There’s just something about old-school RPGs that always elevates games to an epic status - and with Disgaea RPG, you can quench your thirst for nostalgia in a handy mobile package. Boltrend Games’ mobile revamping of the classic and well-loved series is now available on both iOS and Android, and it captures the sense of adventure from the original franchise that fans all know and love. But for newbie players and those who’d like a reintroduction to the series, how exactly do you get into the game?

Getting started, “dood”

With all of the banners and icons floating about on your screen, Disgaea RPG might seem overwhelming for the wide-eyed beginner. Thankfully, there’s a simple (and hilarious) tutorial right off the bat involving penguins on a revolution against unfair work hours and a measly sardine salary, plus an immediate introduction to two colourful ladies who’re ready to help you out. While I myself have never played the previous titles in the franchise before, I found that it’s pretty seamless to get into the game. Everything is just so wacky and fun that you definitely wouldn’t want to tap the Skip button during the dynamic dialogue.

At the very beginning, you’ll immediately get the chance to pick a 6-star unit as your main party member, and while they’re all pretty great, I chose Desco for her sick AOE skills. Once the basic tutorial is over, you’ll get to roam around the main menu, but the first thing you need to do is to claim all of your login and welcome rewards. You’ll have enough Nether Quartz for your very first 10-pull summon, so go to the Summon banners and try your luck at nabbing more characters to add to your party.

Mastering the quirky combat

One of the most unique things I discovered about the game early on is that the combat system - while it does have an Auto function like most gachas - is something you’ll likely want to control manually. This is mainly because of the quirky mechanic of the Team Attack and the Tower system, which is honestly an awesome way to really lean into the fun ridiculousness of the game.

The Team Attack can be triggered depending on your roster (with really cool animations), but I actually like the Tower mode best. During any turn-based battle, you can choose to Lift up a party mate and keep on stacking yourselves on top of each other to reach towering heights. Lifting a fellow party mate protects that unit from attacks, as only the unit at the bottom can be targeted by foes. It’s a great way to level up weaker party members much like a tank or a taunt/provoke effect can, but the thing is that the higher your stack gets, the cooler your Tower attack becomes. I’m not going into further detail about this one, because it’s definitely something you should try out for yourself!

Beefing up your stats

Adding to the wackiness of the game is the damage counter in the highest, most insane numbers, and if you want to deal devastating blows to opponents in the field, you need to know how to level up your characters best. You can equip each unit with armor and weapons (make sure you pay attention to their specific Weapon Mastery), as well as equip useful Skills you can use in battle when you have enough SP (this refreshes with every turn).

Simply going through the Main Story will unlock tons of other new content even at the very beginning, one of which is the Item World. Here, you can farm materials that can boost your battle prowess, as well as capture Innocents (Pokemon style!) to attach to your weapons for cool bonuses like additional Experience Points in battle.

You’ll eventually unlock Mao’s Laboratory, where - among other features - you can break through the level caps of characters until you reach Level 9999 during Reincarnation. To Reincarnate a character, you’ll need materials and HL that you can farm over at the Dark Gates. After you Reincarnate a character, you also get rewarded with Mana, which you can use to allocate extra bonuses to your unit’s Attack, Intelligence, Resistance, and so on.

There’s also this thing called the Nether Hospital, where you actually get rewarded for the amount of damage you take or die during battles. You can also spin the roulette here for free every few hours to score extra AP (this is the stamina or energy you consume as you go through each stage in the story), so make sure you check that out whenever your stamina is low.

Probably the extra content I enjoy the most is the Dark Assembly, where you can propose various Bills that a group of monster lawmakers can vote on. Bills include raising your Customer Rank to buy better equipment in the Shop, or even boosting the maximum limit of your AP. Depending on the monsters on the panel, your proposed BIll can either pass or get rejected, so to make sure you get what you want, you can Bribe the Senators with their faves like Crab Miso and other guilty pleasures. Isn’t the Netherworld such a deliciously evil place to be?

Taking a walk down memory lane

Now, for veterans of the franchise who’re looking to quench that thirst for nostalgia, DISGAEA RPG brings back franchise faves like Laharl, Flonne, Etna, Adell, Mao, Valvatorez, and Killia. The game lets players relive classic plotlines from the “Netherworld History”, which also serves as a great introduction for those who are new to the franchise to discover more about the roster of dynamic characters in the game.

Since the very first title in the series debuted on the PlayStation 2 in 2003, the series has sold over 3.1 million, with an upcoming installment titled DISGAEA 6 coming this 2021. DISGAEA RPG is out now as a free-to-play game with in-app purchases. You can download the game and give it a go in the App Store or on Google Play, or check out the official website for more info.