Review: Final Fantasy I and II for iPhone

by Staff March 5, 2010 @ 12:57 am

As one of the most addictive and well constructed offerings in the RPG space, Final Fantasy is a prestigious household name that needs no introduction. In an effort to expand its offerings in the mobile market, Square Enix decided to take a trip down memory lane, giving iPhone and iPod Touch users an innovative new way to play Final Fantasy I and II – on a touchscreen.

Upon launching each game, players are presented with a set of basic options to start their quest. One that sticks out for in particular is new option entitled “Resume.”  Specific to the iPhone renditions, this option loads up gamedata before the Home button is pressed, which serves as a handy quicksave option. Personally, it’s the first time I have ever run across anything like this. It has the dual potential of helping those who accidentally tap the home button, or forget to save the game during play.

Another peculiarity that sparks interest is the ability to the touchscreen to make decisions for characters during battle. You can simply select to Attack or Defend instead of having to sift through menus constantly. Moving on, both titles look simply stunning from a visual standpoint. Colors are vibrant and lush in presentation. Comparatively, visual differences from the iPhone and that of 2007’s PSP remake are slim, apart from minor retouches to fit the obvious platform change.

At times, the controls in portable iPhone and iPod Touch titles leave a lot to be desired, akin to a love or hate relationship. In Final Fantasy I and II, players are forced to command their characters through use of on screen touch controls. For those of us that have dabbled in emulators on the iPhone,  finagling with them can sometimes prove to be a frustrating task. With Final Fantasy I and II, however, Square Enix challenges this concept by making the virtual directional pad large enough in size so that tapping no longer has to be precise, only within range. The control set has been simplified as well. For those that recall playing the 8-bit NES version, you were required to hold the B button to run, while the A button was reserved for interaction and to make choices. The iPhone take combines both of these actions into a singular button. Simplistic.

While gameplay is primitive, bare in mind this is a remake of the original Fantasy Fantasy. The old adage of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” rings true here. Leaving the complex idiosyncrasies behind is a smart move with such a remake and that is exactly the route Square Enix took. Despite having updated visuals, it captures the look and feel of the same old-school game that many us of fondly remember playing as children. Coupled with nicely scripted story and the ability to build your character up from rags to riches firmly places both Final Fantasy I and II among the top offerings on the App Store. While they may be a bit antiquated, for those in search of a simplistic yet addictive RPG to play on the go, it’s tough to go wrong with either of these timeless classics.

Review written by Shawn Wilkins, edited by x3sphere / Mike Bendel