Since early 2018, avid ARMYs have been on the lookout for a mobile game centered on BTS, which was announced by the game developer Netmarble (who worked with BigHit Entertainment and TAKEONE COMPANY) in a press conference. The chairman even teased its game-exclusive clips, photos, and tracks. But for about a year, there were barely any updates, and ARMYs were left wondering if the game was even going to be released.
Then came a tweet in January 2019 announcing that the game was coming soon.
What followed were a string of teasers with voice recordings, stunning visuals, and intriguing story posters.
Come May, fans were allowed to pre-register in the “open recruitment to be BTS’ manager.” Finally, in June 26, 2019, BTS World was made available for free in the App Store and Google Play.
What is BTS World?
BTS World is a simulation game, which means it imitates reality (in this case, BTS being the biggest boyband on the planet right now) and the game immerses you into their world. What's great is that the game is closely based on the actual BTS members, and you get glimpses of their unique personalities by "interacting" with them through simulated conversations, text messages, phone calls, social media feeds, and even video calls!
Unlike other simulation games like The Sims, though, there's a fantasy element, where the main story starts with you (the player) traveling back in time before BTS debuted. And the best part is you're not just a fan—you're the manager. You're tasked to recruit the members one by one and help them with their debut, so they can become the supernovas they are today.
Aside from the main game, you can play "Another Story." Here, each member has an "alternate reality" where they're not K-pop idols. You still get a story, mission, and cinematic stages. Your ultimate goal here is to befriend each one of them and help them in their non-showbiz passions. You can also anticipate if and how they cross paths even if they're not K-pop idols in the making.
Kim Namjoon plays an aspiring mystery novel writer.
Kim Seokjin plays a hotel intern who strives to be the best hotelier.
Min Yoongi plays a piano prodigy trying to overcome his fears.
Jung Hoseok plays a struggling veterinary medicine student.
Park Jimin plays an amateur dancer assisting his grandma in running a rice cake shop.
Kim Taehyung plays a hamburger-loving gamer forced to take care of his parents' farm for summer.
And Jeon Jungkook plays a high schooler who's talented at everything but dreams to pursue taekwondo.
How do you play BTS World?
To accomplish the ultimate goal of helping BTS debut, you'll need to collect cards featuring snapshots or short clips of the members—they're like virtual Pokémon cards or digital versions of the photo cards you get when you buy BTS albums. The higher the card value, the better your chances of conquering a stage.
For the main game (called "BTS Story"), you'll need to get through six chapters with 20 stages each. Some are story and cinematic stages, where you'll just be exchanging dialogues with the members and other game characters or you'll be watching a clip exclusively available in the game. The rest are mission stages, which require certain cards and a number of wings (they’re like your lives that replenish every six minutes in the game) to be cleared.
While clearing mission stages and accomplishing other tasks within the game (including the simple act of logging in every day), you get to earn wings, power-ups for your cards, and other rewards. The power-ups and rewards are very important, especially as you progress in the game.
There are several other features of the game that you can play and access exclusive content from. Clear Daily Schedules in the Agency mode to increase member affinity (required for Another Story) and increase stats in BTS Story. Check out the Photo Album for image sets you can unlock by collecting certain cards. Head to Styling to mix and match items from the members’ closets (collected as rewards throughout the game when you clear missions with three-star scores). Replay conversations all you want through the Mobile mode.
Tips and Tricks of BTS World
- With great content comes great storage requirements, so free up your phone's memory space! Requiring an initial 96 MB storage space and two GB RAM, BTS World can eventually take up as much as seven GB (!!!) in total when you download all the content (as in everything, not just the required downloads). This includes the high-resolution copies of the photo cards, cinematic clips, and all the interactive dialogues.
- When you're just starting out, don't blindly level up the cards of your bias. Prioritize your five-, four-, and three-star cards over the two- and one-star cards, since the former would let you win mission stages more quickly.
- Save your coins (accumulate 50,000) and gems (accumulate 200) to draw multiple cards at a time. This gives you better chances of getting new cards (because you usually get duplicates at single draws) and stronger cards.
- Don't spend actual money on things like gems and other power-ups if you can be patient! Sure, you need them, but if you don't have spare cash for the game, just wait for your wings to replenish to play the mission stages. Wait for gem and power-up rewards every now and then and be on the lookout for "Bargain Wings Packs" sometimes offered (like 150 wings in exchange for 30 gems).
- When you need to improve a member's condition during Agency mode, try clearing an Another Story missions for recuperation item rewards. When all your members are in great condition and when you have enough coins or gems, hit the refresh button for a chance to play a Priority Schedule, which gives greater rewards when accomplished versus the Regular Daily Schedules.
- Be generous with gifting wings to your friends (and add as many as 50 friends). This won’t cost you anything but a couple of clicks, and hopefully, it nudges them to gift you with wings every now and then, too.
Honest Reviews of BTS World
"To be honest, playing BTS World's chapters made me extremely emotional. Some may say that I am being too dramatic, but as a fan who knew everything they've been through ever since they debuted, who knew the hardships they faced and how many tears they've cried, I can't help but remember all those times because of the BTS Story chapters. Playing BTS World is a stress-reliever for me, even if I am not a gamer and I'm busy with many other things. It is so intriguing and mysterious; you'll be curious about whatever's going to happen next. A bonus is that there are a lot of surprises and events plus gifts that will help in the game. And there are a lot of beautiful pictures, too! I recommend you play this game if you would like to know more about BTS because there are really facts about the members revealed here. Although BTS World is not as easy as it seems, it's very enjoyable."-Janica Bianco, 19
"At first, nasabi kong ang cringey pero as you go on, nasasanay naman. Overall, I love the idea kung paano na-build yung game. Napaka-organized. I wish I could buy more stuff using coins sa shop other than just using them to draw cards because the gems are too precious to spend (for me). I also hate the fact na ang liit ng experience points na binibigay nila kapag Another Story kasi hindi man lang kumakalahati compared sa kapag naglalaro ka ng BTS Story. I love the cards so much, especially if I download the high-quality versions, haha! Overall, I liked the game after I got over the initial cringe because I didn't really expect it to have dialogues like, 'My heart beats so loud!'" -Shanky Pelegrino, 15
"When I learned about BTS World, I was ecstatic since I'm also an ARMY. It has a story that captivates you to turn the page. I also love it because it has random trivia about each BTS member. Aside from these, the game gives you the courage to follow your dreams and work hard exactly like the characters in the game. I also love this game because I can still play without spending much. There are unlimited surprises found in the game. There are also other areas for you to explore if you get bored playing. Each member has their own story. This game is really worth the hype for me since BTS is the number one boyband rn, and this game for them is at par with the wave of enthusiasm for the band." -Lychiell Thea Ramsey, 20
"Let's be real: This game is not every ARMY's cup of tea. But I've been hooked since it was released! I'm not like others I know who spend money buying gems or whatever, but I've been playing the game for weeks every single day! I guess I'm obsessed because one, the computation skills the game requires appeal to my inner math geek (LOL), and two, the interactive content you unlock as you go along are amazing. The simulated phone calls are one thing, but I legit screamed when I got to the part with the video call! Swoon-worthy visuals and eargasmic voices aside, I feel like I've learned so much about the wonderful personalities of each member through the game. More importantly, since I regretfully wasn't there at the beginning of their careers, I've come to appreciate BTS more now for working so hard and for remaining humble. Worth seven GB of my phone memory." -Ginyn Cadavillo, 27
BTS World can be downloaded from the App Store for iPhones and iPads with iOS 9.0 or later and on Google Play for phones with Android 4.4 and up.
Follow Ginyn on Instagram.