It’s rare that one finds a good mobile JRPG, and it’s even rarer when the free ones are fun. I mean, some of you probably tuned out as soon as you got to the word mobile. But I’d think twice about doing that with Phantomgate, the new free JRPG-slash-Platformer-slash-Monster Raiser from Netmarble and Level9. There’s no competitive play in Phantomgate, but the game still runs with an energy mechanic and in-game currency that quickens your monsters’ (Phantoms) rise to power. Aside from these two main mobile antiquities and annoyances, Phantomgate is rife with production value, solid turn-based combat mechanics, an interesting store, and tons of progression systems.
You play Astrid, daughter of the last Valkyrie, years after Odin went vengeful and wiped out his famed warrior class. The title will be launching soon on iOS and Android with Episode 1 – Midgard, telling the tale of Astrid’s own journey to recover her past, find out what happened to her mother, and fulfill her own destiny. Along the way, you’ll collect tons of Phantoms, raise them, help them get stronger, and play through over 60 side-scrolling levels filled with secrets and side quests.
Phantomgate is absolutely gorgeous with a look that’s part cel-shaded, part stained glass window, and it has the VO work and music to go with the high production values. Its art direction and animation help Phantomgate feel like a unique gem in a sea of also-ran RPGs on mobile. In fact, more than once I wound up wishing Level9’s game was on my Switch of PS4 as a downloadable title.
At launch, there’s roughly 10 hours of playtime which is quite a lot for a mobile game, though probably on the shorter end for folks looking for a lengthy JRPG. Replay value is added with bosses you can fight, monsters you can collect and level, and 4 other heroes besides Astrid to customize and level as well. In addition, Netmarble and Level9 plan on adding more episodes to Phantomgate to extend the story and add to the features. In a lot of ways, Phantomgate feels like a turn-based Odin’s Sphere, and that’s a really good thing, if you ask me.
It’s due out soon on both iOS and Android devices, and if you’re looking for a great JRPG on your phone, you’d be hard pressed to beat Phantomgate.