Preview: Our Time With Solo Leveling:ARISE

Of all the TV shows, comics, and anime to have gotten the video game treatment over the years, none has been a more obvious fit than Solo Leveling:Arise. 

In case you weren’t aware, Solo Leveling—also translated from the original Korean as Only I Level Up—is a staggeringly popular webtoon with nine volumes and 14.3 billion readers under its belt since 2018. 

Such is the earth-shattering success of the webtoon that it has transferred to the small screen in the form of an anime series, and the even smaller screen as a cross-platform mobile and PC game. 

The Early Access build of this game has been available in Canada since March 21st, but we, despite living far, far away from the Great White North, have managed to get our hands on a test version of Solo Leveling:Arise. 

Here are our early impressions. 


As you would expect, Solo Leveling:Arise hits the ground running in terms of story. It sees you playing as Sung Jinwoo, one of a select group of “awakened” humans capable of perceiving the mysterious “gates” through which monsters enter the human realm. 

This makes Jinwoo a “Hunter”… but not a very good one. In fact, his nickname is “Weakest Hunter of All Mankind”. Ouch. 

During a surprisingly gory tutorial mission we briefly get to see Jinwoo in action while learning the basics of movement, attacks, skills, dodges, and targeting. But before long his notorious incompetence as a warrior apparently gets him killed. 

Except he survives. Better still, the powers that be have chosen to “reawaken” Jinwoo, giving him the unique ability to level-up from his lowly E-Rank status to something infinitely greater. 

This is also the premise of the webtoon, incidentally, so it was always an RPG waiting to be made. 

Graphics and Sound

Aesthetically speaking, Solo Leveling:Arise has the goods. It combines slick 3D graphics (gameplay) with webtoon-style graphic novel sequences (cut-scenes), beautifully drawn 2D animations (interactive dialogue sequences), and 2D art (menus).

All of these elements combine to create a robust and stylish gameworld. During combat, meanwhile, the screen is typically ablaze with golden light, skill effects, and horrific monsters. 

The voice-acting is strong, too, if melodramatic, while the score keeps the action moving with its over-the-top combination of battle drums, horns, stabby strings, and soaring electric guitar solos. 


Anybody who has played a gacha-RPG like Genshin Impact or Dragon Raja will pretty much know where they are with Solo Leveling:Arise.

During combat, you move with a virtual stick on the left of the screen and unleash an array of skills, attacks, and dodges by tapping virtual buttons on the right. 

Dodging at the right time and then deploying the “Shadow Step” skill lets you pull off “Extreme Evasion”, depositing you behind a slowed down enemy for a flurry of devastating attacks. 

There’s a counterattack system, too, and you can bring fellow Hunters into the fight for healing or other forms of support. 

It goes without saying that you soon have the option to do combat on auto, so you may not spend much time getting to grips with these commands, but it’s always possible to seize control when you feel the personal touch will help. 

Alas, we didn’t get far enough in the time we had to defeat Igris the Red, after which Jinwoo reportedly gains the ability to recruit the shadows of fallen enemies and unleash them with the command “ARISE!” 

Sounds fun though. 

Along with the story campaign there are tons of modes to unlock and play, including gate assaults, Hunter missions, instance dungeons, encore missions, and so on. The story, meanwhile, contains side chapters alongside the main narrative, so there should be plenty in here to keep you occupied. 

Off the battlefield, you’ll spend your time exploring the game’s futuristic hub area, which lets you level-up, summon, fuse, craft, draw Heroes, claim rewards, claim Activity Funds (basically a constantly refilling pot of cash), send out mining teams, and attack gates.

Plus, you can stop and chat with various NPCs to learn more about the gameworld. 

Of course, it takes longer than we’ve got to know whether a game like Solo Leveling:Arise is rewarding in the long term, but it creates an extremely encouraging first impression. 

You’ll be able to play it for yourself soon. To be ready for the game just head to its official websiteGoogle Play, the App Store, or the Netmarble Launcher