The mobile gaming landscape – especially the realm of RPGs – has largely become the domain of RNG-based gacha games. They tend to feature hundreds of characters and very complicated upgrade systems that reward players who spend more to progress exponentially further and faster than those who don’t. While I have found many of these titles enjoyable, I remained desperate for a mobile title that actually provided the console experience many of these games promise.
Now enter, Another Eden, an original game made by two of the chief creatives of Chrono Trigger that’s more than an auto-battler RPG for mobile devices. The team has brought this adventure to PC, which mirrors the mobile experience for better or for worse.
Another Eden is a free-to-play title supported by a gacha system that you can pay real money for…but you really don’t have to. The game periodically gives you free non-story characters, but you also have characters that jump in and out of the party throughout the campaign.
These units have different functions in your party beyond just a rock-paper-scissors weakness system. They can be built up in a refreshingly direct way that requires you to actually use them in battle instead of pumping them full of EXP boosters. Rather than encouraging players to zone out and let the AI handle all of the fighting, Another Eden delivers an almost full-scale handheld RPG experience on the level of a Nintendo DS title. The art style is gorgeous, the story is involving, and the characters matter. (Oh, and there are random encounters!)
You play as Aldo, a young boy found with his sister, Fienne, in the woods as a baby by the elder of a small village. Fienne turns out to be the human MacGuffin needed for the villains to enact their world-ending plan; they attack your village to kidnap her, and you set out on a grand journey through time to rescue her after awakening to mysterious powers involving your conspicuously large sword.
You’ve seen a lot of this before — Another Eden is a love letter to 16-bit RPGs. Still, the low-stakes beginning of the story ties together well with the game’s first few locations’ striking visual design, selling the player on its well-defined sense of adventure. The areas are styled in a way that gives the illusion of vast, open space, especially compared to the enclosed hallways of many other mobile titles, and the art itself is hand-painted and gorgeous.
The style is complemented by the game’s format, which skews much more heavily towards the classic Super Nintendo RPG style than the extreme, single-mission-based gameplay of its peers. You exist and run around in an actual, explorable game world, rather than continuously picking linear missions from a list.
It’s a very stark contrast to titles like Granblue Fantasy or Tales of Crestoria that have no exploration whatsoever and feels much closer to what Final Fantasy Brave Exvius was shooting for with its occasional open design. Thankfully, a frequent autosave system allows Another Eden to be just as easily and conveniently picked up and put back down as any of them. Refreshingly, the lack of any kind of energy system means that you can actually sit down and play as much as you like.
The sense of depth and scale even extends to the sidequests. Many of them appear somewhat typical from the outside but end up being emotional and meaningful stories of their own. Early in the game, one quest tasks you with delivering a few electrical components for a couple of kids in the futuristic city of Elzion.
What starts as a fetch quest quickly takes on a level of additional investment on the part of the main character as Aldo finds out why the kids need the components, to begin with – their mother is sick. They need to trade the components for a weapon that will allow them to get ingredients for food that may cure her. So, you end up going out and defeating the monsters for them when they try and fight independently. This synergizes with the open world to turn what could have just been picking a quest out of a menu and watching a skippable cutscene into a miniature adventure and story of its own. Many of the sidequests are of a similar caliber.
One thing to be noted, though with the headstart the game gives you, is that, once you unlock the ability to recruit additional characters, the difficulty drops rather dramatically for a while. This means that grinding will become quite a bit easier than it’s intended, but it’s going to take a bit before the game starts accounting for the player having a full party.
Another Eden is not the most generous game with its free currency once you get beyond the new-player bonuses. You don’t need to do a ton of pulls to get a usable party, but this isn’t the game for people whose entire enjoyment of mobile gaming is spinning the gacha wheel.
This, however, is not just a review of the game – it’s been out in the US since 2019 – it’s a review of the recently-released PC port. Sadly, it’s very lackluster. Many basic features are absent because of how little was changed in the port from mobile to PC. The menus are all still obviously tailored to a touchscreen experience and don’t feel optimized for using a mouse or a screen larger than a phone’s.
There’s no in-game exit button (you have to use windowed mode and ‘X’ out of the program, or Alt-F4 away from the game and kill the process), no native controller support, and most problematically, no graphical settings whatsoever beyond “fullscreen” and “windowed.” This is an issue because, even on a system that’s several times as powerful as a flagship phone that runs the game perfectly, the lack of vertical sync, framerate, and scaling options makes the game frequently look choppy while in motion and muddy in zoomed-in cutscenes.
It’s not a dealbreaker in terms of enjoying the game if you can overlook minor graphical issues, but it is far below the standard options expected in a 2021 PC release. The only advantages to playing this new version through Steam over simply using BlueStacks to play it on your computer are the free character you receive for the welcome campaign and keyboard support to play using WASD.
Another Eden is worth checking out if you’re a fan of classic RPGs, but sadly the PC port doesn’t do the mobile experience any favors. You’re better off playing the mobile release while they update and optimize the PC version. It’s still playable and enjoyable for a free-to-play gacha RPG but definitely needs to break away from its mobile foundation.