Genre: Visual Novel, Otome, Cash grab
Platform: PC, Mobile
Release Date: December 16th, 2014
I was initially going to make this an op-ed, but you know what? It’s going to be a review because to hell with it. Might as well put some more work into it now that I’ve already bit the bullet by playing this.
Eldarya is a browser game inspired by the Otome genre and developed by Beemov. You have to know Beemov to truly grasp the Eldarya experience. Here’s a quick introduction for those out of the loop — Beemov is a scummy company with unapologetically predatory business practices due to their acknowledgment of their vulnerable, younger demographic. There are many layers to this statement, but I’ll only mention their past actions that are relevant to Eldarya and why.
Beemov’s most successful game, My Candy Love, got its business model changed to “benefit” its players. After the change went through, everyone quickly realized what their real intentions were. The game became unreasonably expensive and keeping up with the story without paying became impossible. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if it weren’t for their outrageous pricing. Some regions have it harder than others, but on average you’d spend 30 dollars to play through just two or three episodes, which by the way, won’t be replayable for free. If you want to replay these episodes, you’d have to fork over another 30 bucks.
There are over 50 episodes. You get what I’m getting at.
What does any of this have to do with Eldarya? Well, Eldarya announced it would be switching to My Candy Love’s new business model, hence why I ran to my account and binged the game all the way from Episode 1 to Episode 30.
That’s right, I had enough Maana saved up to play the entire game because ever since it came out I just logged in to claim my daily Maana every single day.
In case anyone’s reading this without any prior knowledge on Eldarya, Maana is basically the “Energy” system used in the game.
If I had been religiously logging into Eldarya every day, why the hell hadn’t I played it before? The writing was okay at best and the introductory episodes didn’t grab my interest. “But hey, since I saved up Maana for so long I might as well finish the game,” I thought, and here I am two weeks later.
The game is so convoluted that trying to organize this review in sections as I usually do is pointless.
Eldarya’s story is hot garbage. It has a very juvenile writing style that is reminiscent of the likes of Wattpad and Twilight. Your main character is “the chosen one”, and so was that random OC you came up with when you were a pre-teen. Sometimes it’s so cringe-worthy that honestly, it might’ve been something twelve-year-old me wouldn’t have noticed, but nearly a decade later, I sure would. Additionally, the romance is so scarce for the first 20 episodes that you’d have a hard time spotting it, even with a magnifying glass. On top of it, three out of four love interests do something so horrible to the main character on our way there that it’s like… Why are we still here? Just to suffer?
The story isn’t good, and there’s no romance, so why are we still here? I just don’t have anything better to do, man. I need help.
A major reason the story fails to be engaging is that Eldarya crashes and burns while trying to establish any meaningful relationships between you, the player, and the game’s characters. For most of the first half, it feels like the main character (Gardienne) is just there and doesn’t form any meaningful links with anyone. In some episodes, you’re really close to someone but later on, your relationship is back to feeling distant, as if you’re “just there” for them. You’re just another person they run into once in a while.
One of the few characters I thought I was the closest to died, and the main character couldn’t have cared less even if she tried. Like what? This MC saw the corpse, and there was just a generic “oh no, someone died” feeling coming from her. There were about five lines addressing Gardienne’s feelings over the matter and she didn’t care about the death on a personal level. Like, okay. Gardienne only cared about Chrom, the four main guys, and some random background characters that she wasn’t as close to as she was to the people in the headquarters she stayed in.
Quick introduction to our main bachelors:
This is Nevra. He’s a womanizing vampire hottie with an eyepatch who looks way more interesting than he actually is. In truth, he’ll just stop his womanizing ways to become your boyfriend, and then your chemistry will be reduced to sexual tension.
This is Ezarel. He’s a playful, sarcastic little piece of shit but he’s your playful and sarcastic little piece of shit. His chemistry with Gardienne is actually pretty good, and he’s funny, but he got shafted in the ending and will be removed from the game’s sequel. So have fun with that. (My Candy Love flashbacks, anyone?)
This is Valkyon. He has a silent and tough appearance, but he’s actually a very kind guy with a heart of gold who has difficulty expressing himself. Out of all the love interests he got shafted the most in the story, even more so than Ezarel. He, too, got thrown out of Eldarya’s sequel.
[spoiler]All of these three forcefully kiss you around Episode 16 to make you drink a potion that will cause all of your loved ones to forget about you. O em gee how romantic /s[/spoiler]
Finally, we have Leiftan. You know Leiftan, I know Leiftan, we all know Leiftan. He doesn’t get his own section since he and his influence on the story and the development of the other three guys are the elephants in the room.
The romance with Nevra, Ezarel, and Valkyon to a certain extent gets reduced to sex scenes instead of longer and more thoughtful scenes because all of the effort was clearly invested in Leiftan’s route. If you’re a fan of Leiftan in the first 20 episodes, you’ll only get scraps of content. But it’s only because Leiftan is clearly the guy the main story favors the most so they were saving his big reveal for last. Honestly, the story doesn’t make as much sense if you’re not romancing him. Everything points to Leiftan and the things he does for you are a central part of the story, hence why if you’re not on his route it’s like ??? what is even going on and why are you doing all of this for me?
I can’t emphasize Leiftan’s protagonism enough. No matter which route you take, Gardienne’s soul is connected to Leiftan’s and if one of them dies, so does the other. Yep.[/spoiler]
He made big bucks so obviously, he will return in Eldarya’s sequel. And I have no idea how Nevra made the cut, but he’ll be there too.
My point is: the writers clearly played favorites, and events like the ending of the first season were influenced by sales. Leiftan is the Castiel of the game — him being saved for the next installment of the series was never in question.
If every storyline had as much effort put into it as Leiftan’s did, the romance and characterization would be in a much better place than they currently are.
All that being said, I jumped ship to Leiftan’s route cough cough.
The ending sucked ass and they clearly didn’t offer any closure because they wanted to keep milking their customers for a second season. In fact, they didn’t even bother giving Ezarel fans any closure — he exited the story in a very sudden and anticlimactic manner and has been confirmed to not return.
This open-ended conclusion is a big issue because as stated above the story is rather weak and you’d only really continue playing for your love interest. So the fact that Valkyon and Ezarel fans got backstabbed after years of following the game is pretty bad. Beemov’s obsession with sales and lack of care for their customers really shows again, since if they really had budget constraints and needed to try to change it up (which I assure you, they don’t), they could have at least given the two characters a satisfactory ending. You know, to honor the fans who have supported your game for years.
I wouldn’t recommend this game to literally anyone, especially with the incoming business model change. Eldarya has more dialogue than My Candy Love ever did, so paying for dialogue instead of paying to move around the map is very likely to make playing harder than it already is. Instead of being stuck moving from one place to the other, you’ll get stuck in the middle of a conversation and be unable to continue until the next day.
As I implied while talking about Valkyon and Ezarel’s endings, Beemov just wants your money and won’t repay you in any way for it. The way the game is designed also makes it a giant waste of cash since you don’t even get to keep the episodes you buy like in other games. You’re only paying a shitton of money to play through 5% of the game once.
It’s really not worth it. If you like episodic Otome, you’re better off buying Voltage’s games which have huge bang for your buck in comparison.
No, just no. It's really expensive, time-consuming, and not worth your time. Love yourself and walk away.