The Mobile Game Beyond Its Platform.
Developer: Wright Flyer Studios
Publisher: Global: GREE, Inc.
JP: Wright Flyer Studios
Release Date JP: April 12, 2017
NA: January 28, 2019
EU: June 26, 2019
Mobile games got a bad reputation to them. But with an example like the ridiculously microtransaction-filled Dungeon Keeper Mobile or how the successful F2P business model has been adopted by full-priced games, it’s not hard to see why some people might resent them. Not all mobile games are like that. Although they may be few in numbers, there does exist a selected few with a delicate balance between content, presentation, and monetization. Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space, a rare gem hiding below the vast sea of mobile games, is able to walk on a fine line of greatness with sensible and unintrusive microtransactions resulting in a full-fledged and satisfying single-player experience.
A beastman discovered a crying baby girl in the forest. He was able to discern that the girl possesses a peculiar power but the sound of footsteps forced him to flee the scene before he could further contemplate. The owner of said footsteps is no other than the old mayor of Baruoki. As the kind mayor approached the girl, her older brother revealed himself. They were adopted and the rest is history. The siblings grow up to be fine upstanding young citizens of the village as fifteen years have passed with the brother being named Aldo, and his sister Feinne. One day, as Aldo is about to officially become village guard, he learned that his sister was kidnapped by the Beast King of the beastmen army. Aldo was able to catch up with the Beast King who revealed to be the very same beastman that saw Feinne as a baby back then. Although outmatched, Aldo was saved by the power of the mysterious sword Ogre Rancorem and later had to escape from certain death via the distortion of space and time. As he comes to, the young man finds himself on an unfamiliar surrounding on top of a gargantuan airship with technologies many centuries beyond his time and comprehension. Aldo journey begins as he sets out to save his sister and investigate the mysteries behind the chain of events that has led him to this point…
Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space, despite being a mobile game, offers a fairly traditional RPG experience. You can move your party around any locations you are in by swipe and hold left or right. The vast majority of the areas will have you moving in a horizontal axis with some vertical movements added to give layers to the map. True to its RPG roots, there are many things to explore in the game. These can range from just talking to NPCs who can provide sidequest to the players or simply dialogues that add more to the overall story and setting. I quite appreciate the latter as it adds incentive for players that care about the story and want to learn more about the world of Another Eden. Some NPCs who might seem like they are saying random things at first might even come back and be a character of significance in some quests along the way. Speaking of quests, the majority of the tediousness of having to backtrack to previous places is alleviated with the built-in with color/symbol-coded way-points and the ability to fast travel to places you have been before. There are still fetch quests like having to beat monsters a certain number of times or obtain a fixed number of items but that’s traditional RPG for you. Thankfully, these kinds of missions are almost always optional so feel free to tackle them at your pace.
Now that the traversal/exploration part is out of the way, let’s focus on the battle mechanic of Another Eden. The way the battle system works is quite reminiscent of the classic Final Fantasy games at first glance. You have your party in their chibi forms on the right side while the enemies, in full art form, on the other end. The battle happens in a turn-based manner with you having the option to perform a free normal attack or one of the assigned 3 skills for each character. What distinguishes this game mechanically from others of its kind is Valor Chant and the system around it. Valor Chant is a special ability that costs no mana and is automatically activated when characters in reserve move to the front of the main party during battle. Benefits can range from stat boosts to debuffing enemies. It should be mentioned that the main party consists of 4 active characters and 2 reserves. The game encourages the party to switch units around to take advantage of Valor Chant which is supported by the fact that reserve units recover both HP and MP over time. It is no exaggeration that effectively utilizing these key features is vital to tackling harder content in Another Eden.
Upgrading your party
Just like any other RPGs, you never want to get caught underleveled or under-equipped. The party naturally gain exp from completing battles and staying alive. An alternate way to quickly leveling your party is to use scrolls which is an exhaustible resource. You will also gain an ability point for each level gained to unlock skills and stat bonuses on the unique character skill grid. Each character also has a level cap depending on their rarities at level 50, 60, and 80 for 3-star, 4-star, and 5-star units. Some lower star units can be promoted to higher rarities, dubbed “class change,” allowing them to unlock entirely new grids with even better skills and bonuses. Unfortunately, the item that is needed, tome, can only be retrieved from a hard variant of old story dungeons you have cleared called Another Dungeon. The problem arises from the fact that you can only obtain up to three randomized rewards, including non-tome ones. Because of this, the chance of getting a specific one is rather low. This is worsened due to Another Dungeon areas only drop certain tomes and that you have a limited attempt to clear them. Unless you love grinding with no direction, I recommend consulting Another Eden wiki for possible drops.
In Another Eden, outside of some early specific ones, you will not be able to purchase equipment without the necessary materials from monsters. As the drops are RNG-based, gathering enough of these for multiple characters can be tedious. Some rare ingredients can only be obtained from Horrors which are non-story bosses variation of the normal grunts. I must warn to tread carefully around them as they are significantly stronger than their weaker selves. Horrors are more than capable to wipe your party if not sufficiently prepared. Not all characters use the same kind of equipment and weapons so the items needed are not always overlapped. While the effect of being under-equipped is not usually immediately felt, the difference will often catch up sooner than you think so don’t ignore it. It may sound like a lot of grinding but I assure you it’s only about the same as old school RPGs and is still nowhere near as bad as a great many numbers of other mobile games.
Microtransaction in Another Eden is unintrusive and almost non-existent. Outside of Another Dungeon, there is no stamina system of any kind, meaning that you are free to explore and play the game as much as you want and free of pesky ads. That’s right, just like a full-priced game. There is only one singular currency called Chronos Stone which can either be earned in-game from quests and achievements or bought. It has about three uses: summon party members, restock Another Dungeon attempts, or revive your party instantly if your team is KO’d. I suppose you can say that the last one would be classified as pay to win? I don’t believe it counts as one in a F2P that is also a completely single-player game with 0 online or social interactivity whose content is completely beatable with just the free units as long as you have the necessary level and gears.
The actual use of Chronos Stone that is of the most worth is obviously to summon allies in a gacha, randomized, style. In terms of getting the character that you want, I’d say that Another Eden is perhaps one of the most generous in mobile games. This is because you can summon higher rarity characters as lower ones. What this means is that SSR 5 or 4-star units can be summoned as, say, more summonable rares with 3 stars. The only downside is that you will have to put in the time to get them back to their max rarity which is extremely doable. Considering that 3 stars are the lowest rarity of all heroes and the summoning pools have no non-playable fillers to reduce your chance like most other games, the odds are pretty good. In the event of getting duplicates, they will turn into light/shadow points which can give bonus stats to your character with enough quantity. Duplicates of higher stars will simply replace your lesser one, forgoing the need to promote them back to their rightful state.
A bit more about Another Eden
Perhaps you have already caught on to this but Another Eden has a fair share of similarities to Chrono Trigger especially the very prominent time-traveling plot point and if you have seen some promotional material, a Frogman companion. Not surprising considering that Masato Kato and Yasunori Mitsuda, the writer and composer of Chrono Trigger work on this. I should clarify for clarity’s sake that Yasunori Mitsuda does contribute some music to the game but he is not the main composer. His apprentices, Shunsuke Tsuchiya and Mariam Abounnasr compose the majority of the soundtracks according to an interview. All I have to say is they have done a magnificent job for Another Eden. I am especially in love with the many battle themes for various encounters but the other BGMs are also no slouch! I am planning to buy a physical CD for this game soundtrack which should speak volumes.
Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space has achieved the impossibility of making a F2P mobile game that can provide completely single-player RPG experience. The game is ad-free and the microtransaction is quite non-intrusive to the point of almost being non-existent with its main function being summoning characters in a game that can be beaten with free units. This title also doesn’t have that pesky stamina system to restrict you from exploring the stories to your heart’s content with the sole exception being a non-story dungeon, Another Dungeon. On top of these completely sensible business decisions, the game also has excellent music and art to boot! I would like to see more mobile games follow suit but that time may yet be far away. While you are waiting for that to happen in the meantime, do go check out Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space. I simply cannot support and give enough credits to this game, the company, and the people behind it enough!
Let the fact that Another Eden, a mobile game, is getting a switch port sinks in. It’s that good and completely deserved.