Back in February of 2021, Genshin Impact added an event called Theater Mechanicus as part of its big Lantern Rite festivities. This mode was a sort of tower defense game that challenged players to build death traps of elemental towers against waves and waves of Hilichurls, Ruin Guards, Abyss Mages, and other common Genshin Impact foes.
The major twist with the event was that your character's power completely didn't matter. Whether you were a whale with a full bench of maxed out, S-tier, five-star adventurers or a free player with nothing of the sort, Theater Mechanics was an accessible, challenging, and super-satisfying event to take on in single-player or co-op. The only bummer about the whole thing was that Theater Mechanicus was a time-limited event and it disappeared after just a couple of weeks.
But, much like the McDonald's McRib, Theater Mechanicus is back as part of the game's 2.0 update for a limited time. Personally, I couldn't be happier about it. The event's new iteration is better than ever, featuring a new card system that sounded like it would make things more onerous but it actually streamlines the mode and reduces the amount of grind that was in its initial run. In other words, the best tower defense game on mobile just got better.
It’s kinda wild that miHoYo made one of the best tower defense games there is and it’s going to disappear in a couple weeks
— Campbell Bird (@campbellbirds)February 21, 2021
That's right, I said it. I was so high on Theater Mechanicus back in February that I tossed out the take that a limited event side-mode in Genshin Impact is better than the likes of Kingdom Rush, Clash Royale, or Dungeon of the Endless (specifically Apogee) and I stand by it. The strategy of building towers to create reactions, paired with card-based risk/reward system AND the ability to use your characters to influence elemental reactions or wave grouping has a depth of challenge and satisfaction that is currently unmatched on the App Store.
I just wish more people could hop into the game to understand what I mean. Much like with its initial run, Theater Mechanicus is only accessible if you've played and completed a significant amount of the base game already. Players need to reach Adventure Rank 30 and complete enough of the overarching story to have Inazuma (Genshin Impact's latest landmass) to be able to explore it freely. If you were coming to the game fresh, this would take weeks--if not months--of regular play to do, so there's no way you could hope to play this run of Theater Mechanicus unless you already played Genshin Impact pretty actively for some time since release.
This is the way of service games, I guess, but part of me hopes that Theater Mechanicus can get broken out into a standalone experience or some other developer can take some inspiration from it to release their own take on it. Until then, I have more than enough reasons to keep on playing Genshin Impact, with future reruns of Theater Mechanicus being one massive one.
This run of Theater Mechanicus will remain in Genshin Impact through August 26, 2021. To read more about Genshin Impact, check out ourAdventurer's Guide.