Egglia: Legend of the Redcap is a brand new mobile JRPG developed by a supergroup of genre experts.
It's got talents that worked on the Mana, Kingdom Hearts, and Mother franchises, so you can bet that the team knows how to make a good JRPG.
Is the result a super JRPG though? Or a disappointment that doesn't quite live up to the sum of its parts? Read on to find out.
What's a Redcap?
Egglia casts you as the eponymous Redcap, which is a goblin who wears a red hat. Normally, these creatures are nasty little buggers, but this one is nice because his horns got chopped off. That's how it works here.
You wake up in a forest and meet an elf named Robin and her sprite friend Marigold. They tell you that the world has broken into little pieces, each of which is trapped in an egg. After dropping that bombshell, they take you back to their home to recover.
And there isn't much there really - it's pretty much a clearing in a forest. So you agree to not only turn the clearing into a proper town, but also help them save the world. No mean feat.
How do you do that?
You head off on adventures in the various lands you find in eggs, of course. In each, you'll meet new characters who can help construct your village or join you on your adventure as a companion.
This does involve an awful lot of cutscenes, but the dialogue is well written and often humorous, so I never found it an enormous issue.
In fact, it's more interesting than the actual gameplay. In each level, you're placed on a grid-based map full of resources to gather and enemies to fight.
You roll a dice that dictates how far you can move or how much damage you can do, then choose a course of action.What's the combat like?
Battling is a simple affair. Get close to an enemy, tap on them to attack them, and watch them retaliate if they don't die.
You can unlock and bring sprites with you that provide you with skills you can use - but only if you've earned the required gems. You earn one of these each turn, and they vanish when you use them.
Gathering resources is the same - move close to a tree, tap on it to knock it down, automatically gather the resources. You then use these to upgrade your buildings, construct new ones, and harvest stuff to upgrade your sprites.
And that's the experience in a nutshell. Each time you complete a level, you can play further stages to gather more resources, but you can't tell if you have the necessary power to defeat it.
Should I get it then?
Egglia is a gorgeous JRPG with humorous dialogue, and fantastic sound design. Seriously, this is some of the finest music I've heard in a JRPG in a long time.
But it's telling that most of the positives stem from the aesthetic. For a game developed by a supergroup of JRPG developers, it's odd that the gameplay is so uninspired.
If you really like the sound of repeatedly throwing a dice just to tap on a thing to kill or harvest it, all so you can build up an underwhelming forest village, be our guest.
But it's not really an experience we can recommend at just shy of £10. Had it been a free to play game, we'd say there's enough here of interest to at least take a peek, but as it stands we'd rather steer you towards the better RPGs out there on mobile.