When you hear about a new JRPG from veteran Masato Kato (Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Final Fantasy XI), it’s hard not to get excited. Then you hear it’s a mobile game, and expectations lower. Finally, it’s released as a free-to-play gacha game and all hope is nearly lost.
Fortunately, Another Eden manages to avoid all of the trappings of the genre and provides a truly compelling experience. It’s a nostalgic journey back in time to the best years of SNES JRPGs. Read on for the full Another Eden review.
Another Chrono Trigger
It’s hard not to draw comparisons with Kato’s most famous work, Chrono Trigger, when talking about Another Eden. The similarities are in plain sight: you are a chosen hero who must time travel to the future and the past to save the world from a powerful threat.
The first few moments of the two games are identical. You’re awoken by a female character on the day of a festival in your small town. The festival doesn’t pan out in the same way, but from the very start you’re transported back in time to your first playthrough of Chrono Trigger.
The similarities don’t stop there. At some point in your adventure, you befriend a frog knight named Cyrus. This isn’t to say that the frog knight in Another Eden is a carbon copy of the frog knight in Chrono Trigger, but the similarities are there. In fact, the slain best friend of Frog in Chrono Trigger was also named Cyrus. What a coincidence.
These winks and nudges to Chrono Trigger are found throughout Another Eden. Given that both games come from the mind of Masato Kato, it’s fair to say that they fall into the category of homages rather than full-fledged copyright infringement.
Visuals are one way Another Eden manages to stand out from its classic (and contemporary) counterparts. It uses a 2D sidescrolling approach where you move your party left or right to advance along the screen. Moving between zones is seamless, and the action is rarely stopped by loading screens.
Characters and scenery are depicted and animated in 2D, giving the game a Paper Mario-like look, but without the paper gameplay gimmick. Several other mobile JRPGs use this tactic, and the execution is great. Backgrounds are all unique and interesting, making Kato’s world feel rich in combination with the fantastic soundtrack.
The character design isn’t revolutionary, but it gets the job done. There’s the aforementioned Cyrus the frog knight, an android from the future that looks like Hatsune Miku, and a hot-headed blacksmith’s daughter among others. Many extra characters can be unlocked via random summons, but we’ll get to that later.
One pleasantly surprising aspect is the lack of fanservice. Most mobile gacha games are chock full of it, but Another Eden shows at least some restraint. The hyper-sexualized characters have been held back to the levels of classic 90s JRPGs. Find your waifus elsewhere.
Combat in Another Eden for the first hours is a simple turn-based system. You choose each character’s attack and target before the turn starts, then they are carried out depending on the speed stat.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s no auto-battle system. I don’t remember the last time I played a mobile RPG without an auto-battle feature of some kind. It makes it feel like, you know, a real video game.
Your party contains four active characters and two characters in reserve. Any characters in reserve will regenerate a HP and MP at the end of each turn. You can switch them out at any point in the battle, which also triggers a small buff depending on the character.
After a few hours of gameplay, you unlock Another Force. This is a gauge that, once filled up, allows you to stop time and spam abilities for a few seconds. When the time is up, your team performs a combo attack, one of which looks eerily like the X-Strike Double Tech from Chrono Trigger.
The combat is fun, but standard for a JRPG. Mind you this isn’t just a JRPG – it’s a free, mobile JRPG. It might not stand out among classic JRPGs, but it does stand out among its peers in the Google Play Store.
Unlike most mobile RPGs, Another Eden features a single game mode (story mode) that’s completely narrative driven. There is no energy system, no daily missions, no competitive PvP system (or even friends list), and no limited time events. Just good old fashioned single-player JRPG storylines.
Another Eden doesn’t feature an energy system, daily missions, or any other F2P trappings
It’s clear from the beginning that a lot of care was taken in all aspects of the game, and that includes the story. It will take countless hours to make it through all 26 chapters of the main storyline, plus more if you want to complete all of the side quests and other content. Plus, the localization is top-notch.
My only complaint is that the focus on story makes it a bit unfriendly to mobile gaming sessions. Prepare to sit down for at least 20 minutes each time you play Another Eden if you want to get anything done at all. Also, there’s a lot of reading to do, which is pretty standard for JRPGs.
Upon completion of the story, there are a number of end-game elements like Another Dungeon and the soon-to-be-added Fishing. The developers have committed to regularly releasing new content, which is permanently available in the game.
Each character has optional side quests, as well. These reveal more of their backstory and give minor strength improvements. As new characters are added, more content is permanently made available. Typically two characters are added each month.
Now for the elephant in the room: microtransactions. I’m happy to report that Another Eden is the least aggressively monetized free mobile game I’ve played in a long time. Maybe ever. The truth is that Another Eden is a JRPG with gacha elements, rather than a true gacha game.
Another Eden is the least aggressively monetized mobile game I’ve played in a long time
If you’re not familiar with gacha games, their main feature is that they require random summons (like loot boxes) to unlock new characters. Typically the chances of getting a rare character are extremely low (2-5%), and this is the case with Another Eden as well.
But in reality it doesn’t matter for Another Eden. You get free characters when starting the game, and unlock story characters as you advance. At no point are paid characters required to beat a boss or move forward in the game.
Even the game’s shop for premium currency (Chronos Stones) is hidden away in the menu. It takes several steps access, and the annoying pop ups that plague other free-to-play titles are completely absent. You could easily forget that this is a free-to-play game as you make your way through the story.
Another Eden review – Final thoughts
Without a doubt, Another Eden is worth picking up for fans of classic JRPGs and single player experiences. Even as a paid game it would be worth picking up. The production values are exceptional, and it’s clear that a lot of passion went into its development.
Another Eden deserves a spot on any mobile gamer’s phone
Another Eden deserves a spot on any mobile gamer’s phone, but at this point the main issue is availability. Although it was launched internationally last week, it’s still only available in a few English speaking countries, which doesn’t include any of Europe or the UK.
Regardless, you should pick this one up whenever you can get your hands on it. It’s a nostalgic gem of a game that will keep you entertained for hours.
That’s all for this Another Eden review. What did you think of Masato Kato’s latest JRPG adventure? Let us know in the comments!
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