Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space is a free-to-play Chrono Trigger inspired mobile RPG that launched about two years back. Having seen several collaborations with other studios for cross over content such as the currently running Tales of Series and Persona, this small screen adventure has gotten a bit of an upgrade as it has now come to the PC.
Up front, this is the same title that exists for both iOS and Android which is great for some users that want to make the switch as their data can be ported over. As I haven’t played in over a year, and for the sake of an actual from scratch review, I restarted this adventure and while there are multiple great things about playing this on a larger screen with a mouse and keyboard, or even just a keyboard, it’s still an internet based mobile title that could stall your progression with server maintenance periods.
Herein lies my issue with Another Eden’s move over to the PC. Instead of having done a full move over, it feels more like there’s a middle man not unlike BlueStacks which allows you to sign into your Google Play accounts and play whatever you own on the PC. After an almost 8GB download for the core, once loaded up you can choose to download the rest of the assets upfront or as needed like on your mobile device. Being a PC title, these should all have been done upfront as while it makes sense for a phone or tablet with more limitations on space, everything should have been present on the PC. Topping this off, occasionally you have to perform updates through the game instead of through steam meaning that instead of being ready to go, you now have to wait five or ten minutes for the process to run itself through.
Once you’re in though, Another Eden is the type of RPG that will check off multiple boxes. Nostalgia? Check. Cliches? Check. Loads of characters to pick from? Check… ish. Another Eden while a single player RPG has a few gatcha elements in order to get one to five star characters to join you on your journey. There are default party members that you can acquire throughout the story, but for the most part, you’ll be either spending the in-game currency that can be acquired with daily logins and accomplishing goals such as defeating monsters, making it through the story, etc, or you can sink some real money in for another currency to move your character collections along a little bit faster.
This was one thing that I appreciated when I was playing off of my smartphone a while back and what I’ve continued to appreciate now off of my PC or laptops. The acquisition of characters through currency isn’t required, and if you save up about a thousand crystals, you can get ten characters to join up giving you more than enough to work with. This easily allows you to properly set out on the adventure for both the main story line and the loads of side quests that any good player will obviously detour for which in this case? Are worth doing if not for the rewards, than for the immersion into the world and the lives of those that live there.
For the most part, I don’t tend to play games off either my smartphone or my tablet for the reason that most of the time the experiences don’t feel as refined as they would on the consoles or the PC. More often than not the reason for this is because titles are designed to be easily picked up and put down as who really has thirty of forty minutes between save points when running from the bus stop to the transit station or on break when in line for coffee at a shop five minutes away from the office on a fifteen minute break. Personally, I’d rather have the time to sit down and enjoy a full experience than a partial one.
This is where Another Eden blurs the line a little bit. It’s both. On one hand you have a long RPG with many different areas inside quests and main storyline, but on the other these quests can be completed within 5 to 10 minutes including all the dialogue with everyone involved. It’s self-contained but it also keeps the bigger picture in sight as these side quests are along your way to your main goal allowing you to do them now, or later.
Simplifying things a little bit is a visual presentation of Another Eden. Keeping things simple you’ll be moving your party through multiple horizontal lines that are interconnected by moving up or down to the appropriate locations. Only ever having to worry about going left or right there are no metroidvania elements such as being able to jump down from a higher level. Instead you just need to worry about what’s in front or behind you especially when out on the field or inside of dungeons.
While outside of the towns and the cities, you’ll be facing off against different types of enemies both big and small. For the small, these foes will occasionally test your party strength as you move on but at the end of the day only really exist to help you grind out experience points and level up your characters. If they are giving you trouble, with all of the characters available to you it’s easy to set up to six characters in your party to figure out enemy weaknesses. Set up with four party members on the front lines and two will be in reserve, characters can be swapped in and out and while a character is in the back rows, they’ll be slowly recovering both their hit points (HP) and their mana points (MP).
Combat itself is rather smooth and battles won’t take much time. Taking a note from the likes of Chrono Trigger and Breath of Fire III for example, battles start and finish without too much fanfare never really wasting your time going through all of the animations like a lot of others did at the time, and in some cases, still do. While in battle, controls are pretty simple with each character being able to pick one of four attacks or swap themselves out with someone in the back row in order to heal up a bit. Once all of your characters are ready, there’s a giant attack button that can be used and then that round of battle plays itself out between your party and the enemy. Rinse and repeat until done.
From that perspective, there’s nothing really new or innovative for Another Eden but for what it does? It does well. The gameplay is smooth, the gatcha elements are not completely broken or designed for you to shell out some money if you really want something, and the battle system whether with your standard party members or those of the gatcha system is just fun to go through as you move from one location to the next on a series of side quests of the main story. The only thing that I wish is that there had been maybe a bit more thought into the execution of the port to the PC in order to better integrate the controls as who wants to have to click on mobile like buttons when they have a keyboard or the actual laptop in their laps?