Confession time: I’ve had a hard time getting into mobile RPGs. I prefer to play games on the big screen, and very few have captured my interest for more than a handful of hours. They’ve always felt like lesser experiences to me, lacking some of the depth and strategy that I crave. I’ve resisted for a while, but lately, an onslaught of games from series I love have come to mobile, such as Fire Emblem Heroes, Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ, and Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. The truth is more of these types of experiences coming to this platform is inevitable. We’re more attached to mobile devices than ever, and it makes sense that developers want to capitalize on that. When you’re on the go, having the luxury to just pull out your phone and play something for a few minutes to pass the time is fantastic. Playing RPGs this way has been a more relaxing experience for me, and I’m glad it’s just another option in how I engage with my favorite genre.
For this week’s column, I wanted to highlight two recent mobile RPGs that you might not realize are out and offer my impressions. Here’s what you need to know about Tales of Rays and Egglia: Legend of Redcap.
Tales of Rays
If you’re a fan of the Tales series and want to be reunited with some of your favorite characters, Tales of Rays is for you. The game is free-to-play (with the option to make in-app purchases), and features an original storyline written by veteran scenario writer Takumi Yajima (Tales of Symphonia, Abyss). While the game also features two new protagonists (Ix and Mileena) to learn about, it’s a love letter to the series, incorporating elements from various titles. The main attraction is that you get to battle with popular characters, like Abyss’s Luke, Symphonia’s Lloyd, and Vesperia's Yuri and Repede, as you take on a new threat to the world.
The game has an engaging loop, where you’re constantly trying to level up your characters and improve their weapons and artes. You can enhance these, but there’s also the ability to spend gems to draw newer, better items. Battles are fast and fun; you simply tap on the screen execute a normal attack and flick in different directions to execute artes. My only knocks on the game so far are that it’s fairly easy and the environments get repetitive, only offering a few fights and treasure chests to find. That being said, I’m still impressed with the visuals and being reunited with my favorite Tales characters is a delight.
Egglia: Legend of Redcap
This game stands out for its gorgeous and vibrant visuals akin to the Mana series. There’s a reason for that: the head producer and character designer is none other than Shinichi Kameoka, who earned his claim to fame for his work on the Mana series and Mother 3. The game also has a ton of top-tier talent attached to it, such as executive producer Michio Okamiya (Romancing Saga 3) and composer Yoko Shimomura (best known for her work on the Kingdom Hearts series and more recently Final Fantasy XV).
Egglia is a turn-based RPG that has you battle monsters, collecting resources, fostering relationships, and building up your own village and expanding the world by finding eggs through completing quests. The way you the expand the world has a similar storybook vibe to Legend of Mana, placing new locales where you desire on a big map. Once you do, you trek through them by rolling a die, which determines your movement and the power of your attacks.
The mechanics are simple, but it's fun watching your village grow, creating new spirits to help you in battle (there’s even fusion!), and crafting better items for decorating your home. The plot isn’t anything to write home about (the protagonist has amnesia), but the characters are charming and it’s fun to see who join you next, from a know-it-all pixie to an ogre who eats endlessly but stays tiny. There’s something about bringing together many different people from all walks of life and having them live in harmony in a village together that’s extremely heartwarming.
Egglia is $9.99, but it does have a drawback. While it’s mostly a single-player experience, you need to be connected online at all times to play. This hasn’t been an issue for me, as I’m often near an internet connection, but for some, this could be a dealbreaker. So far, I’ve been obsessively expanding the houses in my village and working toward improving my spirits to best the hardest challenges. For me, it’s been worth it.
What are some of your favorite mobile RPGs? Let me know in the comments below!