The popular consensus on mobile gaming is that it’s a cheap way to make a lot of money. That’s mostly true, even when big-name developers like Nintendo decide to enter the market. While games like Fire Emblem Heroes are more generous than others, there is still room for improvement. Now, imagine my surprise, when a mobile JRPG (a genre known for draining wallets) comes up with a game that has genuine effort put into it. That game is Another Eden.
Another Eden is published and developed by GREE Inc., a Japanese company that makes plenty of these “Gacha” mobile games. This genre has you randomly roll for characters in exchange for in-game currency. It’s similar to a trading card game, even to the point where characters have their own rarity. These games are notorious for being stingy in regards to in-game currency and encouraging people to spend cash. They also tend to have low-quality writing and a general lack of care or effort.
However, Another Eden managed to exceed my greatest expectations. Yes, it uses a Gacha system and you can purchase in-game currency. However, I honestly have no idea where the store even is. The game has never asked me if I wanted to buy currency, nor did it highlight the fact that I can buy stuff with real cash, which is worth praising, in my opinion.
The random way of earning characters may be a bit annoying at first. You need 1000 Lux (in-game currency) to purchase a set of 10 characters. This is the best way to spend your money as it guarantees you pull at least one 4-star character. By the time I reached Chapter 13 (the midpoint of the current story), I was able to collect up to 2000 Lux, which equals 20 characters. On top of that, some companions are tied to the story and will join automatically, giving me plenty of options.
The randomness of getting new characters feels counter-productive. Some companions aren’t very useful, so you’re hard work might feel wasted. However, since this is a free-to-play game, I am willing to cut the developers some slack. You also get one free 4-star character (the maximum is 5-stars) when you start playing the game. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s something to tide you over as you save up money.
As is the case with a lot of mobile games, Another Eden does require you to do some grinding. The difficulty scaling isn’t great, and story missions can get quite frustrating. The only way to complete them is by levelling up your characters. There are two ways to do this. The first is the old-fashioned way, which is killing a whole bunch of monsters. You can replay harder versions of older dungeons to quickly level-up your party.
The other way is to use experience scrolls. You can obtain these by completing side quests, which are much easier than the story missions. However, the limited supply of these scrolls means you will eventually have to resort to monster slaying. To be fair, the grinding isn’t that bad. It’s pretty similar to older JRPGs in that sense. I do find it funny that the game Another Eden is influenced by, Chrono Trigger, required zero grinding.
Most mobile RPGs have simple gameplay mechanics, and Another Eden is no exception. That being said, this game has more thought put into it than many others. You can’t auto-battle your way through hordes of enemies, nor would you actually want to. Instead, you must use the unique abilities of each character to overcome your foes. The turn-based combat is basic and suitable for the platform. You can only equip three abilities to each character, so there is an element of light customisation.
In particular, the Valor Chant mechanic stands out. Every playable character has a unique Valor Chant that activates when you bring them out of reserve into the front line. It will either buff your party or debuff enemies. It’s worth it to keep some characters in reserve forever because their Valor Chants are just that useful. This is a mechanic I wish more turn-based RPGs had. Being able to switch characters mid-battle (while gaining buffs) makes too much sense. It also adds a thin, but visible, layer of strategy to generic combat encounters.
The presentation of Another Eden is the best I’ve seen in this genre of mobile gaming. The graphics and artwork are appealing. The in-game models are chibi, but they are surprisingly detailed. You can make out most of the features of a character. Also, every weapon has a unique model which shows up on your character when you equip it. This level of detail is almost non-existent in the mobile space, but there is so much care and effort put into Another Eden which makes it a joy to play through.
The overall art is also gorgeous. Every level has a unique background that is vibrant, yet easy on the eyes. There are three different time periods (as far as I know); Antiquity (Dark Ages), Present and Future. They look as you might expect. Present day is a typical fantasy setting while the future is full of advanced technology and floating cities. As cliche as the locations are, they are still fun to traverse through.
I also have to mention how amazing the music in this game is. Let’s get something out of the way first. You might have heard that Yasunori Mitsuda (from Chrono Trigger) was a composer for this game. However, he is responsible for the main theme song. The bulk of the credit belongs to Shunsuke Tsuchiya and Mariam Abounnasr. They have done a fantastic job of making the music feel like a classic JRPG. It’s has become one of my favourite aspects of Another Eden.
It’s also worth discussing some of the shortcomings of the game. The dungeons are long and repetitive, with an annoyingly high encounter rate. It’s hard to tell if you’re making any progress since all of the rooms look the same. The constant bombardment of high-level enemies will force you to grind for better gear. It can be frustrating when you just want to play through the main story. It’s pretty much mandatory that you complete all of the sidequests so you can keep up with difficulty.
Speaking of which, the suggested level for a quest isn’t very useful. I suggest you are a few levels higher than the recommended one. However, upgrading your equipment is more important than levels. You have to make sure you’re training at least six characters, four in the front line and two for reserves. Your reserves have to be able to fight almost as well as the main party. This also allows you to constantly rotate characters during tough boss fights. An efficient strategy that you should get accustomed to.
Another issue is the unskippable cutscenes. When it comes to the main story, I found it engaging enough to read through all the text. However, the sidequests are mind-numbingly boring and full of throwaway dialogue. I wish you could, at least, skip the side quest dialogue because they are dull and a waste of time. Instead, you’ll find yourself furiously tapping your device as you wait for the NPCs to stop talking. This is the one feature that Another Eden is sorely lacking in when compared to other mobile games.
These issues aside, Another Eden is a fun RPG for mobile devices. It doesn’t quite recapture the same magic of games like Chrono Trigger, but this is one of the better attempts in recent times. I have no shame in saying that Another Eden is a better tribute to classic JRPGs than I Am Setsuna or Lost Sphear. That being said, it’s a huge shame that this isn’t a proper console game. Maybe we could see an adaptation for PS4, similar to Granblue Fantasy. That was another mobile RPG that is getting a full-blown gaming experience on a console.In any case, Another Eden is the most fun I’ve had while playing a mobile game. It’s solid gameplay and presentation makes it an enjoyable experience, despite the overall grind. If you’re looking for something to play during a commute or during short breaks, Another Eden can easily take up that slot. It’s free to play and currently available on both Android and iOS devices