In a mobile world filled to the brim with gacha games galore, Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space stands out from the crowd as a shining beacon of how games nowadays should be made. Mobile RPGs in recent times are all about pay-to-win systems and summoning the best pulls with real-life money, but Another Eden is a wonderful change of pace as it focuses on revamping the traditional JRPG for modern times while still keeping the genre’s charm intact.
Seeing as the tale comes from the brilliant mind of the legendary Masato Kato (of Chrono Trigger and Xenogears fame), it’s no wonder that Another Eden is a narrative game-changer.
You play as Aldo, a time-travelling adventurer who starts out in a small town (don’t they all?) where he and his sister Feinne were found and raised by the town mayor. Not much is known about Aldo and Feinne’s past save for the fact that the Beast King kidnaps Feinne for some grandiose reason, so you set out on a rescue mission that escalates into something else entirely.
Soon, the fate of the entire time-space continuum rests in your hands, and you’ll have to do your best to save the world and meet a colourful cast of characters to help you along the way, of course.
You can actually make it even with the free characters who join your party as you move through the main story, because at the heart of it all is still the fact that it’s a single-player classic JRPG in a mobile package.
You go through the game in a side-scrolling motion amid the vivid 3D environment of the backdrop behind you. Typical of classic JRPGs, there are random enemy encounters outside each city, and encountering them opens up the turn-based battle menu.
There are high-level enemies roaming around the map here and there and you’d best avoid them like the plague if you’re not strong enough to face them head-on just yet. If you do stumble into their field of vision and end up losing to them in a fight, you’ll sometimes be offered the option to watch a video for a second chance, or head back to the nearest town after a defeat (don’t worry - you won’t lose your progress since there are no manual save points here). You can rest up in an inn for free to recover, then head back out when you’re prepped and ready.
Buying new weapons and armor will cost you both money and materials, so make sure you tap sparkly things glowing randomly on the map or try to find hidden treasure chests in roads less taken (and dead-ends).
For instance, one of the earliest sidequests you can accept involves retrieving an audio recording of someone’s mother from a sentient robot called a Synth Human, which ends in an existential crisis of epic proportions about memories, death, and what it means to truly be alive. I honestly wasn’t expecting all the feels when I accepted that regular fetch quest.
In another early sidequest, you help out a bunch of kids playing a game called Dream Magic 6, and the very meta approach to gaming and gamers, in general, is really, really cool. Aldo himself says it perfectly: “The games themselves might change, but what’s really important is the same, no matter how old you are.”
Speaking of Aldo, he’s very likable and isn’t your average run-of-the-mill vanilla lead. In many RPGs, the main character you start out with is often not that strong, and usually makes for a boring character. With Aldo, his personality really shines through in the cut scenes and dialogues, and he’s actually got a sense of humor, so he’s anything but a flat character. There’s also Old Weirdo and, of course, Some Guy - who, in my opinion, is the series’ most underrated extra dude.
But one of the things I really like about this game is that you can play it at your own pace - there are no repetitive dailies or weekly/monthly events, and you don’t need to catch up with limited time events just to stay current. You can keep playing and your characters won’t get outdated; plus, you have access to past collabs that you can unlock at your leisure (there’s one for the Tales franchise right now!).
I honestly can’t believe it’s a free-to-play game, so if you’re a fan of Xenogears like I am, it’s a definite must-download, especially with these adorable little kitties scattered randomly across the world map (this one looks like it’s disappointed in me for some reason).