Chances are you play a mobile game, but do you have any Gacha games? These games use in-game currency to recruit or summon characters for you to use.

Characters from Fate/Grand Order, one of the most popular gacha games.
Fate/Grand Order, a popular Gacha game

Gacha games are named after the Gacha machines that are widely popular in Japan. For a small amount of money, you can purchase a little toy at random, with some being better than others. The contents of these range from children’s toys to 18+ card packs.

Mobile Gacha games work the same way. Players can ‘summon’ or ‘recruit’ characters to battle or perform, with each one having different stats. The luck aspect creates an addicting game that leaves a player wanting more. From personal experience, I have been sucked into every game in this list, wanting better and stronger characters after each summon.

Fate/Grand Order

Characters from FateGO on a summoning banner, where players can use in-game currency to recruit the characters.
Summon screen from FateGO

Fate/Grand Order is one of the most popular mobile games in the world! Earlier this year, FateGO passed Fortnite as the most tweeted about video game. It’s easy to see why, too; the game is simple to understand with simple combat. Players use their characters to battle their way through challenges while leveling them up. To fight, you pick a series of cards that dictate what the upcoming attack will be.

The Gacha game comes from the popular Fate anime/visual novel series. Characters from the show become ‘summonable’ as servants to fight alongside the player in the Holy Grail Wars. Most people (including myself) begin playing this after watching the anime. The most recognizable servant is Altria Pendragon or Saber. She is the female version of King Arthur and is a rare servant in the game. Almost every character in the game is based on a historical/mythical figure.

When I lived in Japan for a summer, I saw firsthand the impact of FateGO. The streets of Akihabara are filled with posters and figures of popular characters, with many shops only selling merchandise from the series.


Arknights summoning banner with popular characters.
Arknights summoning screen

Arknights is a newer mobile game, first released in May of 2019. Like FateGO, players summon characters to fight for them. The combat in Arknights is like tower defense. There are different characters, or operators, who can be strategically placed on the battlegrounds to ensure that no enemies get through to your side.

We just want to make a project with a modern style. In the beginning, we were considering the combination of anime-fantasy element and some modern trending elements, which is the direction we set at first. Specifically, we hope to follow the design concept of modernism, but also have the spiritual core of some classicism work.

Hai Mao, Arknights producer

Though there is no anime series for this game, there is an extensive amount of lore built-in. Playing through story quests and reading operator files helps players understand the intricate world of Arknights. The player takes on the role of the Doctor living in a post-apocalyptic world that has been plagued with a deadly disease.

This game also lets users create their own base. In the base, materials can be crafted to level up operators. The base is a favorite of mine; I quickly became addicted to creating a bigger and better base so my operators could become more powerful.

Love Live and Bang Dream

Idols from the group Aquors, promoting a crossover event.
Recent event

Love Live and Bang Dream are very similar, with Love Live being the more popular game. Similar to FateGO, both games have their own anime as well. There is no combat; instead, you recruit girls to perform songs with you.

Bang Dream deals with five bands (with more coming), each made of five members. The bands all have different styles, and players summon members to form their own 5-person band to perform songs on a screen that is similar to Guitar Hero. The bands have original songs, but also covers of popular songs. You can find “Cruel Angel’s Thesis” (Neon Genesis Evangelion), “Silhouette” (Naruto: Shippuden), and “Life Will Change” (Persona 5).

Gameplay from Bang Dream, set up like Guitar Hero.
Bang Dream game-play

Love Live deals with school idols. There are two groups with nine girls each that perform original songs. Both the groups (Muse and Aquors) have their own anime, with a few movies. Love Live has gained a lot of popularity in Japan too. While there, I noticed an immense amount of Love Live themed shops and arcades. The songs play almost everywhere you go.

The songs from both games are very catchy, making these games addictive. There are concerts with the Bang Dream bands and Love Live idols that you can watch. In these videos, you can see an enormous crowd cheering for the groups.

Dragalia Lost

Main characters from Dragalia Lost, posing in official art from the game.
Some of the main characters from the game

If you are looking for a cute Gacha game with awesome music, you have to try Dragalia Lost. Nintendo and Games teamed up to create this action RPG. Like FateGO and Arknights, players can summon characters to fight with. In addition to characters, dragons can also be summoned. Instead of an indoor base system, Dragalia Lost has a Halidom.

This is like a castle with facilities and a place to interact and take care of summoned dragons. The summoned characters walk around the grounds as well. This game seems similar to other Gacha games, but that is what makes it so popular. New events with new characters leave players wanting more. Dragalia Lost was only released in 2018; however, it was nominated “Portable Game of the Year” in 2019, just a year after release.

Cygames is incredibly generous with in-game currency. Players receive free currency with which to summon, motivating them to keep playing. Below, you will see another Cygames Gacha that is generous as well.

Granblue Fantasy

Scenic title screen from Granblue Fantasy, showing the world the game is set in.
Title Screen

In addition to making Dragalia Lost, Cygames also developed Granblue Fantasy. This game works a bit differently, though. Granblue Fantasy is a browser game. There is a version of this game on the Japanese app store; however, unless you live in Japan and know the language, you can’t download it. To play it in English, all you have to do is visit Granblue. The game is fully translated in English if you play it directly from the website.

Granblue has had popular crossovers, including events with Love Live and Persona 5. If you are still looking for a game with good music, Granblue Fantasy does not disappoint. 

Nobuo Uematsu, who composed music for the Final Fantasy series, helped write this soundtrack for this game. For a free browser game, Granblue has a tremendous amount of content. There is a lot of story, with tons of material and characters. Frequent events add even more content. The progression is slow, but that motivates players to continue and create the strongest units.

Quarantine seems never-ending, meaning that this is the perfect time to play a new mobile game. Every game listed is free, with the option to spend money. Of course, this is not necessary! I’ve been playing FateGO for a few years and have gathered a bunch of rare characters without spending loads of money.