Developed by Sting Entertainment, Yggdra Union was first released on the Game Boy Advance in 2006. In 2008, an enhanced remake for the PlayStation Portable was released, featuring additional characters and battlefields, as well as full voice acting.
Yggdra Union is the second game in Sting's Dept. Heaven franchise, which also includes the turn-based role-playing game Riviera, the strategy / bullet hell hybrid Knights in the Nightmare, and the recently released strategy game Gungnir. The games share a common mythos as well as a number of characters, items, weapons, and locales. For the most part, however, playing the other games is not required to appreciate Yggdra Union as a stand-alone game.
Several years prior to the game, a revolutionary named Gulcasa takes the throne of the Empire of Bronquia. Just before the start of the game, Gulcasa invades the Kingdom of Fantasinia, wiping out much of its military and seizing its capital, Paltina. There, he kills King Ordene in front of his terrified daughter, Princess Yggdra Yuril Artwaltz.
Yggdra makes her escape, fleeing Castle Paltina with the ancestral sword of Fantasinia, the Gran Centurio. She takes refuge in an abandoned building in a region known to be frequented by bandits, and there she is cornered by Bronquian forces. However, the thief Milanor and his band of miscreants drive them off. After Yggdra reveals her identity, she and Milanor strike a deal: Milanor will aid her in her quest to drive the Bronquians out of her homeland, and she will give the thieves Castle Paltina as a new hideout.
Yggdra and Milanor gather allies from throughout and outside Fantasinia, and eventually make their way to Castle Paltina, where they finally clash with Bronquia's main invading force. However, even if they drive the Bronquians out of their homeland, Fantasinia's safety and stability may still be at risk, and Yggdra--still desperate to avenge her parents' deaths--can never rest until Gulcasa is dead at her feet.
Yggdra Union is a turn-based strategy role-playing game. Characters move on grid-based maps that feature a variety of terrain offering different defensive bonuses. These maps, or battlefields, all feature distinctive background artwork, and completing battlefields by clearing them of enemies or accomplishing certain objectives moves the plot forward.
Before entering each battlefield, the player can have characters use items to recover their stamina, equip characters with items to boost their stats and give them other advantages, choose which characters they wish to bring into battle, and select which cards they wish to use on the battlefield.
Choosing which cards to bring into battle, and which card to use each turn, constitutes a major part of the game's strategy. Each card has a movement value which determines the total number of grid squares your party members can move across. Each card also has a number associated with it which determines how much damage each character can inflict on the enemy during a battle. Finally, each card has a skill associated with a certain weapon, class, or character, which only eligible characters can use during battle. Only one card can be used per turn, and after using a card, it cannot be used again on that battlefield.
In battle, characters will rarely fight alone, as the player can only initiate one skirmish per turn. Instead, characters organize into "Unions" around a single character, and by doing so, a maximum of four other characters can participate in that character's battle. Unions formed around female characters take the shape of a cross (+) on the battlefield grid, while those formed around male characters take an (x) shape. However, the same rule applies to enemies, who also form themselves into Unions while attacking.
In the Union battles themselves, characters and enemies clash, occasionally using the skills associated with the card for that turn during battle. Fighters on both sides may fight normally, or they may fight aggressively, decreasing a gauge at the top of the screen in exchange for greater offensive power. In addition, they may take a more passive stance, building up the gauge in exchange for lower offensive power. With a full gauge, fighters on either side can use their card's power, often turning the tide of battle. Upon winning a battle, characters inflict damage based on their current card's offensive value upon the enemy's stamina, or vice-versa. When an enemy's stamina is reduced to 0, they die or withdraw; when a party member's stamina is reduced to 0, they withdraw from the field and lose all of the experience they have gained since their last level up.
The Fantasinian Army
Yggdra Yuril Artwaltz is the Princess of Fantasinia, as well as the sole remaining member of the Fantasinian royal family. She wields the Gran Centurio, the Fantasinian royal family's ancestral sword, and is capable of inflicting holy damage when fighting aggressively in battle. Her goal is to drive the Bronquian military out of Fantasinia, but also harbors a desperate need to avenge her parents' deaths by killing Gulcasa, Emperor of Bronquia.
Milanor is a thief, and leads a pack of bandits based in Fantasinia. He wields a weapon classified as an axe, despite its odd shape, and fights extremely well in wasteland regions, where he has spent most of his life. His initial goal is to find a new base for his band of miscreants, but as his journey with Yggdra progressives, he becomes more invested in her quest.
Durant is a mounted knight in the Fantasinian Army, and led a unit in its order of knights before the Bronquian invasion. He wields a lance, and has great maneuverability. He is completely dedicated to protecting Yggdra and fighting with her to free his country.
Nietzsche is an undine who joins Yggdra in hopes of finding the Transmigragem, a magical item key to the process of reincarnation by which the undine species perpetuates itself. She wields a trident classified as a lance, and is capable of inflicting ice damage when fighting aggressively in battle.
Rosary is the head of the house of the White Rose of Branthese, and fought against Roswell for control over two powerful magical ankhs left to each of them by a wandering magician. She is a magician herself, capable of inflicting fire damage when fighting aggressively in battle. If Yggdra chooses to side with her, she realizes that her conflict with Roswell and alliance with Bronquia had nothing but ill effects for her people, and vows to fight with Yggdra to punish the Empire for betraying her.
Roswell is the head of the house of the Black Rose of Branthese, and fought against Rosary for control over two powerful magical ankhs left to each of them by a wandering magician. He is a necromancer, capable of inflicting dark damage when fighting aggressively in battle. If Yggdra chooses to side with him, he realizes that his conflict with Rosary and alliance with Bronquia had nothing but ill effects for his people, and vows to fight with Yggdra to punish the Empire for betraying him.
Elena is an assassin in the Bronquian military. She wields bows, and is capable of inflicting dark damage when fighting aggressively in battle. She joined the Bronquian army after realizing that her brother Leon, the Black Knight, had become vicious and cruel. She defects to the Fantasinian side in hopes of getting a chance to put down her fallen brother like the mad dog he has become.
Russel is a General in the Bronquian military. While he once fought for Fantasinia, his wife was taken hostage by Bronquia, and he reluctantly follows Gulcasa's orders to protect her. He wields a sword. If Milanor rescues his wife from Karona, then Russel will gratefully fight on Yggdra's side.
Mistel is the granddaughter of the tactician Bly, who once served Yggdra's father, King Ordene of Fantasinia. She wields scythes. If Yggdra meets her grandfather, then Mistel will join the Fantasinian army, offering her martial support as well as sound tactical advice.
Shortly after the announcement of the PSP version of Yggdra Union, Sting announced a Japanese mobile spin-off entitled Yggdra Unison subsequently receiving a conversion to Nintendo DS that would not be published outside of Japan, as well as the mobile version. The game is similar to Yggdra Union but using a real-time strategy battle system and units are allowed to move freely instead of on a grid and the story is a non-canon alternative plot.
Released for PSP and only published in Japan, Blaze Union is the prequel to Yggdra Union. This game maintains the gameplay of the original Yggdra Union adding elements of visual novel that endow the narrative with a greater dramatic and serious charge.