Egglia: Legend Of The Redcap Review -- Great Mobile Experience with Old-School Charm
If I could describe Egglia: Legend of the Redcap in one sentence, it would read as follows. This is a JRPG that was plucked from the 1990s and placed in our phones. That might sound like a bad thing, but trust me -- it speaks highly to what this game is and what it offers players.
Egglia looks and feels as though it was made during the Super Nintendo Era. But this isn't just a coincidence. In fact, the game as a whole bears a strong resemblance to the Secret of Mana series -- from its visuals right down to its music.
It's no surprise that this is the case, given that some of the minds behind the Mana games created this title as well -- including director & character designer Shinichi Kameoka, background artist Koji Tsuda, and composers Yoko Shimomura and Yoshitaka Hirota. These gaming industry veterans have collaborated before on the Mana series, and they've brought a lot of that inspiration to Egglia as well.
Egglia's story is charming fairy tale. A young girl tasked with saving the world and a redcap free of violence cross paths. Their destinies intertwine and their story plays out in much the same way that you'd expect from any RPG. Along the way, you'll meet a very colorful cast of characters -- and you'll also see a lot of different races from fantasy lore. It's kinda like Lord of The Rings, if you dipped it in sugar and rainbows.
I won't reveal any story details to ruin the experience -- but I will say that though the narrative isn't Oscar-worthy, it is entertaining. You'll explore new lands, meet wondrous characters, and smite evil here and there. But that said, the plot often feels stuck in a lighthearted tone, because nothing ever seems too serious. The game's dialogue is permeated with humor, and it seems to gloss over the whole fate of the world deal. This might be a deal-breaker if you need a high-stakes tale, but I didn't mind so much. Games tend to be too serious at times, anyway.
Despite being a mobile game, the gameplay in Egglia is rather robust. You'll mostly be an explorer of new areas as they appear. Stage traversal also features some games of chance, as your number of movements/actions depends on dice roll.
During your exploration, you're expected to gather materials and battle foes. And you're expected to level up like any RPG -- but if you squeeze in a few minutes here and there to focus on doing so, this doesn't really get in the way of enjoying the game.
As you progress in the story, you'll also be joined by companions to aid you. (Can't save the world without an entourage, right?) With each new area will come new NPCs that can add their services, resources, or talents to the town as it grows into a bustling hub. And the more you refine this town with new folks, the more it'll help you out as the game progresses in difficulty.
With this being a mobile game, you'll also be encouraged to play everyday as well. Doing so will net you bonuses such as funds, building materials, and so forth. But that doesn't mean it's a grind to get through at all.
If there's any particular portion of the game that is boring you, you can just focus on its other aspects. Tired of being a brawler? Stay busy building up your town or harvesting materials. You'll be hard-pressed to find this kind of choice in most games -- much less in a mobile title. So that's really nice to see.
Simply put, this game is very pretty. The scenery is so lovely and sweet that my teeth start to rot while I enjoy it. The bright color palette makes for some lovely vistas, and the characters stand out both in scenes and in battle. Because of this vibrancy, even the most mundane aspects of the game are easy to appreciate on an aesthetic level.
The many fantasy races and strange monsters are animated very fluidly, and their special effects play well on screen. When you see the game in motion, a low budget app is the last thing you'll think of. It's a full fledged game -- right down the smallest of details.
Given Egglia's candy-like design, the uplifting tone of its music is no surprise. Its songs range from adventurous to comical to happy. Yoko Shimomura and Yoshitaka Hirota are no rookies when it comes to the tunes, so very rarely will you find a song out of place. Even when you level up, the music is magical -- perfectly suited to the Disney-esque feel of the game.
Egglia is a really special game and an even more special mobile experience. Even if you've never been privy to the games that inspired it, playing it for just a few minutes will prove that it's not just another mobile game. This is one of those rare, full-fledged titles that just happens to be on a mobile device.
And the beauty of it being a mobile game lies not only in its excellent execution, but in the fact that the game's progression is built with the mobile platform in mind. So you can make the smallest amount of progress whenever you have a few minutes, then pop out and save the rest for later.
[Note: A copy of Egglia was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.]