Find out why everything changed when the microtransactions attacked in our Avatar Generations review.
Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s a name that brings forth pleasant memories of nostalgia for many. It’s a series that defined a generation of TV watchers on Nickelodeon. Today we look to the latest in a long line of tie in materials, a mobile game with sadly not a lot of game to it. Developed by Navigator Games and Published by CDE Entertainment, Avatar Generations sees you take up the role of Aang and the gang as you explore their adventures with future updates set to bring in the eras of avatars Kyoshi, Korra and Roku.
Avatar Games: A History
When someone thinks of a game based around the Avatar franchise, be that The Last Airbender or Legend of Korra, nothing steller comes to mind. The majority of the games are third person action games that have seen mixed to low reactions. The most notable of these are Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth developed by the now defunct THQ in 2007 and the slightly more stand out game The Legend of Korra developed by Platinum Games (that’s right the same devs behind Metal Gear Rising!) in 2014. The Legend of Korra only saw marginally better reviews and reception, whereas The Burning Earth is known as “the game you can get 1000 gamerscore in a minute“.
Rack up a combo of 50 and you’ll immediately be rewarded with 1000G.
It’s sad to think that a series that has had such a defining life has only been able to produce games that are at best okay and at worst shovelware. But with time comes practice and practice makes perfect. Surely after so many years an Avatar game would be able to come forth to surpass all expectations. Right?…
Avatar Generations Review – Gameplay
The moment you load up Avatar Generations and proceed past the title screen you’ll be bombarded with several login bonuses. Now this could be just because it’s early days in both the game and my personal start in it, but it can quickly get overwhelming/tedious. Especially when right after the login bonus you get prompted to spend an exorbitant amount on gacha rolls to try and get a new hero. Sadly even if you did spend the unreasonable amount of almost $80AUD, you’re not guaranteed a hero. No even more likely is that you will receive relics, items you can equip your heroes with to give minor buffs, companion characters, as well as other items.
Free stuff is good, except when it’s not.
Moving away from the gacha side of the game and onto the actual gameplay. The gameplay is a turn-based combat game where you can make a team of up to 4 heroes to battle through the world of Avatar. You move throughout the world using the map to select your destination and next mission. Once the next area is selected, you watch little chibi versions of your team walk along the path.
Once you reach the next mission you will be able to see the little bit of story that goes with the mission or enter combat. Be warned though, some mission areas actually require you to stay there for an extended period of time. I recently came across one that required my team to be in that one spot for 15 real world minutes and if they’re stuck there, you can’t use them elsewhere in the world.
Each hero and enemy fall into 1 of 3 combat types: offensive, defensive, and mind. These all work in the same way as your basic triangle strategy a la Fire Emblem. There are also 2 other types which work against each other, which are peace and chaos, but I found these doesn’t really come into effect all that much. When in combat, it’s best to match your hero against an enemy that has a weaker fighting style to maximise your damage output.
To find out their type, you need to hold down on the enemy to bring up their stats. Or you can look beside the health bar of the enemies for the symbol representing different combat styles. But this becomes a moot point when you’re unable to determine your heroes’ fighting style, which ends up with the hero attacking randomly.
It’s paper scissors rock, but Avatar.
The final side to the gameplay is levelling your heroes, which is what you’ll find yourself working towards the most. Each character has 7 ascension levels, a promotion system that increases all their stats. Each ascension level requires multiple items, and for your hero to be the Max level of the previous ascension. You can gain levels by either using the heroes in combat, or using xp items to manually accelerate their levelling.
Either way, you are going to need to grind to level and the game really wants you to. About an hour or two in, I came across a boss fight where you have to try and take down Aang himself in the Avatar State. With only a couple hours in of gameplay, the fight resulted in barely doing damage and getting one shotted. The only way around it was to 1; build my roster with more heroes through gacha, and 2; grind out levels and get items to level and ascend my heroes. I don’t expect the game to hold my hand, but to be only a couple hours in and having to stop the adventure and grind just completely broke the immersion and enjoyment.
Avatar Generations Review – Visuals
Not everything about the game is bad however, I found the art style very pleasant to look at. The 3D models of the heroes are very nicely rendered and the backdrops are all pleasant to look at, resembling the art-style of the series. Having the chibi versions of your team walking along the map was a nice touch.
I also found that Avatar Generations also features one of the most interesting gacha roll animations I’ve seen. Taking a scene from the show, we see Aang sit in a tall tree in the Earth Kingdom, as he places his hand on the branch, you’re prompted to swipe down along his arrow, Aang then reaches out spiritually to find someone. Hopefully its a new character, but it’ll most likely be another relic.
Avatar Generations Review – Audio
On the sound side of things, I found that all of the music was perfect. Every track was spot on from the show and sounded just like I was watching it again. That’s only natural as the lead composers from the show, Benjamin Wynn and Jeremy Zuckerman were brought on to reprise their music into the game as well. I can’t say a lot about the voice work as I can’t find any credits on the voices of the game. What I can say though, if they didn’t have the original voice cast reprise their roles, the people who did do the voices did an outstanding job. Every voice sounded spot on or at least extremely close to how the voices sounded in the original show.
I can see what the developers were trying to go for with the game. Bringing in the original composers and some top notch voice work brought a sense of nostalgia to this long time fan of the series. But the bottom line is that this is just not an enjoyable game. The battles are boring and the dependency on grinding breaks the immersion. Being bombarded with login bonuses, only to be followed up with a prompt to buy gacha rolls at a disgusting price just feels like a slap in the face. The game wasn’t made with love unfortunately and is once again not the game die hard Avatar fans were looking for.
So, why should you play Avatar Generations?
- At the end of the day, it is a free game.
- If you feel like playing through without succumbing to microtransactions, the only thing you will lose is time.
- The visuals are pleasant and the sound design is a nostalgia trip
But why shouldn’t you play Avatar Generations?
- Don’t have time and disposable income on your hands? This isn’t the game for you.
- Plagued with microtransactions and forced purchases in order to progress
A review copy for Android was kindly provided by the publisher for the purpose of our Avatar Generations review. If you enjoyed this review, be sure to jump on the Qualbert Discord to discuss more games and check out more of our reviews!