AFK Journey Review: Gacha At Its Greatest

Mobile game companies make truckloads of money on gacha games. It’s no secret, and that’s most definitely why mobile app stores are absolutely flooded by games in that genre. Despite their prevalence, many of these games prove to be throwaway experiences for the vast majority of people, finding success in the few “whales” the game manages to hook for the long term.

However, while low-quality gacha games are a dime a dozen, there are a few shining examples of the genre – games that actually feel like games and not just a gaping maw siphoning all your money with the promise that you’ll eventually get a character you like in return.

I played one of those games recently, and came away very impressed with what was presented to me. So now, let’s get into this game and see what makes it great, where it falters, and ultimately whether or not it’s worth your time in this review of AFK Journey on iOS.

Going AFK

AFK Journey is a mobile RPG/gacha game that was developed by FARLIGHT studio and Lilith Games. FARLIGHT is the maker of Farlight 84 and Dislyte, while Lilith Games is known for Rise of Kingdoms, Soul Hunters, and AFK Arena – the title AFK Journey was spun off from. In fact, the game’s website bills it as an RPG created by the original AFK team. So if you’re invested in AFK Arena at all, you’ll feel right at home here.

AFK Journey game review
AFK Journey lets youAFK while doing other daily stuffs

Thankfully, AFK Journey also possesses the quality of the titles from both companies.

A Rocky Start

Kicking off AFK Journey, there were a few issues I encountered.

This is a pretty large game by smartphone standards and requires a download for game assets before you can actually begin playing. You’ll be presented with two options – one for a smaller, more reasonably-sized download to get things off the ground, and a much larger, over 2 gigabyte download for the full package. If you want to experience AFK Journey in all its glory, the full download is required.

That would be fine, and it’s not even something uncommon in more modern games with App Store size limits and all that. However, the real issue popped up during that download process.

Despite having more than enough storage, the game made me back out of the app to “free up space” three separate times before it finished. It was strange, and it added extra time to an already lengthy download period as I waited to play the game.

This experience put me on edge slightly, but I was pleasantly surprised when everything was downloaded, decompressed, and installed – a process that took upwards of 10 minutes.

The Adventure Begins

AFK Journey sets the stage with an intro cinematic that explains a little bit about the world and the main protagonist/player character. It’s nothing groundbreaking, just generic fantasy trappings, but they’re presented in a way that I found to be fun and engaging.

Following the intro, you’re given the opportunity to customize your character. You can choose between a man and a woman, there are several hair, face, and clothing options, and that’s about it. Again, nothing too extensive, but just enough to make you feel like your character is truly your own.

Character customization in Mobile game AFK Journey
Character customization in Mobile game AFK Journey

After that, it’s a whirlwind of character and mechanic introductions along with the presentation of a dire situation that only you can fix as the protagonist. Surprisingly, all of the main characters are fully voice-acted, and each one has a unique personality that makes them pretty endearing.

Especially Chippy, the chipmunk warrior who serves the protagonist as a familiar. He’s very cute, and he pulls a face in a moment of drama towards the end of the opening scenario that made me actually laugh out loud. Instantly lovable, as are most of the other characters you meet in the first five or so minutes of AFK Journey.

There’s likely hundreds of hours of gameplay here and so I definitely didn’t complete it, but just from the opening hours I would say that AFK Journey’s narrative feels like it would be worth seeing to the end.

Now, let’s talk about gameplay.

Fantasy Battles Galore

As you meet new characters throughout the game, they will be added to your party and become available for use in combat. I saw maybe seven characters in my time with the game, but some quick research reveals that there are actually just under fifty characters to recruit and fight with. They all look incredibly interesting with their own unique powers, as you would expect from a gacha game.

Jumping into combat, I found it to be effective for the style of mobile game it is, although I do wish it was more engaging.

All fights take place on a grid where the player has an opportunity to arrange their units before the battle begins. Different warriors have different abilities with different ranges and attack patterns, which makes this initial process pretty important and strategically deep as fights get more complex and require more nuance.

However, once the fight begins, everything just… goes. All of the characters auto-attack, although they do have special moves you can activate when enough meter has been built up. The success of a battle in my experience with the game really just came down to whether or not the enemy was too many levels above you, and if you had your fighters in the optimal positions.

Battles are started automatically and run on auto mode as well
Battles are started automatically and run on auto mode as well

The combat is pretty hands-off, but I think this is also where the “AFK” portion of the title comes from, which is old-school gamer slang for “Away From Keyboard”. At any rate, the mix of flashy effects and the occasional cinematic for the special attacks keeps things interesting, and I was definitely motivated to keep playing after each battle.

Now, as with every mobile game, we need to talk about microtransactions.

Magical Mini Buys

In AFK Journey, there are two currencies – Diamonds and Dragon Crystals.

Diamonds are used to upgrade your characters and improve their abilities, while Dragon Crystals are used to make purchases on the store – where you can buy things like cosmetics, different bundles that contain currency and the game’s equivalent of loot boxes, and diamonds.

Dragon Crystals and bundles are the only things that can be purchased with real-world money, and prices are in line with what you would expect from other gacha games. Packs of Dragon Crystals range from 99 cents to 99 dollars, and the bundles seem to provide good value for what they offer. For players who get heavily invested in the game, there is also a tiered subscription that provides bonuses for the duration of a month.

Again, all things we’ve seen before, but they do feel noticeably well-thought-out and well-presented here.

BRB, Gonna Go Play More AFK

If you had any doubts about giving AFK Journey a shot, I would say they are unfounded. The game is well-made, fun to play, and I can see how it could be addicting to the right kind of player. It’s definitely worth your time among the wealth of options you have for mobile gacha games, just make sure you keep your spending in check!


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Fungies helps game developers create their own storefronts or marketplaces to sell directly to players. Web2 and Web3 compatible. helps game developers create their own storefronts or marketplaces to sell directly to players. Web2 and Web3 compatible.

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