Honkai: Star Rail — Characters, plot, beta, release date, and everything you need to know

Honkai: Star Rail character art
(Image credit: miHoYo)

After the rousing success of Genshin Impact, gamers all over the world are interested in the next project from miHoYo. This time, it's a sci-fi adventure that has players exploring space and unraveling mysteries that surround a number of different characters. Although the art style and animation look very similar to Genshin Impact, Honkai: Star Rail offers some key gameplay differences for players to look forward to when it releases. 

Honkai: Star Rail story

This sci-fi story starts off in space as the Astral Express and its crew makes its way to the Herta Space Station for a delivery. However, Voidrangers from the Antimatter Legion attack and so characters from both the Astral Express and the station have to fight them off. During the skirmish, some new bonds are formed and characters determine to go exploring to different worlds in order to get answers on an object known as Stellaron. 

Honkai: Star Rail Characters

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Honkai: Star Rail characters
Trailblazer (player character)PhysicalThis character can be male of female. They awoke on the Herta Space Station after Silver Wolf activated their receptacle.
Dan HengWindA young man who wields a spear called Cloud-Piercer. He joined the Express's guard on its long expedition to escape his past.
March 7thIceYes, really. Mihoyo named a character after a date, because it reflects the day that she was awoken from "eternal drifting ice" without any memory of who she is.
HimekoFireA red-haired scientist who helped repair the Astral Express and travels the stars.
Welt YangImaginaryHe's a "former Anti-Entropy Sovereign" who has apparently saved the world several times.
KafkaLightningA stylish Stellaron Hunter on the Insterastral Peace Corporation's wanted list.
Silver WolfQuantumA talented hacker who has proven herself against Crewllum of the Genius Society.
SampoWindA salesman with quick wit who is always ready to turn a profit.
GepardIceCaptain of the Silvermane Guards who hails from the icy city, Belobog.
BronyaWindCommander of the Silvermane Guards and heir to the supreme Guardian of Belobog.
PelaIceIntelligence Officer of the Silvermane Guards who thinks critically and clearly in any situation.
ArlanLightningProtector and head of Herta Space Station's Security Department.
AstaFireLead researcher of Herta Space Station. She can handle any situation with ease.
HertaIceShe gets bored easily due to her extremely high IQ, but she is Herta Space Station's "true master".
SeeleQuantumShe grew up in the Underworld of Belobog and has learned to fight for herself.
ClaraPhysicalA homeless girl who accidentally revived an ancient robot named Svarog.
Jing YuanLightningHe is a powerful warrior who leads the Cloud Knights of Xianzhou as one of its six generals.
BladeWindBlade is his pseudonym, but he is a powerful sword wielder and member of the Stellaron Hunters.
LuochaImaginaryA young man with medical skills who carries a coffin on his back.
NatashaPhysicalShe is a doctor in the Underworld and one of the few who can help the people that live there.
ServalLightningA mechanic who does as she wishes. She runs a workshop called "Neverwinter" in Belobog that she often uses for "rock 'n' roll performances."
HookFireAlthough small, she is the boss of the Moles, a group of friends in Belobog's Underworld.
SushangPhysicalShe wields a Greatsword and is one of the newest and most excited members of the Cloud Knights.

What makes Honkai: Star Rail different from Genshin Impact?

Genshin Impact Characters

(Image credit: miHoYo)

There are many comparisons to be made between miHoYo's fantasy RPG, Genshin Impact, and its upcoming sci-fi adventure, Honkai: Star Rail. For instance, both are single-player, free-to-play, open-world games with similar art and animation styles. Additionally, in both cases, characters choose whether to be male or female and can gather more characters to their team as they explore and complete missions. Even the game's main menus look very similar to those found in Genshin Impact. 

However, something that makes it stand apart from its popular sister software is that it offers a turn-based combat system rather than action-adventure battles. There are likely to be many other differences, but that's the biggest one at the moment. 

Is Honkai: Star Rail a sequel to Honkai Impact?

Honkai: Star Rail — Welt, Himeko, and Bronya

(Image credit: miHoYo)

Anyone familiar with miHoYo's free-to-play action RPG from 2016, Honkai Impact 3rd, might see some similarities between Honkai: Star Rail and this older game. Well, that's because Honkai: Star Rail is the spiritual successor to Honkai Impact 3rd, as HoYoverse explained in an interview with Yahoo Gaming SEA

Characters from the past game will appear in this upcoming one. The most exciting aspect of this is making unplayable characters from the older game characters that you can add to your team. 

Honkai: Star Rail platforms

Honkai: Star Rail — Herta Space Station

(Image credit: miHoYo)

As of right now, Honkai: Star Rail is being developed for iOS, Android, and Windows, however, it's very possible it will come to more platforms as time goes on. Although, it might depend on the game's popularity. If it's anything like Genshin Impact, we're sure it will quickly become one of the best iPhone games out there.

For instance, when Genshin Impact first released, it was only available on those same three platforms listed above, but updates have allowed it to also come to PS4 and PS5. We don't advise Nintendo Switch or Xbox owners to hold their breath for Honkai: Star Rail compatibility as Genshin Impact still isn't even available on those consoles. 

Honkai: Star Rail release date & beta

Honkai: Star Rail — Trailblazer running

(Image credit: miHoYo)

There is no exact date yet, but Honkai: Star Rail is slated to launch sometime in 2023. It's currently in its second-closed beta, but if you're excited for it to come out, you can pre-register at the game's official website.

Adventures in space!

Get ready for an upcoming sci-fi adventure from the company that brought us the popular Genshin Impact fantasy game. The characters seem compelling and it looks like there will be plenty of story and lore to uncover as players explore different planets. Whether you're playing on iPhone, iPad, Android phone, tablet, or Windows it looks like the experience will be one worth playing through. 

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.