AFK Journey Review: A Rewarding Gacha Experience

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AFK Journey Review: A Rewarding Gacha Experience

AFK Journey respects your time while making for an enjoyably gacha-lite RPG. Read all in our AFK Journey Review.

AFK Journey is a free open-world, role-playing gacha centered on creating your own team of powerful heroes. Here you play as the reincarnation of the great mage Merlin, solving a mystery surrounding a malignant corruption.

On its surface, AFK Journey's gorgeous visuals, strategic gameplay and dynamic characters promise a wholly fun experience for new and old players alike. Journey even has a very easy pity system that makes getting rare heroes a breeze.

That said, AFK Journey still presents the usual flaws in big gacha entries, including a lack of accessibility features, bad voice direction and predatory microtransactions.

If 3D chess-style combat and AFK games are your niche, then you'll find something to enjoy in Lilith Games' newest title. Here's out spoiler-free review for AFK Journey.

Esperia's Hope

Published by Farlight Games (Dislyte, Call of Dragons), AFK Journey takes the best parts of modern gacha games to craft an enjoyable experience.

Upon starting my quest as the realm's new magister, I was presented with a fairly simple opening quest. During the first hour, I was bothered with the initial barrage of unskippable tutorial sequences, but I forgave the breaks in what was quite an unengaging story for what followed: the addicting combat system.

AFK's sequel boasts stunning 3D visuals which pair well with its smooth animations and intuitive hero skills. But seeing everything work together in AFK Journey's automatic battle mode was extremely satisfying to watch. I wasn't even into idle chess RPGs, but this game made me want to get good at it.

On top of its in-game experience, AFK Journey's rare gacha elements performs exactly as intended. On my third week of playing the game, I was still blown away by the amount of levelling materials and diamonds I was being given for free. But I stayed cautious, because despite its kinder pity system, AFK Journey was still a potential money sink.

AFK Journey Play Modes Summary

AFK Journey's gameplay extends past the usual overworld exploration you see in most RPGs. Here's everything we thought about the other game modes you'll find in Farlight's latest gacha title.

The game has a boss arena called the Dream Realm, which pits your strongest roster against powerful monsters. These enemies change every week, get harder as you beat them and promise bigger rewards as you go.

AFK 2 also has two PvP modes, namely Arena and Honor Duel. The former pits you in ranked matches against players on your resonance level, and the latter is a luck-based competitive roster builder that still presents its unique twists.

afk journey review


Arcane Labyrinth is Journey's roguelike that lets you compete in a series of floors with a family of heroes.

Lastly, AFK Journey also offers Battle Drills, Competitive missions you can take with your fellow guild-mates. These special challenges advance your guild's progress, directly competing against other guilds in the game.

These game modes give you plenty to do

In AFK Journey, you unlock parts of the map by removing Hypogean roadblocks, which are essentially hard battle sequences where you go up against evil hero doppelgangers.

These weren't entirely a drag though. Scenes like these kept AFK Journey's difficulty from being two-dimensional at times. That said, it added very little to the plot's mystique.

Hypogean Hijinks

AFK Journey's perks aside, the game still had some pretty glaring faults, including an obvious pay-to-win scheme.

Voice quality was the most apparent fault in my playthrough. While the amount of voiced dialogue in the game far surpassed my expectations, most of the characters I encountered in AFK Journey either had weird inflections to their tone or unnnatural pacing.

I could look past that because every skipped scene included a summary. But even the story (or how it's presented) does a lackluster job of carrying the title.

What's more is that the story moves at a frustrating pace, often putting hosts of Gruglins or Bandits in front of you to stretch out the runtime. And it doesn't help that you're essentially gated from experiencing the main story if you stop levelling up your squad.

afk journey review

Last on my list of grievences were AFK Journey's microtransactions.

When you start a gacha game, you're usually showered with a lot of free stuff each time you log back in. But as the weeks go on, the game lessens these rewards little by little. As a result, their players get hooked. And eventually they get tempted to spend real-life money for “just one more roll”.

This was not my first time playing a gacha game. But the padlocks in AFK Journey were ubiquitous, barring players from collecting rewards in almost every screen.

On top of that, the numerous pop-ups advertising limited-time deals in AFK felt extremely exploitative, putting me off from ever trying other, seemingly harmless gacha games of AFK Journey's caliber.

7/10 Open-World Bonanza

AFK Journey's beautifully crafted world and dynamic gameplay are the two main reasons to check out Lilith Games' latest offering. But while Journey's easy-going pity system and straightforward Resonance Level upgrade system gives it a good edge over most games in the genre, its microtransactions are the most aggressive I've ever seen in a seemingly causal idle game.

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Paul G
Paul started writing game guides and match predictions for ESTNN's editorial team in 2022. Since then, he's covered big-ticket esports events and the latest news on tech and AI.