Guardian Codex (iOS) Review

By André Eriksson 05.02.2017

Review for Guardian Codex on iOS

Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius, Mobius Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts: Unchained χ, Justice Monsters Five. These games have one thing in common: they are all based on best-selling Square Enix franchises, and have therefore had a great carry to reach a huge number of players. Guardian Codex changes this, though. Here, we have an iOS title that isn't propped up by a top franchise, but has to stand on its own legs to reach the masses. Does Square Enix have it in itself to release a great gacha game for the iOS without the support wheels of its great franchises? Read on as Cubed3 delves into the Codex!

Square Enix has so far delivered a lot of great gacha titles onto the smartphone market, there is no denying that. There is, however, also no denying that many of them have had a big piggyback by slapping "Final Fantasy" onto the title. It feels like watching a budding flower blossom when Square Enix throws off the two loaded words, with all creative limitations they bring to the table, to produce something truly fresh for the mobile market. While, sure, this game is a spiritual successor to Guardian Cross, that universe is not as defined as the Final Fantasy one, and it certainly isn't as familiar to the average gamer, either.

Guardian Codex seems like a homerun in many ways that wouldn't be possible if they put the Final Fantasy logo on it. The story of the game covers a world that is somewhere in between what is real and what is imagination, where huge and powerful monsters roam, but someone, or something, is rewriting the Codex in weird ways that only people from outside of it can remember, one of whom is the protagonist.

Screenshot for Guardian Codex on iOS

The world can easily be described as fantasy meets The Matrix, and it is done in such an elegant way that really shows that despite using similar lore at most times, Square Enix still has the wonderful gift to build new and interesting worlds for players to explore.

This step away from being a Final Fantasy game does also mean that all of the characters in the gacha are going to be new and different from the earlier gacha titles from Square Enix. This brings both positives and negatives, but the former does strongly outweigh the latter. While this means we will not see characters such as Lulu or Rydia, it means that we get new and interesting characters instead, like the beautiful blue-haired gothic phantom Banshee from Guardian Cross.

Screenshot for Guardian Codex on iOS

While this certainly, lorewise and characterwise, is a breath of fresh air for avid fans of Square Enix's gacha titles, it does still need to deliver in the gameplay and customer friendliness departments. It is a real pleasure to say that Guardian Codex might very well be their best made gacha title to this day when it comes to customer friendliness. While it maintains the typical energy system, the title allows players to gain a lot of high-level monsters without spending a single penny in the item shop by grinding them in their boss fights that rotates on a daily basis.

The gameplay is slightly weaker than some of their other gacha titles, such as Record Keeper and Brave Exvius. The problem is that the system is extremely simple and does not offer a lot of options for true customisation in the same way as those games are doing, which makes the character building feel stale. The biggest strength it has over these titles, though, is the fact that it offers co-op multiplayer from day one!

Screenshot for Guardian Codex on iOS

This co-op multiplayer makes the game feel fun and less of a grind, as the player has their "own" character to focus on, which makes it feel all the more personal. The drawback is that the connection sometimes breaks, which can lead to pretty horrible things. Thankfully, the game allows the leader of the group to control the monsters of the disconnecting player, which means that this is never going to turn into a huge problem.

It is easy to say that when Square Enix removed the support wheels named "Final Fantasy" and "Kingdom Hearts," they managed to blossom quite well. Guardian Codex feels like a fresh breeze on the market for Square Enix, and the multiplayer is a fun addition. It is just sad that they held back on the complexity of building a character, as this is where the pure joy rests in titles like these.

Screenshot for Guardian Codex on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The world and the characters are beautiful and feel like a creative breeze on the shelf of Square Enix gacha titles. It truly feels like the developers felt more free when developing Guardian Codex than with titles such as Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius. They did do a worse job with the customisation system and combat depth in this game than in most of their earlier efforts, though. It is uncertain if it is due to a wish to make it more accessible, the fact that it has multiplayer and they don't want poorly built characters to ruin the day for others, or if it is just a low budget or tight deadline that held it back. It is still head and shoulders above most gacha games not made by Square Enix on the market, and the multiplayer might very well compensate for this for many players.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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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