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Honkai: Star Rail has convinced me every character deserves a cell phone

Their group chats are so unhinged

An image of March 7th, the pink haired girlie from Honkai: Star Rail checking her phone in a town square. She’s looking intently at her screen as she smiles down at it.
March 7th checks her phone in Honkai: Star Rail
Image: Polygon via Hoyoverse

Group text chats are like hydras — delete one and somehow two more will crop up its place. Whether you love them or hate them, they’re a part of every user’s life. Apparently, they’re also a part of the sci-fi world of Honkai: Star Rail, a space adventure game from Genshin Impact developer, Hoyoverse. Honkai: Star Rail’s universe isn’t all that different from ours in this sense. Between saving worlds and fighting cosmic beings, the characters are constantly texting each other, and their unhinged conversations showcase the unique charms of each character.

The mobile and PC game follows the Trailblazer, a young person with cosmic powers who goes on an interplanetary adventure after boarding an interstellar train called the Astral Express. On their travels, they’re joined by two friends: a bubbly girly girl named March 7th, who loves to take selfies, and a cold swordsman named Dan Heng, who’d rather stay in and read. In the earlier parts of the game, the three take on an important expedition that could determine the fate of an icy planet and everyone who calls it home.

Given the dire circumstances, the Trailblazer should probably use their phone to communicate important information with other characters, like updates on quests, but they mainly use it to shoot the shit. These conversations have stood out to fans, and people are sharing their favorite snippets on places like TikTok. In the conversation shown in the recording below, renowned intergalactic scientist Herta asks the Trailblazer to test some of her new technology, to which they respond “beg me~”.


mc calm down it's only been a few hours since I started playing #honkaistarrail #hsr #starrail #hoyocreators #hertastarrail

♬ original sound - axm - axm

Upon boarding the Astral Express, you join a group chat that includes all the passengers so everyone gets important announcements. At one point, you get tossed into another group chat with researchers only to learn that they broke a rule by adding you, leading to you getting chastised by their boss, Asta. In another conversation, a sweet boy named Arlan texts you but then runs out of money on his phone so the chat abruptly ends. Later, you just text cute emojis back and forth with March 7th, further endearing her to everyone in the chat.

While conversations like this often serve a gameplay purpose by starting quests, they also serve as a sweet and silly means to characterize individuals and teach us about the larger culture of this world.

Even outside the conversations, cell phones are a staple of life on the Astral Express and the planets beyond. When you pause the screen, your character will automatically check their phone, and every character has their own unique case. In Belobog, a major city early in the game, you can interact with a phone booth, and an omniscient narrator will just tell you that the only reason you find it novel is because you’re from the mobile age. The prominence of cell phones in the game feels like a cute third-wall-breaking acknowledgment of how many people play Honkai: Star Rail. As mobile players tap along on their phones, they’ll be texting with all their friends.

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