When I first played Final Fantasy Tactics, I didn't know what the hell was going on. The dialogue texts were too small and the characters moved on their own. It wasn't exactly the nicest introduction to a tactics-style gameplay.

The Alchemist Code, a tactical mobile RPG by Fuji&Gumi and Gumi Inc., does the exact opposite. Even after walking you through the basics, it still takes the time to teach you new tricks the further you delve into the story.

The game comes with voice acting, 3D sprites and environments, and fancy attack animations. It even features an expansive lore that rivals the likes of JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion.

The game also features the staples of tactical RPGs. It doesn't have the same depth of Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, Fire Emblem, or even Disgaea, but what could you expect from a mobile game? What The Alchemist Code has instead are crystals that can be obtained normally or through micro-transactions. These crystals unlock a random unit for you to include to your team.

This makes team customization quite a challenge when you don't receive the exact units you want. This doesn't mean unlocking new characters is not fun. If you have ever purchased loot boxes from Overwatch or bought card booster packs for a trading card game, The Alchemist Code induces the same euphoria.

The game holds special live events and would soon offer multiplayer, which will see to the development of a community. Besides story-related quests, you're free to do random battles to earn rewards for your efforts.

I am not impressed with the story, which involves two best friends who have gained supernatural powers and end up fighting for having different beliefs. It's an exhausted cliché, and even as things begin to escalate, the story becomes a little predictable and fails to hold my interest.

While the story is the most uninteresting thing about the game, the actual gameplay is pretty good. The Alchemist Code suffers from a drawback of constant patches. It's frustrating and kills the pace of the game. Even after downloading all the content, the game will continue to check and load it constantly, which means you need to stay connected to the internet in order to play the game.

Even with the Google Pixel 2 I used to review the game (which sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and four gigs of RAM), it still took minutes for the title to load.

This isn't to say The Alchemist Code is not fun. If you're into tactical RPGs, have a certain love for board games, or are feeling nostalgic, then The Alchemist Code is a solid game to spend time on.

About the author: Jon Castillo

Jonathan is hiding from a lynch mob after messing with the wrong basketball team. His favorite song is "Boys do Fall in Love" by Robin Gibb.

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