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Grand Sphere

Grand Sphere is an online card-based RPG on mobile devices with anime-inspired artwork, Japanese voice acting, story-driven gameplay, tactical, turn-based combat, lots of cards to collect, many areas to explore, and online PVP.

Publisher: Silicon Studio
Playerbase: Medium
Type: Mobile Card RPG
Release Date: August 24, 2015
Pros: +Appealing artwork. +Great story and voice acting. +Many cards to collect. +Tactical combat.
Cons: -Repetitive gameplay. –Limiting Energy system.

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Overview

Grand Sphere Overview

Grand Sphere is a 2D TCG-RPG hybrid developed by Silicon Studio, a prestigious Japanese company behind the hit mobile TCG-RPG, Age of Ishtaria, and the Bravely console game series. Play as a legendary Grand Sphere and explore the magical world of Astrum. Battle your foes with a unique Sphere skill system. Engage in tactical, turn-based combat designed for strategic as well as casual gameplay. Collect over 150 anime-inspired cards with different elements, skills, artwork, and more. Experience a fully voice-acted story by famous Japanese voice actors that is full of comedy and emotions. Team up with four other players in real-time to defeat powerful bosses. Challenge other players from around the world in the Arena to earn Medals for special items. Embark on an exciting, fantasy RPG adventure today.

Grand Sphere Features:

  • Many Maps to Explore – Explore the world of Astrum as you partake on a quest to find a Princess through many different environments and levels.
  • Anime-inspired Artwork – Each card features high quality, anime-style artwork and every monster was artistically designed with multiple frames of animation.
  • Tactical Combat – Defeat foes in strategic combat featuring an element system, Sphere skills, and turn-based combat.
  • Many Cards to Collect – Collect over 150 cards and assemble your team to take on enemies, bosses, and other people online.
  • Engaging Story – Experience an interesting story complete with hours of high quality Japanese voice acting for every character.
  • Online PVP – Fight head-to-head against random players online in strategic, turn-based combat with complete control over each battle.

Grand Sphere Screenshots

Grand Sphere Featured Video

Full Review

Grand Sphere Review

By, Herman Y.

Grand Sphere is a free-to-play, anime card-based RPG developed and published by Silicon Studio, a Japanese mobile game developer most known for their hit mobile card-based RPG, Age of Ishtaria, and for co-developing the Bravely console game series with Square Enix. Grand Sphere is very similar to Age of Ishtaria but differs in setting, story, and gameplay. Grand Sphere launched worldwide on August 24, 2015, and reached over 1,000 downloads in 1 week. The game features high quality, Japanese voice acting, story-driven gameplay, many cards to collect, and a unique combat system. Players have much more control over the combat compared to other mobile TCG/TCG-RPGs making Grand Sphere a much more interactive card game that rises above its competitors.

An Interesting Voice-Acted Story
One of the greatest features in Grand Sphere is its fully voice acted story. The game has many characters with unique personalities and each is voiced by famous Japanese voice actors (with English subtitles). The voice acting is very high quality and the story consists of character dialogue presented in a conversational and easy-to-follow sort of way. Players play as a Knight who is also a Grand Sphere, someone with incredible powers, who has a funny robotic companion named Comette. Players initially journey with Princess Stella, their childhood friend, and Princess Stella’s associate, Eioh, until Stella is suddenly kidnapped by a flying demon. Thus begins the player’s adventure to rescue her which is full of quirky and dramatic dialogue. The story tends to resume after completing each map although there is also some dialogue after some stages. The game is very story-driven and the story itself is very interesting and makes the game much more entertaining. The story also gives a reason to keep playing to find out what happens and creates a more immersive experience.

The World of Grand Sphere
Grand Sphere has many maps divided into multiple stages. Each map has a certain theme to it in appearance and enemy element types, and each map contains about 5 stages. Players can move around the map via a pathing system and choose each stage as well as discover treasure chests and events that branch out from the map. Once in a stage, players will fight through 3 waves of enemies for regular battles (with a boss battle in the 3rd wave) and 4 waves of enemies for the main boss battles (which occur in the last stage of each map). Each wave contains random types of enemies and their elements depend on the map/stage. Defeating enemies and completing stages gives gold, experience, cards (potentially), and crafting material, and each stage takes around 1-5 minutes to complete. It also requires energy (AP) to attempt each stage. The game is completely in 2D but the monsters and environments are well-designed and each monster has many frames of realistic animation. The effects are also very flashy and impactful and the game has very fitting JRPG-style music.

Tactical Battle System
Grand Sphere has a unique battle system that is a breath of fresh air compared to most other mobile TCGs with automated combat. Players can have a party of up to four cards, which are like Heroes, and players can choose a random other player’s card (or a friend’s card once per day) to join them in each stage. The combat is turn-based and players can select their actions before and after each attack. The game has a unique Sphere skill system in which random Sphere skills are drawn at each round and players must position their cards properly over the Spheres to get the most out of them. Think of Spheres as random power-ups that appear at the beginning of each round and players have to choose which card gets that power-up, except Sphere skills are not only power-ups (like increase attack and defense) but also attack spells (piercing against armor, attacking an entire row, etc.) and healing.

Choosing the right card for each Sphere skill makes a large difference. Grand Sphere has an element system (Fire>Earth>Water, Light = Dark) and choosing cards of the right element before each battle is essential. It is also important to attack monsters with a card of a more powerful element. Sphere skills do more damage than regular attacks; therefore, it is important to assign the correct elemental card to them as well as a higher level card to do the most damage as possible. Cards also have their own special skills that players can activate once the card’s SP bar is full. Players can move their cards left and right, target certain monsters, and activate skills before each round, and then pressing attack will proceed with their actions and the enemies gets a chance to attack afterwards in a turn-based system. The combat is very unique, strategic, and tactical and gives the player a lot of control over the battle without making things too complicated.

Many Heroic Cards to Collect
There are many cards to collect in Grand Sphere. Each card has a certain element (Fire, Earth, Water, Light, Dark), stats (Attack and HP), special skill, and star ranking (1-6 stars). They can be individually leveled up from combat or enhanced by sacrificing other cards. Each card looks very different and has high quality, anime-inspired artwork that features mostly female characters. The cards generally have a medieval fantasy theme and are colorful and appealing to look at. Each card has a Cost and there is a Cost Limit (which increases as players level up) so players cannot stack their decks with all powerful (high Cost) cards. Cards can also be equipped with various equipment (obtained from stages or crafted with material) and evolved with “Evo” items and Faeries which increases a card’s stats further after they are max level (level 50). Cards can be collected from completing stages, found in chests in various maps, and from the Gacha summons.

The PVP Arena
The Arena is Grand Sphere’s PVP mode where players can battle against other players online. Unlike most mobile TCGs and hero-collecting RPGs, players actually have manual control over the PVP battles. The opponents, however, are still controlled by A.I. so the battles are asynchronous, which is expected since people have different level cards so real-time battles wouldn’t necessarily be fair. Before beginning a battle, players can choose an opponent from a list that refreshes every day at 4 pm PST. Once in a battle, players can control their party much like in the single-player stage mode. There are still Sphere skills and players can still move their cards around and assign targets. The only difference is that they are now fighting another player’s party who also has access to Sphere skills. The PVP is quite fun since players actually have control over the battle and winning Arena matches gives Medals that can be used to purchase special items (such as cards, Faeries, and crafting material). Currently there is no leaderboard, so losing doesn’t really matter. The point of PVP at the moment is to win Medals to use in the Arena shop, giving the Arena a more casual and less competitive feel. In addition to Medals, players get a small amount of experience and gold from each battle (much less than in the single player stage mode).

Cash Shop/In-App Purchases (IAP)
Grand Sphere’s main form of in-app purchases is its Gacha summon system known as “Scouting.” Players can “scout” new cards by summoning them with Gems (premium currency) as well as with Link Points, obtained from stages and adding friends. The summons with Gems (Rare Scouts) give random cards from 3-6 stars and summons with Link Points (Normal Summon) give random cards from 1-3 stars. The cards are randomized and the chances of getting higher star cards are much rarer than the lower limit cards. Although at first it seems unfair since players can only obtain good cards (3-6 stars) with Gems, Grand Sphere does give out a lot of Gems for free. Completing each stage gives 10-30 Gems for free and it takes 300 Gems to summon from the Rare Scout (3-6 stars). Players can also use Gems to purchase in-game gold and energy. Overall, Grand Sphere uses the standard Gacha system seen in many mobile TCGs and hero-collecting games but is fairly generous in giving out free Gems to its players.

Final Verdict – Great
Grand Sphere is an exceptional card-based RPG with a very engaging voice-acted story, anime-inspired artwork, and tactical combat system. It offers intuitive and strategic combat that many similar games lack as well as a deep story, creating a truly impressive mobile gaming experience that all players should try out.

Screenshots

Grand Sphere Screenshots

Videos

Grand Sphere Videos

System Requirements

Grand Sphere System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Android 3.0 and up / iOS 5.1.1 or later.

Music

Grand Sphere Music & Soundtrack

Additional Information

Grand Sphere Additional Information

Developer: Silicon Studio
Publisher: Silicon Studio
Platforms: Android, iOS
Release Date: August 24, 2015

Grand Sphere was developed and published by Silicon Studio, a Japan-based game developer most known for co-developing the Bravely game series with Square Enix, and their mobile card RPG, Age of Ishtaria. Grand Sphere was released in Japan months before its English release and came out worldwide on August 24, 2015 in English. Like Bravely and Age of Ishtaria, Grand Sphere features tactical, turn-based combat which is a staple of Silicon Studio. Silicon Studio is also the publisher of the popular mobile puzzle game, Pixel Rain, which has over 1 million downloads on Google Play.