Genshin Impact hero showcase

Top 5 Desktop Games like Genshin Impact (Updated 2023)

Genshin Impact – It’s Everywhere.

Genshin Impact – the current game that everyone is talking about right now, after Among Us. 

Genshin Impact hero showcase
Genshin Impact hero showcase

This game is the latest game from miHoYo, a game development company founded by 3 Shanghai Jiaotong University graduates (who of course, like all founders of the same company, share the same interests).

So you’ve seen their game launch, and you probably might have also seen a few minutes of their advertisements, and got a sense of their anime-like art style gameplay. 

You’re probably wondering what genre or how the gameplay for Genshin Impact is like. Let me break it down for you into digestible bite-size bits.

Genshin Impact Open World ARPG Gameplay

What is Genshin Impact?

Genshin Impact is an open-world Action Role Playing Game (ARPG) that is free-to-play. BUT, the game creators earn from their players through their in-game gacha system for their heroes collection.

Genshin Impact Archer Open World

Not only does its gameplay and narrative enthrals you with its beautiful action and sceneries, its soundtrack music is produced by the Yu Peng Chen by HOYO-mix (executed by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra) which sets the dreamy mood very nicely.

What is a Gacha System?

The gacha system is a popular in-game monetization system deployed by free-to-play games, and has the same concept of a loot box.

For games that do not cost any money to download and play, game developers earn through such in-game microtransactions. This happens when players purchase in-game currency and spend it on rolling for randomized elements that have a substantial impact on their game.

Popular mobile games like Marvel Strike Force, Summoners War and Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia deploy this gacha strategy to allow players to obtain equippable items (usually weapons and armor) and even playable characters in exchange for money.

honkai impact gacha gameplay
Honkai Impact’s in-game gacha interface

Explained: Genshin Impact’s Gacha System

“Wish” (what an apt name) is the name of Genshin Impact’s gacha system. 

You can make a wish, and each wish costs you a certain amount of Fate credits – these take the form of either an Acquaint Fate, or Intertwined Fate.

The ongoing rate is 1 Fate credit = 1 Wish. And you can buy these Fate credits using an in-game currency called Primogems, which are earned in-game through rewards and gifts. 

Every Wish you make grants you a weapon or a new character (3 stars or greater) at random. 

The odds decrease for the higher tier items:

4-Star Characters & Weapons = 5.1% chance of obtaining

5-Star Characters & Weapons = 0.6% chance of obtaining

Genshin Impact Drop Rate Boost
When new characters or equipment roll out in Genshin Impact, the drop rate will be boosted.

To obtain more Primogems, you can opt to spend real money in the game to buy Genesis Crystals.

These Genesis Crystals have various uses – other than trading for Primogems, you can trade them for special limited-timed item bundles.

However, most players would trade them for Primogems, which are then converted into Fate, and then rolled for Wishes.

160 Genesis Crystals -> 160 Primogems -> 1 Fate -> 1 Wish -> 1 Weapon or Character

For a more detailed breakdown on Genshin Impact’s in-game gacha mechanics, check out this video guide here.

And the only way to unlock more characters would be, you guessed it, through Genshin Impact’s gacha system.

Players can only unlock new characters through Genshin Impact's gacha system.
Players can only unlock new characters through Genshin Impact’s gacha system.

Note: There is also a pity counter mechanic in place for Genshin Impact’s gacha system for the limited-time gacha banner draws.

For example, if you made 50 wishes on a Klee banner without getting a 5-star, it carries over to the next limited-time banner draw. So that means you require only 40 more wishes on a Venti banner to get the guaranteed character.

Playing Genshin Impact Without Spending Real Money

If you do not wish to spend any money in the game, that is totally fine. You get to earn Primogems through playing (and hopefully, enjoying) the game like a normal player.

By exploring the vast open world that Genshin Impact has to offer, completing intriguing quests, killing enemies and bosses, opening the chests that you obtain along the way and by completing achievements – these small actions reward you with Primogems.

Genshin Impact Anemo Boss Fighting
One way to earn Primogems would be to kill bosses in Genshin Impact. Here’s one such boss, Anemo.

Although, you’d need a lot of Primogems to purchase substantial amounts of Acquaint and Intertwined Fate, the Primogems do add up over time. 

Just go with the flow, and enjoy what the game has to offer.

Genshin Impact Primogems
For players who can’t wait to unlock new Genshin Impact characters, there is the option to purchase Genesis Crystals to exchange for Fate.

Genshin Impact Gameplay

The main objective in Genshin Impact is simply to explore its beefy open world using one of its many playable heroes, and become the best hero there is. 

Complete quests, slay the monsters and earn those achievements. Then, craft your materials and make those wishes to earn your character new and powerful weapons.

These heroes are classified by their weapon type – you have the sword, spear, bow, claymore and magical catalyst. Every hero also have their own unique set of skills.

Genshin Impact Sucrose Skill
Check out the combat skills of Sucrose, a Genshin Impact hero.

Each hero has its own strength and weakness, and you can develop each character to its maximum potential through materials and gear. These items can be passed between your own characters.

You also get to build your own team, and play the game with your friends in its co-op mode. This mode also allows you to share equipment within the team.

Ultimately, what matters at the end of the day is the memories that you make with your teammates as you explore the vast world of Genshin Impact.

How Genshin Impact really makes an impact

Genshin Impact really impressed me with its combat system. Which is a refreshing, different take on how combat is played out on a mobile game.

Each hero in Genshin Impact specialises in their own element. And these elements alter the combat experience drastically.

Genshin Impact Fischl Skills Showcase
Genshin Impact’s Fischl elemental skills in action.

Take the example of an enemy made of fire. You might want to choose your water-based character to battle it, dousing its flames with your water attacks.

Or when facing an enemy equipped with a wooden shield, your fire-based character can burn it away before you ignite it. 

And if your combat partner is a wind-based hero, then use those gust-based attacks to fan the flames and make it spread.

These elemental skills run on a cool-down, with the hero’s ultimate skills required to be charged before execution.

Amidst battle, I was also able to swap between party members to fully utilise my elemental advantage in the fight. By chaining and combo-ing the elemental cues, the resulting damage output became massive.

Besides its intriguing combat system, Genshin Impact is a very easy casual game to jump into. 

Genshin Impact's Xiangling Fire Skills
Genshin Impact’s Xiangling fire-based skills in play.

I did not feel overwhelmed on day 1 of playing the game – unlike most games, which tend to overload their new players with an overdose of content. 

Each in-game episode unlocked different content on a gradual basis, so I was able to fully take in and explore the game at my own pace.

My friends, who are more hardcore gamers, also enjoyed Genshin Impact as a time sink, where they could keep grinding high level dungeons for entertainment.

Also, Genshin Impact has a roadmap of future content updates in the pipeline. This allows the game to stay fresh and be at the top of mind in many gamers’ minds for the weeks to come.

Genshin Impact Hero showcase
Genshin Impact Hero showcase

Top Desktop ARPGs that are similar to Genshin Impact

Now that I’ve done the low-down of the Genshin Impact gameplay, here’s the list of my top desktop ARPGs that are similar to Genshin Impact.

#1: Honkai Impact 3rd

Honkai Impact 3rd Game Play
Honkai Impact 3rd Game Feature
Background

Honkai Impact 3rd is a 3D action role playing game that is free-to-play, also developed by the same team at miHoYo. First released in 2016 in China, it reached 1 million downloads in Japan just days after. It was then progressively rolled out in Taiwan, Korea, Southeast Asia, North America and Europe.

The game was initially developed for mobile, but was later ported over to desktop due to its popularity.

As its name suggests, it’s the 3rd entry to a very successful Honkai series where many characters from the previous titles were used in this newly minted debut – albeit in a different storyline.

Ice Rita - Hokai Impact 3rd
Hokai Impact 3rd – Ice Rita Character
How is the gameplay similar to Genshin Impact?

Combat

You get to control a team of characters, of up to 3. These characters are known as Valkyries, with their own unique attack styles. 

During battle, you control your characters and move them around the battlefield, and freely switch between your Valkyries. 

Similar to Genshin Impact, you get to buff up your Valkyries through amassing in-game resources which can be used to improve their various weapons and equipment.

Honkai Impact 3rd Combat
Honkai Impact 3rd Combat – Boss Fight (Ganesha)

There are various combat game modes that you and your friends can indulge in, namely:

1. Co-op mode

You get to team up with your friends in co-op mode, and conduct raids together that lets you unlock legendary weapons. 

2. Memorial Arena

Obtain the highest score by going up against a set of bosses. A high-score table is also visible that allows you to see who’s currently leading.

3. Dirac Sea

A survival mode where you attempt to progress as far as you possibly can, through battle, to attain the highest score.

Weapon Type

Each of your Valkyrie is able to equip only 1 type of weapon, and you can choose from a variety of them, including the gun, scythe, sword and artillery.

Gacha System

Attain better equipment through purchasing them from the shop, collecting weapon fragments, completing daily activities and the fastest way would be through the game’s Gacha system.

Crafting

There is also a crafting system in place which allows you to obtain fragments, higher-ranked weapons and equipment through collecting crafting materials.

Honkai Impact 3rd Crafting
Honkai Impact 3rd crafting system for weapons
How it stands out from Genshin Impact

Outside of combat (Dorms)

Outside of combat, Honkai Impact 3rd has an interesting ‘Dorm’ mode, where you can develop and level up your dorm by completing tasks. 

Levelling up your dorm allows for more extensive decoration options, and it also unlocks new cutscenes with new interactions between the characters.

You get to jazz up your dorms by crafting different furniture pieces, and go all out with the interior design of your dorm to increase the ‘comfort’ level of your Valkyries. 

Honkai Impact 3rd Dorms
Honkai Impact 3rd dorms layout

I’m sure that if you enjoy the action oriented gameplay of Genshin Impact that is set in an open world, Honkai Impact 3rd will surely appeal to you with its strikingly similar gameplay.

#2: CrossCode (Desktop)

Crosscode Desktop Game
Crosscode Desktop Game
Background

CrossCode is a sci-fi themed 2D ARPG (Action Role Playing Game) /JRPG (Japan Role-Playing Game) that is set in the distant future. 

The camera is set in a top-down fashion, where the overall game play has a Zelda-ish feel.

You will be controlling a character named Lea, a mute gamer, who is on a mission to recover her memories which she lost. She does so by playing a fictional MMORPG called “CrossWorlds”.

It’s a “real people in a game” concept, which stands out for its navigation puzzle challenges, where even exploring the dungeons requires a lot of jumping puzzles. 

So this game might put off some gamers – especially when you’re not into puzzles!

Crosscode Gameplay
Crosscode Gameplay
How is the gameplay similar to Genshin Impact?

Open world

It has a really lively world, one where you can really feel how much love the game developers have put into creating the game. The art style is a nice callback to Quintet game graphics, and it is well balanced with visual variety and detail.

CrossCode new world
CrossCode’s open world concept means that you get to enjoy exploring the maps!

Anime Influenced Stye

In-game characters have heavy anime influence in their overall art style – such as a spiky, ribbon style hair do that is dyed in colors like purple and green. Some characters like D’Kar even look like they dropped out of Dragon Ball Z!

CrossCode dialogue in gameplay
CrossCode in-game dialogue

Combat

The action combat feels great, with sleek and smooth movement and controls. There are also special skills and move sets that you can activate. Players of CrossWorld utilise Combat Arts – which comprises 4 basic combat skills, Guard, Dash, Throw and Melee. 

The controls and movement for the combat system in CrossCode feels smooth and sleek.

Like Genshin Impact, there is also an elemental concept in play during combat. Each element has its own set of combat arts that can be used in that elemental mode.

Boss fights

There are a ton of bosses that you can fight – each with their own distinctively different back story and fight style.

CrossCode Boss Fight
CrossCode boss fight

They are found in their dedicated arenas, and are easily identified by their larger than usual HP bar that fills the width of your screen.

Quests

From puzzle-solving, to combat, there are many quests in CrossCode that you can embark on and complete. Such quests provide rewards and unlock even more quests.

There are also a handful of “kill x monsters” side quests which you can embark on throughout the game play.

CrossCode Quest Overview
CrossCode quest overview

#3: Craftopia

Craftopia for desktop
Craftopia for desktop
Background

Craftopia is an open-world survival game that was launched in July 2020. It has a similar Breath of the Wild vibe with its action oriented RPG gameplay that combines survival, base building and automa.

In a nutshell, it’s a game where Zelda meets Minecraft – you can do whatever you want, whenever you want.

On top of a hack and slash concept, the game weaved in various crafting concepts and resource harvesting as its core pillars.

Wheat farming in Craftopia
Wheat farming in Craftopia

From farming, automation, pet breeding, building and dungeon exploration, this game combines the exciting features of existing crafting games, making Craftopia the mother of all survival crafting games.

There are so many possibilities as to how you chart your character’s in-game journey.

Craftopia energy production from generators
Craftopia energy production from generators
How is the gameplay similar to Genshin Impact?

Aesthetics

The aesthetic of the game is similar to that of Genshin Impact, with its heavy anime inspired art style.

Craftopia In-Game Graphics
Spotting a sun set in Craftopia – the perfect end to a day.

Combat

Craftopia Combat
Shoot your enemies up with arrows in Craftopia.

Combat takes 3 forms in Craftopia – Melee, Ranged and Magic. The melee attack style is movement-based, with moves like broad sweeps, jump attacks and charge-based attacks. 

There are also various weapons that enhance your base attack with bonuses.

Conquer Dungeons

Encounter different enemies as you explore the dungeons in Craftopia.
Encounter different enemies as you explore the dungeons in Craftopia.

Equip your character with your dungeon exploring gear (reads good weapons and equipment) and hop into a dungeon where treasures lie deep within. Slay the bosses and walk away with new found skills.

Co-op/Multi-player mode

Craftopia Co-Op mode - Games are always more fun with friends!
Craftopia Co-Op mode – Games are always more fun with friends!

Team up with your friends as you explore the dungeons and skill together. With the many character routes to take, you’ll never be bored with the gameplay.

Open World Concept: Exploration

Explore the vast open world in Craftopia.
Explore the vast open world in Craftopia.

Explore the beautiful, vast realms of Craftopia as you go about your daily routine – whether you’re building automation machines for your harvest factory, conquering dungeons, working on your character’s skills (over 100 to choose from), breeding animals, cooking, and so on.

Travel to different maps, each housing its own different level designs, monsters and resources. Each zone has its own level recommendations, and you will be faced with a more challenging time if you proceed while under-levelled.

How it stands out from Genshin Impact?

Automation Machinery

Mecha Automation makes up a huge part of the game in Craftopia
Mecha Automation makes up a huge part of the game in Craftopia

While both games have a harvesting component, Craftopia takes it one step further with its machine-driven harvesting capabilities through automation. 

Operate your machine-driven harvest factory that does all the heavy-lifting for you. From chopping wood, to mining rocks, your machines will ensure that you’re collecting resources at an optimal rate.

Taming & Breeding Creatures

Craftopia Tame Creatures
Taming and breeding creatures in Craftopia

Craftopia allows you to capture creatures as your own pets, and breed them. Monsters that you meet are tamable with the Monster Prism. Raise your own herd of monsters today!

Skill Tree

Craftopia Skill Tree
Level up you skills through gaining experience – and watch as your character’s strength increases.

There are over 100 skills to learn in Craftopia. And your character is uniquely yours when you learn various complementary skills. Whether you want to be an expert craftsman, or a feisty warrior, or even a master automation engineer, the choice is yours.

Farming

Farming in Craftopia
Grow your own crops, from over 20 varieties, in Craftopia.

There are over 20 crops designed for you to grow and harvest. As you level up your farming and automation capabilities, utilise the power of the machines to improve your agricultural output!

#4: Spellbreak

Spellbreak Desktop Game
Spellbreak Desktop Game
Background

Spellbreak (free-to-play) is a battle royale style game that is magic-based. Each mage has a different class, and thereby different combat styles.

Different elements of classes in Spellbreak
Different elements of classes in Spellbreak – Toxicologist, Frostborn, Pyromancer, Stoneshaper, Conduit & Tempest.

Each class allows the mage to truly master an element, giving rise to much synergy between the different classes of mages.

Spellbreak Icelance doing a long shot
Spellbreak Icelance doing a long ranged shot.

When the game starts, you and 41 other players (42 players in total) are dropped into an arena called the Hollow Lands. The objective is to be the last mage standing by the end.

Loot scrolls to increase your character’s power, then, attack your opponents and defeat them in an all out magical showdown.

As the game progresses, the safe area starts to shrink, and you have to stay in the safe area in order to avoid getting damaged by the Spellstorm that happens outside.

Play solo, or with your friends in squad mode, and magic your way to victory.

Team up in Spellbreak and own your enemies together with your friends!
Team up in Spellbreak and own your enemies together with your friends!
How is the gameplay similar to Genshin Impact?

Elemental Magic in Gameplay

Both games excel in their own way of introducing elements into the gameplay. In Spellbreak, you get to come up with deadly elemental combos with your teammates. And with an all-mage arena, the spell fights are always colorful and impressive.

Spellbreak's Toxicologist character which uses poison and toxins as its element.
Spellbreak’s Toxicologist character which uses poison and toxins as its element.

The difference is that Genshin Impact has you controlling a party of 4 characters, and elemental combos are however and whenever you want to engage. Swapping your characters to introduce a different element at will is possible.

For Spellbreak, you have to coordinate closely with your teammates on when and how you want the elemental combos to occur. It’s a game of team work that may make or break the fight.

Spellbreak's Flame Mage using fire as its main element in battle.
Spellbreak’s Pyromancer using fire as its main element in battle.

The ability to interact with other players’ elements will allow you to create unique battle outcomes that shifts the tide of battle in your favour. 

Action Packed Combat

Spellbreak's Conduit using its electrical element in battle.
Spellbreak’s Conduit using its electrical element in battle.

Like an ARPG, Spellbreak is action packed, and there is never a dull moment when your game has started. You’re constantly on your toes as an enemy mage might be just round the corner. 

Dodge incoming attacks with your double jumps, and plan your retaliation using your environment as an advantage. Then, figure out what equipment your enemy is using and plan an elemental combo with the right Gauntlet to take them out.

How it stands out from Genshin Impact?

Realistic Elemental Gameplay

While both Genshin Impact and Spellbreak have an elemental integration in place, Spellbreak showcases the elemental powers more realistically in gameplay.

Spellbreak's eye-catching realistic elemental gameplay
Spellbreak’s eye-catching realistic elemental gameplay

Also, the way the elements interact with their environment in Spellbreak also elevated the gameplay experience for me.

I was able to push huge boulders around with gusts of wind. I can ignite and detonate a gas cloud on cue. Everything about the magic elements in Spellbreak feels substantial and well-thought out.

Spellbreak wind element combo spell in play.
Spellbreak wind element combo spell in play.

If you love to fight with elements and watch how they interact with their environment, you’d love Spellbreak as a great alternative to Genshin Impact.

#5: Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2
Phantasy Star Online 2 for Desktop
Background

Phantasy Star Online 2 is a free-to-play online action role-playing game & Japanese role-playing game (ARPG & JRPG) that is the successor to Phantasy Star Online & Phantasy Star Universe. 

You will play the role of the newest Artificial Relict to Keep Species (ARKS) Operative who’s focused on exploring new planets and eliminating the evil force known as the Falspawn.

Fight enemies together with your team in Phantasy Star Online 2.
Fight enemies together with your team in Phantasy Star Online 2.

I looooooved the vast character creation system that greeted me when I launched the game. And after a few minutes of toggling around, I came out as a character that resembles my sister – blonde hair, fair skinned, thin and with an average height.

The overall game play resembles Monster Hunter: World – you’ll be taking on missions with your teammates, adventuring through harsh terrains (volcanoes, forests, tundras), while killing monsters that you encounter.

Phantasy Star Online 2 Game Play
Phantasy Star Online 2 Game Play resembles Monster Hunter World.

You get to try out so many weapons that I lost count, and with each weapon comes its own unique ability and combo attacks.

Weapon choices and styles in Phantasy Star Online 2
Weapon choices and styles in Phantasy Star Online 2.

Attacking isn’t just a mindless button smashing experience – if you time your attack when the indicator turns red, extra damage is dealt. 

This feature got me to really time my combos to a rhythm, and it made the attacking experience actually fun.

Special Mention: Dual language option, choose either the Japanese or English voice over language

Phantasy Star Online 2 allows players to choose either the Japanese or English voice over option. And to add icing on the cake, this won’t be locked in – meaning, you can switch to whichever language you want mid game by heading to the options menu.

This lets players experience both the Japanese and English voice over option and see if they prefer the original Japanese voice actors, or the full English voice acting.

For the full list of both Japanese and English voice actors, head here to read more.

How is the gameplay similar to Genshin Impact?

ARPG + JRPG in 1

Phantasy Star Online 2 team showcasing different weapon styles and combo while attacking as a team.
Phantasy Star Online 2 team showcasing different weapon styles and combo while attacking as a team.

Adopting the similar anime-ish art style as Genshin Impact, PSO2’s art style is as JRPG as it can get. 

And not forgetting, you get the same amount of adrenaline pumping button smashing action from Genshin Impact in PSO2 too!

If you already love ARPG and JRPG, you’ll be sure to love PSO2.

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