Despite its initial impression, Ticket to Earth became a hit when it was released a few years back. That’s not surprising considering how the game uniquely blends RPG, puzzles, and tactical gameplay in one game. However, now that it’s been a few years since it launched, is Ticket to Earth still a game worth playing on mobile? Here’s how we find this puzzle-slash-tactical RPG hybrid and why you should play this amazingly good game even in 2021.
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What Is Ticket to Earth?
At first glance, you might think that Ticket to Earth is a simple tactical RPG on mobile. After all, that’s what the game’s screenshots, GIFs, and even gameplay clips might look like at first. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye, and it’s much more complex than how it initially looks. That’s because this game not only incorporates tactical RPG gameplay but also includes elements from puzzle-based tile-matching games.
As you can expect, all of these elements make Ticket to Earth a brain-heavy game. On one hand, you have to figure out your battlefield tactics and control your party in a grid-based fight. However, you also have to adjust all of those strategies based on the changing puzzle grids. Add to that a story-driven RPG system, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a game!
Of course, not everyone might enjoy Ticket to Earth, especially if you don’t like puzzles or turn-based tactical games. However, judging by its reputation in the mobile game industry, it’s not one to be laughed at. The game has been widely praised for its ingenuity, well-executed gameplay, and wonderfully woven story. As a result, nobody can contest its 4.7-star rating on both the Play Store and App Store.
What Is a Tactical Puzzle RPG?
If you’ve never played a tactical RPG before, then you might not even comprehend what we’re saying. However, it’s a fairly simple idea. Tactical RPGs simply combine the elements you’d see from tactical games with RPGs. These usually involve a party of players and an equal number of opponents you have to beat. Moreover, most tactical RPGs limit your movement and place you in something like an isometric grid or board. Think of chess as a good example of a tactical game.
On the other hand, the RPG element comes in through temporary deaths, characters with different roles/skills, and more. Most RPGs are usually single-player games. However, some incorporate multiplayer gameplay, such as Final Fantasy Tactics.
Combining those two genres gives birth to the tactical RPG subgenre of games. However, Ticket to Earth adds another genre into the mix: puzzle games. These games are similar to tactical games in that you have to think before you act. However, they’re more straightforward, asking you to solve a puzzle and complete an objective.
Puzzle games usually don’t incorporate fighting against opponents, logistics, management, or complex planning. Most often, they simply incorporate unique mechanics that simply change as the game progresses. Think of them as games that hone your problem-solving skills given a set of rules.
You can imagine the amount of thinking each of these genres and subgenres requires. Now, combine them all, and you’ll have a uniquely more mentally challenging game. That is the Ticket to Earth game. Another example of a game from this genre is Triple Chain.
Ticket to Earth Mobile Review
Of course, sinking your teeth into a paid mobile game isn’t always easy. After all, most people would only want to pay for games that are worth every penny. That’s why it’s important to check reviews online before you make a purchase. If you’re still unsure about Ticket to Earth and if it’s worth your time, here’s what you need to know.
Game worlds are usually fertile soil for experimental settings and unconventional storylines. In Ticket to Earth, you’re set on a dying Earth colony planet called the New Providence. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way out of this doomed planet and society has officially deteriorated because of that.
The three characters you play at first are all “Peace Keepers” who are trying to keep things under control. However, as the planet is doomed, you also aim to get that Ticket to Earth to save your skin. Of course, it’s not such an easy task to get to the last flight.
This is the basic premise of the game when you first start. However, there are, of course, tons of other elements that you’ll encounter later on. Being set in a colony planet, Ticket to Earth also has more than just three starting characters. Moreover, there are tons of other storylines about government corruption, media manipulation, alien insects, and robots wreaking havoc everywhere.
Ticket to Earth is set in a futuristic universe where Earth finally has colonies on different planets. However, despite successful interplanetary conquest, things aren’t going so well for all of Earth’s colonies. The one you’re residing in, called New Providence, has its problems, despite what the media might portray.
That’s why when the Martian Princess, a starship from Earth, finally arrives, people are excited to go back home. However, because it takes ten years to travel to Earth, only 1% can afford a ticket to Earth. This sparks huge protests across the center of New Providence’s city. But just as things have started to heat up, the broadcast suddenly cuts to a foreboding message.
Afterward, you, the player, start to control Rose, a New Providence citizen who just finished caring for her garden. She’s on her way to watch the Martian Princess landing when she’s suddenly greeted by a stranger. This is when things go wrong as you’re sucked into the world’s problems and storyline.
The story of Ticket to Earth is undoubtedly compelling. Of course, starting things off with a broadcast isn’t an uncommon storytelling technique in video games. However, Ticket to Earth executes this well, delivering a story that captures your attention right from the start. It’s certainly been done before, but it also keeps you engaged.
On the other hand, it’s after the initial exposition where the story begins to kick in a bit more. As you go through the gameplay mechanics, you’re also introduced to various story elements. These include the enigmatic stranger you met, mutated insects, enemy robots, and much more. The story may start slow, but it gets better and keeps you interested as you progress.
Being a grid-based puzzle game, Ticket to Earth sets you and all your characters on an isometric grid. Everything is chopped up into different episodes, with those containing different levels and challenges to complete. Of course, everything happens all on the grid, and there are more than a few gameplay mechanics related to it. However, if you think that it’s just another grid-based battle game like Fire Emblem, prepare to be surprised.
Tiles and Colors
As we said, all the action in Ticket to Earth happens on a large, colorful grid called the “Movement system.” This grid is significant not only in dictating your movement but also in how you engage in battle. We’ll discuss more of the combat later, but for now, know that it plays a huge role.
The Movement system’s grid of colors and tiles are randomly generated in each round. You can move as you please, regardless of distance, and get as far as you want. However, the catch is that you can only move on the same colored tiles. This adds a layer of complexity to the movement across the grid, forcing you to carefully plan before you act.
On the other hand, movement across the grid isn’t only about matching colors. That’s because the game places set objectives for you to complete each challenge. Most of these challenges will ask you to destroy all the enemies on the board. Hence, you’d also have to plan your attacks in addition to the movement.
The movement mechanic itself is easy enough to handle. To do so, you only need to tap and drag your character through the path you want. You’ll be doing this a lot and it’ll be the heart of the gameplay throughout Ticket to Earth.
Lastly, while it isn’t specifically connected to gameplay, we’d also like to commend the game’s cohesiveness. The developers could have placed the grid without explanation apart from, “this is how the gameplay works.” However, Ticket to Earth specifically ties the colorful grid to the storyline, making sure you never forget the story. It’s a small element, but one that shows the developer’s attention to detail.
In addition to the tile-based Movement system, Ticket to Earth also introduces multiple mechanics to limit a player’s movement. These come in the form of action points that you can use to conduct an action. You only have two each round, so you’ll have to carefully plan your moves before you do anything.
As you might have expected, you can use these action points for movement across the board. They’re also useful for conducting actions like attacking or using special skills. Of course, defeating your enemies requires you to attack them. However, moving through the grid, collecting, and using special skills are also equally important to success (more on that later).
As we said, Ticket to Earth doesn’t simply let players move and attack. It adds more complexity, throwing you a mechanic that engages your brain even more. That mechanic is called the Special Skills mechanic.
As the name implies, these Special Skills enhance your character’s abilities. Since this is an RPG, you have various character types to choose from, each benefiting from different special skills. For example, a melee character would find more use for hand-based special skills. On the other hand, eye-based skills would be best for characters with more ranged attacks. Still, other types you encounter might also be more effective with a brain or heart-based skill, depending on your strategy.
However, it’s not the selection process of these Special Skills that make the game complicated. It’s in their acquisition that things get truly difficult. That’s because Ticket to Earth only allows you to unlock special skills by moving through designated tiles. Each tile will have a different special skill you can collect, so you have to plan your movements accordingly.
On the other hand, movement also plays a huge role when it comes to your attack power. That’s because Ticket to Earth lets you boost your damage levels by tracing certain paths. Hence, you not only have to plan movement for navigation, but also special skill collection and attack power build-up.
Why is this important? That’s because you have to defeat the enemies on the board. Dealing a weak blow won’t do you any good and would only waste time. Moreover, it could leave you more vulnerable. That’s why building up your attack power before dealing blows is also a good idea.
With that said, Ticket to Earth is no easy game. It’s certainly challenging, as there are many intricacies and considerations you need to think of before moving. However, that’s precisely what makes the game refreshing and differentiates it from other grid-based battle games. Moreover, adding the RPG and puzzle-solving elements to it make it a good mental workout.
One of the best parts about Ticket to Earth is that it was beautifully designed. That’s true not just for the gameplay but also for the graphics and overall aesthetic. Ticket to Earth adopts Western comic-style illustrations to showcase its narrative and setting. Everything feels clean and crisp, with a bright color palette all around regardless of which screen you’re on.
Moreover, every new chapter you encounter opens with beautifully written dialogue that’s smooth and easy to follow. Staying true to its comic book-inspired style, the panels and speech bubbles move as if you were reading one. Thus, you’re sure to enjoy every experience whenever you read the story or watch its development.
The battle areas themselves are also incredibly beautiful. Sure, they shed off that 2D comic book art style that the story cutscenes masterfully show off. However, they are, by no means, boring or dull to look at.
The animations are smooth, especially in the satisfying combat system. Moreover, the designs for attack and power are unique and highly polished. That’s not something to appreciate considering Ticket to Earth has almost 100 abilities. Furthermore, it’s doubly impressive because this is an indie game and no full-fledged game studio was involved.
Of course, aesthetics and graphics aren’t the only things that contribute to the gameplay experience. Beautiful sound design has always been a trademark of some of the best games. They can play a huge role in making a game exciting or setting the tone for the overall experience.
Thankfully, while the sound design in Ticket to Earth isn’t as noteworthy as the graphics, it’s certainly good. Ambient sounds play whenever you undertake missions and even come up during ChatLink dialogue screens. Moreover, they also pace the game well, allowing you to ease into how fast or slow you need to go.
Overall, the music is pretty apt all around. It softens or increases in volume at just the right times and never feels too distracting. While it’s not as iconic as other video games, the music plays its role well in Ticket to Earth.
When it first launched in March 2017, Ticket To Earth was only available on iOS. So Apple users had the head start in playing this ridiculously fun game. Thankfully, however, the game subsequently released versions on other platforms as well.
Now, you can find Ticket to Earth mobile on both Android and iOS. Ticket to Earth Android doesn’t play any differently and retains its high 4.7-star rating. On the other hand, the game is also available on Windows and macOS. Hence, most gamers should be able to play this delightful game regardless of what device they have.
Is Ticket to Earth Still Worth Playing in 2021?
Ticket to Earth is already a four-year-old game since its launch in 2017. So with all the hype dying down since its first release, is the game still worth playing now?
Thankfully, Ticket to Earth has retained all of its good qualities even though it’s been years since it launched. Many gamers still leave 5-star ratings on app and game stores and only have good things to say about it.
Specifically for Ticket to Earth mobile, it’s commendable that it maintains a 4.7-star rating even in 2021. That goes for both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. It’s a testament to how good the game is and how it’s still holding up. Thus, if you haven’t played it before, we recommend getting the game if you can afford it. Once you download Ticket to Earth on your phone, you won’t regret it.
Ticket to Earth vs Similar Games
Grid-based tactical RPGs are nothing new in the mobile gaming world. There are tons of carbon copies out there that bank on the popular gameplay mechanic — and we understand why. After all, tactical RPGs exercise your mental capabilities a lot. They stem from older games like chess, and simply add a layer of complexity through RPG mechanics. Hence, fans of strategy games like these would have fun just playing any tactical RPG, Ticket to Earth or not.
However, Ticket to Earth is unique in that it’s not simply a tactical RPG. That’s because its movement system adds a twist, and that is its puzzle-based mechanic. This is what truly makes the game shine and stand out from similar games. No other tactical RPG is quite like this puzzle-based game. Moreover, no other puzzle-based game is nearly as complicated as this tactical RPG.
Another thing that sets Ticket to Earth apart would probably be its pay-to-play nature. Most other tactical RPGs with grids are free to play on mobile. However, they tend to earn money and tempt you to spend on items, gacha mechanics, and more. By contrast, Ticket to Earth doesn’t present any in-app purchases and remains free of ads. Hence, it’s not going to give you money-related headaches or make you feel like the game ever makes you grind.