Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-04-20 20:54 (JST)
Translated by. Nick Mosier
Publisher LTGAMES GLOBAL recently launched the roguelike RPG Elona Mobile for iOS and Android on April 20, with Chinese studio Digital Dog handling the development of the free-to-play title.
Elona Mobile is a mobile focused remake of Elona, which was released for free in Japan in 2007 by a single Japanese developer who goes by Noa. Elona gives players a lot of freedom, like an open world game with the gameplay and difficulty of a roguelike. It has a unique sense of humor that is still loved by fans well over 10 years after its initial release.
I was also among the fans that were hooked on Elona, so when Elona Mobile launched, I jumped in right away. The game has been remade from the ground up as a mobile title, but the heart of the original is still there and you can tell the developers paid respect to it when making Elona Mobile.
The first thing that will grab your attention is the cute and well-crafted pixel art. Compared to the original, the characters have more of a chibi look to them. Characters also have different skins from the original and you can select a skin from what is provided in the game. Skins also provide stat bonuses depending on their type. It’s also nice to see the weapon you have equipped reflected in-game.
The UI and controls have also been improved for mobile. The original had a control scheme where each action was mapped to a different key, which takes a long time to get used to, as well as one that used the arrow keys for movement and an inspect key to open detailed menus which the player would select an action from. In Elona Mobile, the controls and UI are more intuitive. One example being that you can attack nearby enemies by simply pressing the sword icon.
The game has also been made a lot easier to understand with cutscenes added to help flesh out the story and locations being marked for quest objectives. The original had its own charm though, as if saying, “Just do what you want!” and not interfering with the player, so whether the trade-off is seen as a positive or a negative will depend on the player.
On top of all that, feats (a character’s special skills) are now handled through a skill tree and character creation has been streamlined, making this an easier game for beginners to jump into all-around.
One thing I was interested in looking at was how things like gacha mechanics, login bonuses, season passes, and in-app purchases were implemented in the game. Monetization is essential from a business standpoint, but players that loved the original might be taken aback by these kinds of mobile game elements being added to the game. The good news is I’ve been able to enjoy the early parts of the game without having to worry about in-app purchases.
A lot of changes have been made to turn Elona into a mobile game. But with the background music being the same as the original, the carefully crafted graphics, some little bits in the tutorial, and various other aspects, I really felt that the developers loved the original title and wanted to pass that feeling on to the players.
According to the official Elona Mobile Twitter account, Noa, the developer of the original Elona and the staff in charge of Digital Dog spoke and saw eye to eye in many ways, and they were able to make the game because of that understanding. This could explain where that respect for the original comes from.
Noa has also been playing since the closed beta and seems to be enjoying the game while commemorating the official launch. Noa is currently developing a sandbox RPG called Elin’s Inn.
The official Twitter account also posted a congratulations message from Noa on the launch with the following message,
Elona Mobile takes the essence of Elona and makes it playable on mobile devices. If you’re looking for an RPG you can quickly jump into, you may want to give this one a look. Elona Mobile is currently available for iOS and Android as a free-to-play game with microtransactions.