Historically, it’s hardly been a rare occurrence for the Japanese games market to look almost completely different from those of the rest of the world. While easy internet access and converging technologies have brought previously distinct regions together, Japan is still often marching to the beat of its own drum. The mobile market is another fine example of that. To look at the Japanese App Store charts is to see almost an entirely different group of games than you might see elsewhere. Many of these games never get an English release, and when they do, they rarely catch on. The latest to try is Fate/Grand Order (Free), a social RPG/visual novel hybrid that has been tearing up the charts in Japan since its release nearly two years ago.
The story is pretty complicated and I’m not going to try to explain it here because it will only end in tears. But basically, humanity will become extinct in the year 2019 unless a special group dedicated to guarding our species is able to fix things. This wasn’t supposed to happen, though. Something went wrong in the past, and so the time travel machines are fired up, and everyone is off to the races. That’s… that’s as simple as I can make it. Sorry. Anyway, story is a big part of Fate/Grand Order. You’ll be doing turn-based battles, of course, but there’s a huge amount of text in this game, all presented in the style of a visual novel.
I haven’t spent much time playing this one yet, but I can at least say that for a game to do as well as this one has in Japan, there must be something special to it. You don’t have to wait for my word, though. It’s free to download, and from what I’ve heard the game is quite easy to enjoy without backing up a dump truck full of money into it. I’ll be giving it a good go-through and if it turns out to be really cool, we might have a review for it later. Enjoy!