10) The Arcana (Nix Hydra)
Now, to be fair to The Arcana, it isn’t a bad VN the way others on this list are which is starts the list. I’ve enjoyed the story despite certain flaws and the presentation is strong for the medium: not just mobile games as a subsection. The larger problem with it is its in-game economy that is, frankly, endemic of most mobile games. And if we’re going to avoid this becoming a trend, because this is one of the most popular visual novels of 2017, then it needs to be address here; now.
At the heart of the Arcana economy are two systems: Coins and Keys. Coins unlock certain choices to advance romantic routes within the game’s episodes (or books). You will need 150 Coins minimum if you expect to get outside of neutral in the game and the market for coins looks like this:
- 100 Coins ($1.99)
- 250 Coins ($4.99)
- 500 Coins ($9.99)
- 2000 Coins ($39.99)
After you get to a certain point, the separate routes are unlocked and have three chapters each that you need a Key to unlock each one. Unlike the Coins, the Keys refill after seven hours or so. You are more than free to wait that time period OR, hear me out on this one, you can refill the Key meter at the moment for 99 cents. You’ll still have the same issue once you run out of keys, but if all you’re trying to do is get through the story in the moment, it’s probably the most economical way to do it. If you want something a bit more substantial…well, that’s where the Bulls start to run.
To outright buy a single book in a character’s route and forgo the Key system entirely, that will be 500 Coins each. Three books equals $30 for that character so far and more books are apparently on the way. So, let’s say you you have no limiter on your bank account and you want to play the game with no hassle at all. You’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $90 for the entire game at this point. And I’m being nice with my math on this one.
‘Well JP, I’m not spending that much money on a visual novel. So I’ll just stick to purchasing coins and wait however long it takes for the keys to refill.’
That’s understandable hoss, it is. However, remember; you need 150 Coins for each choice that advances one character’s route. With all three characters, you are still looking at dropping a minimum $40 to $50 on this one. If that isn’t exploitation, it is right on the line and with more content apparently coming from Nix Hydra, it can easily cross that line whether it means to or not. It is a business model that needs to be held under high scrutiny in this community and The Arcana especially needs to reconsider how it goes about its business.