Egglia: Legend of the Redcap is a mobile game that combines turn-based strategy gameplay with exploration and social interaction. Some of the key members of the “Mana” franchise by Square-Enix worked on it, and you might see some visual cues that remind you of it. But let me assure you, this is not a Mana game, for good and ill. This is a single player RPG experience but has peculiar social interaction requirements (in your world, not online) but also does require you to be online every time you play. That’s a sort of confusing choice for me, but it doesn’t cripple the game too much. If you go into Egglia and expect a standard JRPG you’re probably going to be disappointed because that’s not what it is at all. The world of Egglia is fractured, and by collecting Eggs and placing them in the world, you’ll create a world that’s different from other players who are trying the game for themselves. Well, some biomes will affect each other if they’re attached to one another.
However, it does not add new terrain challenges, which is a little bit of a letdown. I was expecting to see poisons in the swamp, things of that nature. Maybe quicksand? It’s not a negative mark for the game, but while the biomes are gorgeous, it doesn’t seem to matter too much which one you’re on, other than admiring some varied artwork. You’ll get the Eggs from completing requests and main quests as the story progresses and you can place them around the ever-growing world as you please. You only have two types of areas to visit: Main Story Areas, and Bonus Stages. Bonus Stages are open for a limited amount of time per day, and Main Story Areas will have 3 stages in them for you to explore, and after a fashion, you’ll unlock Hard Modes for each of these stages. This does lead me to a major point of contention for me in an otherwise fun game.
I had no idea when something would be too strong or too weak for me. The balance of some of these encounters was mind-boggling. I’d kill something in one hit, or it would hit me for half my lifebar in one stage. Some can also afflict you with status ailments, and there are a lot of them, so be aware! Your friendly spirits can also buff you too, so, positives! This happened more often than I’d care to admit. Though there is one thing I do know. As you enter these stages, you select a pair of your companions to go with you to give minor benefits (who also have a morale meter that recharges over time), and a trio of Spirits (which give attack/defense buffs as well as in-battle attacks), then get into the thick of it. At least one floor, with a certain number of turns it must be completed in, you roll a six-sided die (but you can get an ability that lets you roll two). You split that up between movement and attack. If you just attack, that die’s number goes towards your damage, but if you move and attack, that bonus will be a bit lower. You also gain mana which goes towards your Spirit’s attacks. And there are 70 in the game, which you lure to your town with food! Speaking of this, you can also plant crops (potatoes), to power-up your Spirits and increase their stats, as well as acquire Crystals to evolve the Spirits into their final form.
The stages are pretty simple, you move across the hexagonal board, cutting down trees, and fighting monsters. There’s a goal at the end, and it will either take you to the next floor, or to the goal. There are also magical pits that, if you don’t kill them fast enough, will spew out bad guys. There isn’t a lot of variety in the enemies, and they come with a few elements. The main story stages will also come with clever, adorable art and dialogue. The characters are all fantastic and vary from Orcs, Goblins, Fairies and Plant creatures. As your town grows and you explore more of the story, more characters join the cast and more shops show up. The Goblins, for example, offer to sell you any item you’ve found in the world, and you can also customize your home and craft new furnishings if you have the materials. This is where the social interaction comes into play. You can give gifts to your townsfolk and increase their bond you. Bringing them into battle with you also increases that bond. But as they stay with you in fights, their morale lowers and you should swap them out. They can also give you quests in the form of items they want (they’ll give you something in return) or push forward the story.
It’s an interesting beast: 4/5 Great
I like Egglia a lot. It’s fun, it’s cute, it tells a great story in a pretty charming way. But there are some very “f2p” mobile aspects that I just think the game could’ve done without. Like the timer on morale, being able to speed up crop production/summoning with items, and simply having to wait 10 minutes or so just to get them. As a buy-to-play game, this wasn’t necessary. I didn’t run out of these items, as they came in pretty steadily, but I don’t think this was necessary at all. Between this, and requiring online to play, it mars an otherwise fantastic title. The storytelling is great, the gameplay is easy to understand and pretty damn addicting. If it were a bit more obvious when something is stronger/weaker than I am, the gameplay would be about perfect. I had no way of knowing if I was strong enough to do Hard Modes/Bonus Stages unless I dove in and got killed a few turns in. Egglia’s fun, it’s charming and it is worth the price of admission. There’s plenty of content to get through; it’s not a game you’re going to beat in one sitting or several. There are tons of spirits to recruit, characters to find and add to your town, bonds to build, items to find. For you completionists, there’s so much to keep your attention.