In this game, you are the commander of a fleet of battle-ready ship girls with one clear goal of defeating the forces of evil that arise from deep below. That’s right it’s Azur Lane!
What!? You thought it was Kantai Collection? There’s no way it could be that…right?
Kidding aside, let’s talk about this game that’s sailing smoothly in the mobile game world. Sally Go!
What is Azur Lane?
Azur Lane is a Chinese mobile shooting game developed by Manjuu and Yongshi, and is published by bilibili for both iOS and Android. The game launched in May 2017. It also has a Japanese version under Yostar which launched just this September. This game is one of the many popular games released by China and one of the few which gets Japanese release. If I were to describe it in a dumber way, then Azur Lane is a “moe bullet hell mobile game with ship girls”. The game is really popular in Japan and for good reasons, which I will present.
Ships Become Girls!?
At the core of this game lies the main stars of the show: Ship Girls. Similar to how Kantai Collection, the characters in the game are the moe anthropomorphisms of World War II ships. These girls are then placed in a fantasy world where they belong in factions that represent their country. American ships for example are from the Eagle Union while Japanese ships are from the Sakura Empire. The nationality of the ships play a big role in this game as one might expect. There are mechanics in the game where your fleet is a lot stronger when girls of the same nation are in it.
Azur Lane follows a bit loosely the characters’ historical counterpart. Some of their skills are based on their achievements in the past, and their voice lines may give a hint of what they went through historically.
Boatloads of Fun
Although collecting all the ship girls is still a big part of the enjoyment, the gameplay itself is loads of fun. As stated earlier, Azur Lane is a bullet hell kind of game. Naturally, girls that represent ships should be able to fire their big guns right?
In Azur Lane, the player is able to control a fleet of six ships with 3 in the front as the escort fleet and 3 in the back as the main fleet. You will have full control of movement with the escort fleet while your main fleet sits back and prepares their cannon barrages or air strikes, of which you have control of when to fire. Your flagship, which is the character you must protect in order to not lose, is in the main fleet. In order to win, you must be able to sink the enemy flagship while protecting yours. More specifically, your ships must avoid all the projectiles and explosions in order to not sink while firing your own bullets and torpedoes at the enemy in order to sink them.
Backyard – A Home For Waifus
The Backyard system is a way for the players to help level their ship girls while afk. Admirals are given a plot of land to develop on their own in order to give the ship girls a place to stay and relax (while gaining exp). Players of the IM@S mobile games might find this familiar. In most instances aside from their official in-game art, your ship girls are actually these cute little chibi sprites. What better place to admire their smallness than a house made just for them! There’s a wide variety of furniture to choose from and purchasing one increases the happiness of your girls.
Affection System – Love Your Boats
As you continue to play with your ship girls, they will build affection for you. As they grow to like you more, their lines when you poke them change. Once you reach love MAX then you know what happens~
Like every good admiral, you should marry your boats. All of them.
So It’s Like Kantai Collection Right?
Yes, and no. The only real similarity Azur Lane has with Kantai Collection is that it is a game about ship girls and with it come the obvious mechanics to a waifu collecting game. When it comes down to the gameplay, then Azur Lane becomes completely different from its predecessor. When asking people who have played both games, a common answer that would differentiate between the two is that “KC is 100% RNG-reliant while AL isn’t.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement since combat-wise, Azur Lane provides the player with a lot more control of decisions and actions as opposed to the sit-and-watch Kancolle. There are a lot more differences if one were to nitpick every detail but the point is that they look the same but feel different.
Play Azur Lane!
Overall, the game is very fun and if you’re a mobage player like me, then this game is worth your time. The characters are cute, cool, sexy, and overall well-designed. There’s even an in-game popularity poll to tell you whether you have good taste or not. There’s a healthy mix of good combat and waifu collection. And perhaps the deal maker for most mobage: You don’t have to spend a dime. Unlike EA games, no aspect of this game will force you to spend in order to proceed.
Your boats are waiting, go and play Azur Lane!