If you've been waiting for a game wrapped in Sega's mediocre emulator that's finally worth buying, that day has come. Shining Force [$2.99] hit the App Store mere moments ago, and as mentioned in our preview yesterday, it's amazing how much the overall experience of playing these emulated games is improved when playing a slow-paced game that doesn't depend on emulator performance or precise controls. In said preview, I explained the basics of Shining Force:

Shining Force is a tactical RPG with turn-based battles that take place on square grids. Originally released in the USA in 1993, Shining Force is about as classic as you get when it comes to a Sega RPG. Not only has it been included in various classic game collections that Sega has released on numerous platforms over the years, but it also saw a remake in 2004 for the Gameboy Advance. This is the original Genesis version of the game, set in the land of Rune where you play a silent protagonist who recruits allies to the Shining Force to ultimately prevent the evil Darksol from resurrecting a Dark Dragon, destroying the world, and doing all those other things which have since become entirely cliche for RPG villains to do.

While Shining Force may seem a little basic if you haven't played it before and your first exposure to turn based strategy games was Final Fantasy Tactics or later games, Shining Force has everything it needs for a great old school RPG. Each character has their own class (and personality which is often revealed throughout the story) along with special abilities. As you battle your units level up, and my favorite feature of Shining Force always was that there never really is a game over. If your party falls in battle you retain all your experience earned and just try again. Of course there are all kinds of items to buy, treasure to find, gear to equip, and everything else you'd expect as well.

Surprisingly enough, this is the first emulated Genesis game on the App Store I can recommend without issue. Shining Force is an excellent classic RPG, and the turn based gameplay makes the touch controls extremely forgiving. It would have been nice to see Sega put a little more effort in to this game and either port the Gameboy Advance or Sega CD release, but I'm just glad they've moved on to RPG's instead of sticking with the classic lineup of action and arcade games. Now, how about Phantasy Star next, eh Sega?

International Link: Shining Force

  • Nic Taylor

    Would love to see Shining Force 2 come to the App store...one of the few games I still have the original box for on Genesis ^_^

  • Lions

    What about Phantasy Star II? It's still one of my absolute favorites.

  • http://www.rustysabre.com/ Eric

    I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one that felt the other emulated games were a bit lackluster. I picked up Streets Of Rage and Golden Axe, and while it was fun just seeing the games again, the experience was soon ruined by actually trying to play them. I think I'm going to have to pick this one up, though, because it was definitely one of my favorites back when I had my Genesis.

  • Murbs

    The link on the UK App store is for Shining Force (International)

    http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/shining-force-international/id382289781?mt=8

    • Murbs

      Which is also at the bottom of the article. Doh!

      Please ignore me :-)

  • Shibuya_109

    This is badly dated, more so than many 16-bit RPGs (it really feels more like a late 8-bit game), but it's still quite fun and if you have an iPhone 4 (which can runs Sega's crappy emulator at 60fps) then it's probably worth a download.

    I'd like to see them release a far wider selection of MD games though, and to go back to the idea of having them as DLC from within a single Mega Drive emulator app.

    • http://Www.jindofox.com Jindo Fox

      Now that we have folder support, what would be the point of an emulator with downloads? Sega wouldn't be able to market that as easily.

      • Zonko

        I'm not a fan of iOS4 folders, as they're so damn ugly looking. Plus they only hold a finite number of items, and Sega could conceivably release hundreds of MD games.

  • JD

    Loving this game, brings back all the old memories. This is the 3rd time I've bought this game over the years and each time I play it and still fall in love with it all over again.

    If you like solid turn based SRPGs with a good story and some funny moments pick this one up. It's 2.99 , cheaper than that double latte you'll end up getting to wake up in the AM. You can easily pour 15-20hrs into this game leveling up and doing all those side quests.

  • Jeff

    Does anyone know if you can use the "name all the other characters" trick on here, and if so, how? I think you needed both controllers on the Genesis, so hopefully that little nugget is programmed in here as well.

  • Skamando

    This is one of my favorite RPGs ever, and this will be the 4th platform I've owned it on, including Genesis, PC, Wii, and now iPhone.

  • omg

    another lazy rom/emulator port by sega.

  • http://www.ratrodstudio.com Ratrod Studio Inc.

    One of the best RPG... makes me feel nostalgic

  • http://about12minutes.com Javy

    I swear, if they release Phantasy Star or PSII or PSIII for the iPhone I will be VERY UPSET because I got this without thinking that they would dare pull such a stunt.

    Then again, Shining Force is pretty awesome already.

  • katie minami

    its awesome