Review: Solo Leveling: Arise Presentation Impresses


I’ve played a lot of mobile games in my time, but few carry the level of presentation and style that Solo Leveling: Arise possesses outside of the HoYoVerse games. This 3D action-RPG adapts the original series quite well, capturing the feel of the world in the process.

Solo Leveling Arise is a mobile and PC adaptation of the original Korean web novel series from creator Chugong. It takes place in an alternate version of Earth, where gates appear from another dimension and monsters pour out into the world. Hunters fight back against these abominations, venture into dungeons, and keep the world safe. The series focuses on the worst hunter in the world and the surprising events that happen to him. This action-RPG picks up immediately from the beginning of the series, as the main character Sung Jiwoo ventures into a tragic double dungeon.

Screenshot by Siliconera

Though admittedly, the tutorial of this game is by far the most disappointing and annoying part, as it holds the player’s hand through every little thing. If you’ve played a mobile game before, you know what to expect in Solo Leveling: Arise. The game forces you to play several missions in a row, upgrade equipment, draw some characters, and the like. However, this particular tutorial felt like it went on quite a lot longer than others like it. If you get past this issue though, the game opens up quite a bit.

Much of Solo Leveling: Arise takes place in with third-person, behind-the-shoulders perspective. Some missions involve a little bit of exploration, but the bulk of the game centers around its exceptional combat. The speedy gameplay, which has 60 frames per second for those who want it on certain devices, has the usual attacks you’d find in this type of title. In addition, there are extra skills, such as a dodge and various AOEs. These additional abilities involve cooldowns, much like you’d expect. Wait a few seconds after using a skill, then you can use it again. The swift nature of the combat means the player always has something to do. You could be using your skills up one moment, dodging AOEs the next, then following that by charging up for your ultimate move. There are even timed attacks that have a small window of opportunity to activate, but deal tons of damage if you carry them out.

Solo Leveling Arise Review
Screenshot by Siliconera

Needless to say, Solo Leveling Arise offers by far the best action-RPG combat out of any mobile game I’ve played outside of perhaps Genshin Impact. There is plenty of challenge involved in assignments and demands for skillful play there for those who like that aspect. This is especially true if you want to get all three side objectives complete for each mission. Some of these are tough, such as getting two perfect evasions (dodges) in the same fight.

However, not everything about the gameplay is perfect. Unless a patch releases in the future, I highly recommend using a controller when playing on a mobile device or PC. The camera controls are pretty poor in this game for some odd reason. It moves awkwardly, and the lock-on feature doesn’t work well at all. I had a huge issue trying to target enemies and keep them in my view for fights with the touchscreen. The game works much better, in my experience, on PC or with a controller.

Screenshot by Siliconera

Outside of the missions, there is a hub for players to hang out in. This hunter base is home to connecting with other players, drawing new support characters, upgrading weapons, and the like. One of the most surprising features in Solo Leveling: Arise is the ability to change job classes a la Final Fantasy XIV. There are various classes tied to the weapon the main character uses.

Each class comes with their own skills, ultimate moves, and the like. I enjoyed experimenting with the various weapon types and classes to find the one that worked best for me in between missions. These missions generally follow the standard progression of the actual Solo Leveling storyline. It has a nice mix of in-engine-style cutscenes and comic book Webtoon-like panels. The animations and art look fantastic, so it is a shame the story moves a bit too fast. It lacks much of the character development of the actual web novel or anime versions. As such, this should act mainly as a supplement for the series, not a full-on replacement.

Overall, I would say Solo Leveling: Arise is one of the most impressive mobile games I’ve ever played. Unlike most anime mobile games, it adapts the series smartly in a welcome way. The action RPG combat is lightning fast, requires immense skill, and, most importantly, feels fun to use. Though the story moves a little too fast and it plays awkwardly with a touchscreen, the stellar presentation is leaps and bounds above most mobile games these days. Any fan of the series needs to give this a shot on mobile or PC.

Solo Leveling: Arise will release for Android and iOS devices and PC on May 8, 2024.


Solo Leveling: Arise

The legendary webtoon with 14.3 global billion views has been adapted into an action game for the first time and has finally officially launched globally! Android version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Solo Leveling: Arise is a surprising mobile game, nailing the presentation of both the anime and manhwa in equal measure, while offering stellar action combat.

Food for Thought

  • Don’t like one particular job class? Switch to another with your weapon.
  • The game gets much better once you get past the lengthy opening.
  • You can (and should) play with a controller!

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