Chinese studio HoYoverse launches today a new free-to-play adventure title that aims to reach the same level after the overwhelming success of Genshin Impact. We are talking about Honkai Star Rail, which can already be downloaded for free on the main stores for Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as on Steam. So, what is this game all about? Let’s discover all the details of a game that wants to become a benchmark for free games on mobile and also on PC.
Like Genshin Impact, Honkai Star Rail is based on the premise that our character is some sort of chosen one who, without knowing why, will end up being the savior of an entire galaxy. After creating our protagonist, who is known as Trailblaze, he will join the crew of the Astral Express ship, captained by Himeko Murata - the true protagonist of the game - a ship that travels through the universe solving the problems of its inhabitants.
Since there are several planets, this time we will not find a large open world to explore without limits, but rather smaller environments whose reduction allows us to capture greater visual detail and a higher technical level, even finding the possibility of interacting with the scenario. HSR presents a more futuristic science fiction setting, as opposed to the fantasy of Genshin Impact.
A very different kind of combat
The biggest difference with Genshin Impact, however, lies in the combat system, as Honkai Star Rail features a turn-based system that will please fans of the most classic JRPGs, and it is probably for them that this game is more specifically aimed. It is not a particularly deep system, as each character has three commands: normal attack, skill, and ultimate spell. Despite this a priori simplicity, the game is not without challenge, as this system presents some more peculiarities.
In each battle, we can have up to four characters in the fight -which will have to take into account possible synergies- who have two charges to share between them. Each skill consumes one of these charges, which can be recovered with a basic attack, forcing us to maintain a certain strategy when it comes to managing them, because obviously there are different classes -here called character paths- and it may be convenient to keep one of these charges for a support character, for example. In addition, there are up to 7 different elements (Lightning, Fire, Wind, Ice, Physical, Quantum, Imaginary) to which the enemies are vulnerable, being able to break their toughness bar if we attack them repeatedly with them, a bit like what we saw in games like Octopath Traveler.
As we can see, it is not an overly complex system, but it has enough depth to be both an affordable game for new players and satisfying for veterans.
Progression based on farming and gachas
Honkai Star Rail does not hide its F2P character, and although at the beginning we will receive items and objects to constantly improve our characters, in the long run the farmeo will be important. In this sense, it is very similar to what we saw in Genshin Impact, making even more exclusive weapons -Light Cones- rarer to get. Of course, we can get new characters in a gruel system, which we all know as loot boxes.
In addition, as usual in this type of production, codes will be offered that can be redeemed for various rewards. Another peculiarity of the game is that we can equip any light cone in any character class, so we will not be limited in this sense, nor will we feel frustrated because we will never have a weapon that cannot be used in any of our characters.
Where and how to download Honkai Star Rail
Currently, we can find Honkai Star Rail on Android (Google Play), iOS (App Store) and PC through its official website and the Epic Games Store. Soon it will also be available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, after HoYoverse even showed gameplay directly on Sony consoles, although no date has been specified. At the moment there is no news about its release on Xbox or Nintendo Switch, but it is 100% confirmed that there will be cross-progestion between all platforms where it is available, being able to continue with our game whenever and wherever we want.