I like gachas. Actually I like gacha games. I can take or leave the actual gacha component, as I'm not much of a gambler. I've had my fair share of characters I've tried to pull for, with no avail, and those first few moments of disappointment were enough to turn me off the mechanic for good. That being said, with expectations low and the need for my unmedicated ADHD hands to stay busy high, gachas seem to be a great solution. My repertoire is not extensive; Dragalia Lost being my main game for a very long time, I have also dabbled in others like Arknights, Last Cloudia, Dragon Quest Tact, etc. But the newest to this venture, recommended to me by a certain Mint with great taste, is Another Eden!
You play as Aldo, a boy from what is more or less designated as the more prehistoric age of this universe, trying to rescue his sister while trying to repair the crumbling structure of time and reality. Ya it sounds wild because it definitely is, but not in a way that's needlessly complex and over-saturated. Having gotten relatively far story-wise at the time of writing this, it's simple enough to follow and enjoy, even with picking it up and putting it down constantly. It's got that classic JRPG trend of bouncing you from one place to another without ever letting the pacing get too out of hand.
While the story is enjoyable enough, there's a few other reasons why I've put as much time into it as I have. Writing about it here, I'm going to try a bit of a different format today, so bear with me!
A World To Explore
The first thing that blew me away with this gacha game is that... It's open world. You control the characters in a 2D side-scrolling style and run around to your heart's content. Every other gacha I've encountered has always relied on a level-based system that returns to a main HUD, so it was a pleasant surprise that this was so different. You transition from one area to the next, all having names and various enemies that only appear there and drop specific materials.b
To boot, once you visit a new area, you can almost always fast travel back to it free of charge. No need for a specific item, paying a fee, or going to a specific location on the map. I say almost because there are some smaller routes that you cannot fast travel to, but it takes seconds to get to them from places that you can. The way the whole environment is set up helps it feel less arcade-y, and while yes I was playing it on my phone, it makes it feel less like a phone game.
Suit Up for Battle
I am not an overly complex person. Games with innumerable mechanics tend to steer me away because 90% of the time, I can't focus enough to understand what's happening. Another Eden's combat (and even equipment) is as simple as it can get, hell maybe even a little too simple, but how complex do you really want a turn-based mobile game that you’ll potentially have to step away from for an unknown period of time?
You've got your basic structure of buffs and debuffs; making enemies weaker against your elemental and weapon types, and making your various stats like physical damage and defense stronger. Chances are extremely high that you've encountered another game that has this bare minimum combat style, and even if you haven't it's very easy to catch onto. The elements at play allow the flow of combat to be clean and simple, but when fighting higher level enemies and end game content, does require focus and effort. It's just enough that it's not boring, but your brain can go on autopilot (and realistically, you're playing a phone game - how much brain power do you want to use?).
As I mentioned above, equipment as well is minimal and easy to keep track of. You purchase and craft a myriad of weapons for your party, along with an accessory and a badge... and that's it! Your weapon highly determines your physical damage, wherein your accessory and badge give you various stat boosts and effects. No chaotic inventory management, or multi-tier, 5 slot min-maxing that takes hours to figure out. Now if that is your thing, then I will let you know now that this will sorely disappoint you.
To add to battle complexity and customization, each character has an Ability Board you can level up to get permanent stat boosts and new abilities. The Ability Board isn't the most complex of trees but there are a few minor branching paths. As well, you can easily select which 3 skills you'd like a party member to take into battle, allowing you to customize your characters more so.
What to do, what to do?
This game does not seem to lack on the content, that's for sure. Besides the main story line which is always indicated with an elegant green marker, you've got a myriad of other quest types to pursue. Among them you'll find straightforward ones like subquests and character quests but also more obscurely named ones like Episodes and Symphonies.
Sub and character quests are self-explanatory: subquests being side narrative quests with a simple set of rewards, character quests containing narrative regarding a specific character in your party. Albeit somewhat oddly named, Episodes and Symphonies seem to just be further narrative missions. Episodes being larger amounts of content that require substantially more time and effort, and Symphonies being extended content that crosses over with other series like Persona 5 and Bandai Namco’s Tales Series.
I'm a big fan of how it's all divided since there's nothing more unmotivating than an unending list of ambiguously relevant tasks. The game seems to place a lot of focus on various lore, and I'm genuinely excited to keep digging into it all.
You Want To Bet?
Now to talk about the elephant in the room: the actual gacha mechanics. A lot of the gachas I've played have been very upfront and focal about wanting you to use resources to try and pull for characters, as that is the main source of income. Between the ability to get currency through playing the game vs. purchasing it, and the drop rates of the various characters and items within the pools you can pick, this can sometimes be a nightmare. Terrible drop rates plus scarce currency forces you into a corner of having to use your own money to get the characters you want or need, and depending on the game, that character can make or break your ability to take on, let alone succeed, in end/late game content.
Another Eden is a weird mix, but in a good way? The rate in which you're provided in-game currency is steady, but not very abundant compared to other titles I've tried. The price to buy pull currency is also a bit high for my taste but as a free-to-play user that doesn't really concern me. The drop rates could be better but that's another plus to this game, almost any character you pull is viable. Yes it's great to have the newer characters that they release, but with a bit of grinding, any character you obtain seems like they can be leveled and equipped to take on the later game content. So you may not get who you want, but who you get is still usable.
It really makes Another Eden stand out to me because it feels like the game comes first, and the gacha comes second. Maybe it will be more upfront as I get closer to endgame, where party composition becomes more important and requires more fine-tuning, but for the extensive amount of time I’ve put in it so far, I only occasionally remember that the gacha mechanics exist.
Collect, Collect, Collect
If you are a completionist like myself, or are just very satisfied by completing catalogues and checklists, Another Eden scratches that itch too. Along with cataloguing weapons and armor, you keep track of treasures, fish, and also CATS. Yes... cats. The full name of the game is "Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space" after all.
Beyond purely cosmetics and completionism, I haven't found a specific use for the cat that follows your party. Regardless, they are found throughout the areas you explore and unlock, and once added to the catalogue, you can take your pick of the cutest to have them follow you around.
Overall the catalogue system is simple and satisfying, your list of each collectable lengthy but not difficult to hunt down as you progress. It's a small side feature but one that I personally really like.
It’s Great! ...But It Could Be Greater
With all that being said, there are two key things that I'd love to see them add to the game. The first one being the option to skip dialogue scenes, and the second have an auto-play feature.
Some other games I've encountered have a feature included in where you are prompted with the option to skip over a cutscene filled with dialogue, and are provided with a short synopsis of what just occurred. Now I'm not skipping every single cutscene, but for the side content that I don't particularly care about... it would be really nice. Sometimes you just can't bring yourself to care that some guy dropped his amulet he was going to give to his girlfriend, and now what's he supposed to do for their anniversary??? I usually just end up continuously tapping until it's over but... it would just be a nice touch. Hell... part of me is even tempted to say just give me a skip, even if it doesn't come with the synopsis.
Another thing to kind of streamline the later game progress would be any kind of auto-run or auto-battle. This more pertains to the end game dungeons which consist of exploring and battling monsters, but any kind of automation would be great. Having to initiate each turn when I plan on only using the same moves is slightly tedious and just feels like it would be a much smoother experience without the break between turns. The game as a whole is very snappy, so it's not a HUGE thing, but coming from gacha games where the Auto feature is heavily relied on and praised, just leaves me wanting it in this title too.
And that's it! My overall thoughts about Another Eden tied in with some information so that if you check it out, you'll have an idea what to expect. The only thing I didn't touch on was more of the end game content, but to be honest, I'm just hitting it and don't even really know much about it yet. I've put in a very good chunk of time into this game so far, plus it seems like there's still so much more content to go.
If you're looking for a new phone game that's easy to play while watching t.v. but has an enticing story with challenging combat when you want it to be, I definitely recommend giving Another Eden a shot! It’s a little JRPG, mixed with a sprinkling of gacha, tucked away on your phone.