Mobius Final Fantasy (iOS) Review

By Luna Eriksson 21.08.2016

Review for Mobius Final Fantasy on iOS

Over just a couple of years, the boundaries of what is possible to pull off on smartphones have been extended far more than most could expect, and Mobius Final Fantasy is hell-bent on proving the capacities that the medium has for gaming in terms of visuals, promising what could be the most visually astonishing experience yet on mobile devices. Cubed3 curiously digs deeper into this smartphone experience to see if it carries more to its name than just the visuals.


Back in 2006, very few people would have believed that in ten years' time there would be phone games that ran in real 3D with beautiful cinematic cut-scenes. Mobius Final Fantasy truly pushes several limitations that have held back smartphone gaming as a medium, and that's only possible thanks to the recent increase in device power and the bravery of Square-Enix to provide a big enough budget to play around with the boundaries.

Mobius Final Fantasy runs in beautiful 3D that looks like it could be taken from some mid-end console titles with fully-rendered models, fluid movements, and visually arresting cinematics. With this down, and their previous successes in creating Final Fantasy games for mobile devices, nothing could possibly go wrong, right? Sadly, this couldn't be further from the truth.

While Mobius Final Fantasy pushes devices to the limits when it comes to visual performance, it is in many other ways a huge step backwards for a franchise that has so far done much good in the industry. The biggest problem is the story and its characters: while none of the series' mobile entries have carried stand-out plots, they were clearly not the main focus, with greater importance placed on the nostalgia factor - the bad plots essentially served as little more than an excuse to be able to play as famous characters throughout the series such as Kefka or Bartz.

However, stripped of its rosy tint and taking a more modern approach to the JRPG genre, a lot more is expected of Mobius Final Fantasy. The story follows a young man who lives in a world where a prophecy declares that anyone with his name could be a legendary hero; on his quest for glory, he is joined by an overenthusiastic Moogle and a mischievous Echo, who watch over the uncomfortably edgy protagonist.

Screenshot for Mobius Final Fantasy on iOS

The gameplay is sadly also lacking: though its strengths rest in the franchise's famous puzzle-like strategic gameplay, it's too shallow to be entertaining in the long run; the strategy is centred around elements gained when attacking that can be spent to increase elemental resistance and decrease how often that element appears for a while, or, if enough are gathered, to pull off stronger special moves. This is fun at first, but after a while it turns into a nuisance, as it forces players to actively stay focused, even during grinding.

The make-or-break of the genre, however, is the power-up menus, the between-battle upgrades to the character and the customisation. Here no effort has been spared in making it as complex and engaging as possible and it goes without saying that it's the most entertaining part of the game. Progress is measured by adding "cards" to create a deck, comprised of one job card and some ability cards that, besides starring beautiful artwork, add to the protagonist's level and give him stat boosts and abilities to use in combat. This system may take a while to get used to, but it ultimately feels very neat and clean to use, creating meaningful options for the player to make when deciding which route to go down.

At the end of the day, the bread and butter of JRPGs are the story and combat, and these are the two areas where Mobius Final Fantasy feels the least engaging. The story could potentially get better as more expansions are released, as might the combat when more challenging foes and interesting abilities are added. As of now, though, it feels like the developers have put too much time into the graphical quality and menus in such a way that the other aspects underperform - not to mention that it dries out the phone battery like a sponge.

Screenshot for Mobius Final Fantasy on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The beautiful visuals break new ground in terms of what smartphone gaming is currently capable of, but many aspects of the game feel underdeveloped. The combat system could have been a lot more interesting, and the story does need more work to feel engaging. Overall, though, Mobius Final Fantasy is still a good game - it's just one that's impossible to play without wondering how much better it could have been with more focus on its gameplay.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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