By deriving tried and tested core game play mechanics from the Fire Emblem series, adding in new game mechanics and adding touch controls, Potk takes the tactical RPG genre one step further for mobile devices. I have tried most tactical turn based RPGs on the mobile platform and have not come across one which has such a high production value.Phantom of the Kill (Potk) sets a new standard for the turn-based tactical RPG genre by taking replicating the experience of playing a triple A handheld console game onto a mobile platform.
Potk’s story and environment is quite dark, which is natural given the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world.The game has a gorgeous art style, which will appeal to most anime lovers. To fully capitalize the beautiful art, the game features both 2D character portraits and 3D models for over 50 characters in the game. Much effort is put into the game’s production as the opening cut-scene is fully animated video and supervised by the same director who had worked on big name anime titles like Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor. Not only Potk has an opening sequence, the games also features cut scenes which will play after completing certain missions and progressing the game’s story. To sweeten things, the game also has a pretty impressive cast of celebrity Japanese voice actors who voice the characters in the game.
Potk is a turn based game where each player will take turn to move and attack all their units in the map. The game uses a weapon triangle combat system where sword beats the axe, axe beats the lance and the lance beats the sword. Having the weapon advantage means your character would do more damage to the enemy, while the enemy have a penalty and does less damage. Of course, character and weapon level and stats are taken into consideration, and there were occasions I found myself replaying a level to increase the character’s statistics. Each unit has a weapon specialization, physical attack and defense values, magic attack and defense values, accuracy and critical and evade statistics. These statistics will define what each character is good at. Although players can go crazy and stack the same type of units in one party, I generally would recommend the party to have one or two higher level melee characters, as they tend to survive longer. These characters can be supported by the lower level ranged units. However, there are some advanced side missions where players must complete side objectives such as the objective to complete the level within a set number of rounds. This forces players have to get creative and try different party set ups.
The game also features 2 ranged weapons, the arrow and guns. Guns are an interesting new game mechanic. Unlike the arrow these ranged weapons do not have a minimum range, however, the character will take some damage after using a gun to attack an enemy unit. Speaking of mobility, there is also the mobility factor to toy around with. Players can select mobile but fragile character with either a horse or a flying mount to flank the enemy, or to have more armor to able to take on the enemy straight on. Also, a player has only a power level limit to force the player to mix up his strongest characters with weaker ones. Leveling up will also give the player a higher power level limit to take on harder levels. With all these factors, the player has many choices to decide which party members to bring into the game, and which weapon they should be equipped with.
During the battle, the player has to take terrain and unit placement into consideration when attacking and moving units, going through trees will cost more movement points, but will provide more bonuses. Also, there might be synergies and bonus if you place certain characters beside each other during the battle. Overtime, characters can develop relationships with each other and perform better in combat when they are side by side. These game mechanics give a strong depth of game play, and if played well, players can defeat higher level opponents.
The game differentiates itself from Fire Emblem with its online social features and crafting system. The game allows your in-game friend to use your character, where you will get bonus resources after that. One really cool social feature the game features Player vs Player match in real time with real human players. The game’s crafting system is also essential to support the levelling of the characters and weapons. In the system, players can get rid of spare items by fusing unwanted cards to level up a main card, or repair weapons which are worn out after battles.
Being a free game for the mobile platform, players have the option to speed up their game progress or “farm” for more powerful (and attractive looking) characters and items by purchasing gems to open random loot box. The game uses a periodic promotion which will reward players with a guaranteed 5 star rare character drop if they have spend enough gems to complete each of the 3 steps. The kicker is that the promotion resets after a certain time, and the game does not reveal how many gems is needed to complete the 3 steps. For the first time I attempted to promotion, the first step needed 10 gems, the second step needed 30 gems and the last step needs 50 gems.
Completing each step will give the player bonus rewards such in the form of higher drop rates for high tier heroes. The final step will reward a guaranteed random 5 star character. Completing the 3rd step on different days will guarantee a certain weapon type for the 5 star character. This encourages players to save up many gems and spend it all in a single session on certain days to target a draw a specific character. However, it is possible that a player might be left hanging on the 2nd or 3rd step if they do not have enough gems. The players have to beat the clock to level up enough get more gems or through bonus events.
It is noted that in the late game, when the time taken for the player’ to level gets progressively slower as more experiences points is needed to level up. This would reduce the rate of the player receiving gems. In this case, the player could succumb to temptation and buy gems from store using real cash, or forgo the opportunity to get a 5 star character.
Players still have to farm up for rare and battle medals to get in game items which can add different bonus effects to your party. It helps that the game is quite generous in giving out gems and in game currency to players who play the game frequently, and it is possible for a player to progress though the game without paying a cent. The game also encourages shorter but more frequent play sessions as it has an energy system. Playing mission’s energy will deplete the player’s energy, but it will recharge over time.