Arknights is a tower defense style game with RPG elements that involves raising an entire unit of Operators obtained both through story progression and gacha rolls and strategically placing them to prevent as many enemy units as possible from crossing a certain threshold on the map.
This game was developed by the Chinese company Hypergryph and released in China on April 2019. In January 2020, it was released worldwide.
On the world of Terra, Catastrophes tear apart the land and leave behind Originium, a mysterious ore that provides a large source of energy for machines and people's magic powers (known as Originium Arts), but also infects all living beings with a condition called Oripathy. Those infected with Oripathy can access some form of magical power, but at the cost of their own lives. Even after death, their corpse can infect others nearby. Those suffering from Oripathy, collectively called The Infected, are often looked at with suspicion or outright hatred. Some of the Infected look to find a cure, some try to enjoy what life they have left, some have banded together under terrorist organizations to lash out at those who have oppressed them.
The Doctor, an individual who works for the management of the medical company Rhodes Island, wakes up one evening with amnesia, but somehow retains their logistical skills as they are rescued by a special forces unit dispatched from the company to rescue them. The Doctor finds themselves thrust into leading the group against the Infected terrorist group Reunion as they try to stay alive long enough to escape and hopefully find a cure for Oripathy.
Players take on the role of the Doctor and lead a squad of Operators to victory. Each stage is divided into a rectangular square grid with some squares raised and others at ground level. Melee classes (Vanguard, Guard, Defender, Specialists) can only be deployed on ground-level squares, while long-range and support classes (Caster, Sniper, Medic). Some specialists can be deployed on either square.
Operators can only be deployed if there are enough Deployment Points (DP). On most missions, DP automatically increase at a steady pace, but can be accelerated with certain unit abilities. There is also a maximum limit of the number of Operators that can be deployed on a mission, regardless of DP. To free up a slot, a friendly unit must retreat, either manually or after having their HP reduced to 0. Either way, the retreating Operator will have a cooldown time before they can be deployed again. If an Operator is KO'd in combat, the DP cost to redeploy them will double.
The goal of each stage is to finish while keeping the number of enemies that pass into the blue base squares below the maximum allotted amount. If the player finishes the stage without letting any enemies through, they get a 3-star ranking (or 4 stars on Challenge missions) and more items useful to help grow chosen Operators. Clearing a stage while letting some enemies through grants a 2-star rating and reduced rewards. Letting the maximum amount of enemies through instantly ends the stage with a Mission Failed screen. 1-star rankings were handed out in beta but were removed from the game in its current state.
Vanguard: Melee units that can be deployed for relatively low cost and generate extra DP with some abilities, useful for the early game and missions that don't auto-generate DP.
Guard: Units with strong attack power that can block one or two enemy units while striking them down.
Defender: Units who can take a ton of punishment and block several enemy units at a time
Supporter: Units that can debuff multiple enemies while damaging them from long range with Arts damage.
Caster: Arts users capable of using long-range magical Arts attacks on enemies.
Sniper: Long-range attackers who can shoot down enemies from afar, especially flying units.
Medic: Units that only heal allies.
Specialist: Units with a special ability that don't quite fit into other categories, like a low DP cost and cooldown for rapid redeployment, or the power to push/pull enemies over a few squares.
Rhodes Island: The protagonists' faction. A large pharmaceutical company that accepts anyone on Terra, Infected or not, as long as they are willing to help the Infected who seek assistance with the overarching goal of finding a complete cure for Oripathy.
- The Doctor
Abyssal Hunters: A small faction of powerful fighters who fight against threats from the deep oceans of Terra.
Black Steel: A private company that provides military aid from Operators to powerful weapons, for the right price.
Catastrophe Messengers: Scientists and Originium Arts users who are skilled at sensing when a Catastrophe is about to strike a certain location, giving Rhodes Island time to escape, or warn whoever is about to be hit.
Penguin Logistics: an independent shipping company skilled in providing logistics and delivery support to the right buyer, run by a strange talking penguin called Emperor.
Rhine Labs: A high-tech group of scientists and researchers from a wide variety of fields, trying to find new ways to control Orignium and its related energies.
Rim Billiton: A large company that focuses on mining Originium.
Reunion: The main antagonist faction. A terrorist organization of Infected who have banded together to destroy their oppressors, which happen to be almost every government and large organization on Terra.