike many iOS and Android gacha games, Langrisser Mobile does not reduce its sense of scale to work on these platforms. It serves as a direct sequel to previous games in the series and includes a sprawling story mode with more than 30 chapters. It also allows you to go back in time with the Time Rift feature to play through the maps and story of the original Langrisser games.
Unlike most games on this list, you can play through a lot of the story without using in-game currency to shore up your stamina and character list. Plus, the game is very generous with how it hands out in-game currency, so you don’t have to spend too much real-world money to play at a higher level.

4. Azur Lane

Azur Lane is a side-scrolling shooter that uses elements of the Pacific War of World War II to focus on ship-based combat. You can unlock more than 500 different warships through the gacha system, which allows you to reenact some of the most iconic battles from that era.
The warships are all "moe anthropomorphic" versions, which means they appear as cute anime characters. They serve as representations of ships from the United States Navy, Royal Navy, Imperial Japanese Navy, and Kriegsmarine. If you want to combine your love of anime and history, Azur Lane is a must play.

5. Pokémon Masters EX

Set on the fictional island of Pasio, Pokémon Masters EX features many of the elements of the classic Pokémon games like collecting gym badges and Pokémon battles. You play as an unnamed trainer, and you can team up with other trainers for 3 vs. 3 battles through the sync pair system. These trainers include popular franchise characters including Brock, Misty, and Professor Oak.
Like other Pokémon games, your goal is to become the league champion. You can unlock additional pocket monsters through a gacha system, though you can also earn them through limited-time events and co-op multiplayer events.

6. Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes

Disney has found success in the gacha genre with Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, which was developed by EA. The game is wildly popular and grossed $1.4 billion across more than 100 million downloads.
In Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, you fight in simulated holographic turn-based RPG battles that you select within a cantina. There are different modes to play, including a light side character campaign, a dark side character campaign, and galactic battles. You can also form guilds to take on raids with other players.
There are many different characters to unlock from the franchise's history, including those from the official canon and the pre-Disney Legends canon. You can unlock these characters by participating in various events or purchasing randomized data packs.

7. Marvel Strike Force

Disney's second foray into the gacha genre is the highly successful Marvel Strike Force. In this game, you’re tasked with forming squads of heroes and villains to take on the legions of Ultimus, a Kree warrior. Using team-based RPG mechanics, you can assemble 5 of your favorite Marvel heroes from a pool of more than 170 mainstream and obscure characters.
The game regularly features events to coincide with movie releases, including huge battles related to "Avengers: Infinity Wars" and "Avengers: Endgame." You can utilize all of the different characters within these fights and the game's 5 modes: arena, blitz, raids, challenges, and alliance war.

8. Dragon Ball Legends

"Dragon Ball" is arguably the most popular anime franchise of all-time. Adding to that legacy, Dragon Ball Legends boasts fast-paced, real-time combat with classic combos and moves from the anime. The game's main character is an amnesiac Saiyan named Shallot from the ancient past, who was created and designed by series creator Akira Toriyama.
The game has a detailed tournament plot that follows Shallot entering the Tournament of Time, which features appearances by series mainstays Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks. You will also encounter and have the ability to unlock characters from throughout the franchise's history, including obscure characters from the Dragon Ball GT anime.

9. Dragalia Lost

Dragalia Lost is an original fantasy action-RPG co-developed and published by Nintendo and created exclusively for iOS and Android. Set in the kingdom of Alberia, the game features dragons and humans living together. It follows several characters as they fight to save their kingdom and a peace-seeking prince named Euden.
While Dragalia Lost is similar mechanically to other gacha games, it’s that Nintendo polish that makes it so notable. It also boasts crossovers with many popular gaming series, including Fire Emblem, Mega Man, Persona 5, and Monster Hunter.

10. Raid: Shadow Legends

Raid: Shadow Legends is an expertly made gacha game that’s grittier and more realistic than many other games in the genre, thanks to its dark fantasy setting and Western-style animation. It also features a plot from author Paul C.R Monk, known for his historical fiction series The Huguenot Chronicles.
Like other gacha games, Raid: Shadows Legends uses turn-based RPG mechanics and has more than 300 characters to unlock. Unlike many other gacha games, though, the characters have unique animations and distinctive traits and personas to create a much more fleshed-out experience.

Summary

Gacha games are only poised to become more popular in 2023 and the years to come. If you’re yet to try one, now is the perfect time to dip your toe into the gacha waters.
Keep in mind that some gacha games include more aggressive monetization strategies than others, and know that you don’t necessarily need to spend actual money to play them. If you’re keen to start playing, consider Genshin Impact and Fire Emblem Heroes to see which style of gacha game is the best fit for you.

About the Author

Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.

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