So this is pretty weird. Last week, the classic Japanese role playing game from Atlus, Shin Megami Tensei [$13.99], appeared in the App Store.

Originally released for the Super Famicom in 1992, the game was re-released for the PlayStation and the Game Boy Advance about a decade later, but the game has never been released outside of Japan (though unofficial English-translated versions do exist around the web). The original Shin Megami Tensei has spawned tons of sequels and spinoffs, and the entire series has an extremely dedicated following.

Now, when I first saw Shin Megami Tensei in the App Store, I was almost certain it wasn't a sanctioned port. In this line of business, unauthorized ports or ripoffs of popular games appear fairly often, especially as of late it seems.

The iOS version of Shin Megami Tensei definitely did not look legit. It had an atrocious virtual control overlay that took up more than half the screen, and the app description sounded like it had been carefully reworded from the Wikipedia entry on the game.

Oh, and the entire game was still in Japanese only. Let me repeat that: the game is entirely in Japanese with no English whatsoever.

So based on that, and given the fairly hefty price tag, I was ready to write Shin Megami Tensei off as just another unauthorized cash grab. Except, upon further snooping, it's not.

It's published by Index Corporation, the Japanese company that bought Atlus several years back. A tweet from Atlus Japan's Twitter account confirms that they are officially behind this iOS version. It appears to be a bare-bones emulated port of the 2003 Game Boy Advance version, with no special care put into translating it to iOS. But hey, it's Shin Megami Tensei on your iPhone, I guess.

If you know Japanese and can deal with a no-frills port, then this is likely your dream come true. For anybody else, this is probably just a frustrating example of what could have been. A proper, English-translated port of Shin Megami Tensei that has been carefully crafted for the iOS platform would make a lot of people happy, and although I don't think it's likely, I'm holding out hope that Atlus is considering something like that for the future.

For now, if you are down to drop $14 just so you can carry around the original Shin Megami Tensei in your pocket, then I won't judge you.

  • EBSkater

    Don't become one of those douchbag blogs like iMore. Because to be honest, this post totally sounds like it.

    • Jared Nelson


    • rekzkarz

      What exactly are you griping about?  I'm amazed the admin left this comment!  If you're going to complain that this site is too much like another site, say what's the problem w/that.
      Obv I'm not familiar with iMore.

  • GDSage

    Yikes, who thought that control setup and screen display was a good idea? Why not just port SJ (the fourth one) that was released on the DS?

  • Bridget

    14 dollars.... for what looks like a *really* bad port of a very old game that can be played elsewhere easily.... AND it's only in Japanese.

    .....why was an article about this necessary, exactly?   This'll do very little aside from irritate fans of the series, when they see the title, and then actually read the article.

  • Ed Schelhas

    Jeez guys, don't be such d-bags. This is an ios news and reviews site and this article falls under one of those. No need to get snobby.

  • Ramiro Mohaded

    Well, I agree that the virtual pad taking more than half the screen is stupid, but criticising it for being only in Japanese sounds moronic. It's only in Japanese probably because it's intended only for their market. You don't see me talking thrash about games because they are not in my mother language, and actually I prefer it that way.

    • Troy

      The problem is, the game was released in the English App Stores. If the game had only been released in the Japanese App Store, with Japanese as the only option, there would be no complaints; as it stands, only having Japanese available in the English speaking App Stores makes the developer look very very lazy.

      • Ramiro Mohaded

        I'm sorry, but I'd rather have a game available to me even if it's in Japanese, or whatever other "obscure" language, than not having it altogether. I've had to create a Japanese iTunes account in order to download a good deal of games because of that, so in this case, I stand in favor of them for releasing it globally even if it only is in Japanese, but still, it's true that as a port itself, it shows to be really lazy and with a hefty price tag along that.

  • Stu Graham

     This post makes my head hurt. Complaining when a Japanese game gets put on the App store to cater towards Japanese speaking individuals? Because of course only people who speak English should be able to play games.

  • rekzkarz

    Needs more pics for me to accurately say anything.  The pic here is just one big controller and some random stuff on top & Japanese writing.
    Maybe this is a great game for Japanese speakers?  Wouldn't know...

  • neetyneety

    English translations for this and Corpse Party plox