SINoAlice, the signature mobile RPG developed by Pokelabo, is quite a fantasy adventure that takes players to a dark fairy tale full of twists and turns. Thanks to famous director Yoko Taro, who is also known to create an emotion-stirring world in the Nier Series, SINoAlice is completed with a tale that is unique on its own, full of prominent characters that are a bit different from what you’ve heard in your bedtime stories.
As one of the pioneers of 2D real-time RPGs, SINoAlice keeps evolving with new dolls and stages and encourages players to try on different tactics and team compositions. It also explains why it is still one of the most popular mobile titles worldwide since its first launch in Japan in 2017.
▍A Twisted Tale of Wonderland
Once your start, SINoAlice takes you straight to its dark fantasy world with a creepy greeting of two spooky puppets who like to talk, quite a lot. The two dolls, Parrah and Noya, will guide you through this twisted world, as well as your first 11 summons of weapons and classes, and be noted that this tutorial summons can be rerolled indefinitely so that you can get the best weapons/ classes to start with.
SINoAlice takes place in a dimension called Library which is neither reality nor fiction but somewhere between them both. The world is full of stories, be it full of happiness, sorrow, or death and despair. In the world of SINoAlice, all famed characters from the fairy tales have their own desire and would love to re-play or re-write their stories for a different ending.
The story is presented in a classic one-way dialogue system where both the creepy dolls speak in an animated and erratic way to create a mysterious ambiance, on top of its suspenseful and dramatic BGMs.
To further enrich the story experience, Yoko Taro has done an exceedingly good job by showcasing a creative and personal take on individual stories for the fairy tale characters, such as Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Alice, and Little Mermaid, the name that is well known to all. What makes it interesting is that the plot of SINoAlice is not just a single story, but a mixture of different tales for all of its characters. It is also possible for the player to rewrite their fate as you proceed.
The animations in between the character’s story impress with amazing detail and quality which definitely adds to the gaming experience. The overall storytelling of SINoAlice is quite engaging, but it can be a bit slow, especially for those who aren’t particularly interested in story-based games.
▍Classic Real-Time Combat
We wish we could have praised the combat system of SINoAlice as we did on its storytelling, but the classic command-based system may be a bit out of date considering that we have a lot of selections nowadays. Generally, the game system requires players to choose and tap manually from a list of spells for each character and the character will perform the skill, which consumes their SP. Players can also summon Nightmares to provide various buffs for their party or to inflict debuffs on their enemies.
The game mechanics don’t really have the depth that we expect from a game of this caliber. But it does have all the basic elements found in the classic RPGs, such as players can deal more damage to enemies if the element of their weapon has an element advantage over the enemy. The game also has a handy AUTO battle mode that practically does all the work for you once you build your team with the right characters.
▍Fight with Beauties & the Beasts
SINoAlice is not your traditional gacha game where players summon characters and take them directly to battles. Instead, the pool is mixed with weapons and nightmares, and you only have a small percentage acquire weapons along with a character. But even with this desperate gacha rate, the step-up gacha does guarantee the featured weapon at Step 5.
One of the reasons why you can’t help but keep collecting the beauties from SINoAlice f is that you can re-write their story with the acquired characters. Think about Snow White, Alice, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Kaguya, Rapunzel, and more, what if you can alternate their miserable fate? From time to time, these popular fairy tale characters will come with a new look and festive costumes, making them irresistible to waifu collectors.
All of the characters have been given a unique twist of their own so it doesn’t feel boring reading the same fairy tale stories. For example, we all know Red Riding Hood from the Little Red Riding Hood tale. If you think that she was a pure and innocent girl, you may want to reconsider things. In SINoAlice, Red Riding Hood is a crazed blood-hungry killing machine that only gets satisfied when she dances in the enemy’s blood.
▍The More Stats You Have, the Merrier It Gets
SINoAlice has a ton of features to make sure your characters are powerful enough to fend off the enemies. The game majorly relies on the stats of weapons that are equipped on your characters. Players can do so by simply leveling them up which is the main way to get stronger in SINoAlice. As a head-up, getting your team stronger involves a lot of farming and grinding, so it may not be perfectly suited to casual gamers.
Now that your team is stronger, you can take them to the Colosseum, a real-time 15-member Guild V/S Guild mode. In this game mode, players can strategize and make their moves against the enemies in real time. The primary 5 members, called Vanguards are the ones who use their skills actively while the secondary 10 members provide boosts for their primary 5 members with their skills and nightmares. Nonetheless, it gets quite competitive in the Colosseum, especially at the highest level where the timing and strategy matter a lot for perfect execution.
▍Is SINoAlice Worth Your Time?
The heartbreaking and thematic storytelling of SINoAlice keeps players engaged in its melancholic worldview. The combat mechanics of SINoAlice aren’t exactly flashy or graphically pleasing but they are easy to grasp and serve as a beginner’s lesson for those who are new to this genre.
The game does have a nice collection of beautifully designed fairy tale characters with new ones being added almost every 2 weeks. Collaboration with popular series is rather common in this game and you can even find some surprising collaborations, including the DC Comics and Sanrio Collaboration that gives an interesting look to the girls. The 2D graphics and story-based gameplay may not be every person’s cup of tea, but it is definitely a classic mobile title that one should at least gives a try.