This morning following the sort of surprising but not really release of Final Fantasy Dimensions on the New Zealand App Store I sat down with Brad and Jared to play through the first bit of the game. Hopefully some Final Fantasy connoisseurs can identify the source material, as Square has been quite vague when it comes to whether or not this is a port, a refresh, a new title, or a mixture of all three. The interface is very similar to Final Fantasy III [$15.99 / $16.99 (HD)] in that all of the UI elements have been nicely re-worked to be touch-friendly and the on-screen controls seem to work well enough despite having an obnoxiously large virtual D-pad that appears whenever you move.

This is every bit a old school feeling Final Fantasy, with tons of text, random battles, and a pretty slow pace overall. If you're a veteran of these sorts of games, all of this will be more than familiar to you. As of this writing, I haven't hit the pay wall yet, but I sort of suspect it comes after the requisite opening dungeon and whatever the Dimensions equivalent is of defeating Garland and crossing the bridge in the original Final Fantasy [$8.99]. As mentioned in the video, it'll be really interesting to see how the IAP conversion rate works out with the rest of the game locked behind a $28.99 pay wall. It really feels like they're giving a lot away for free. Check it out:

Curiously enough, also as of this writing Final Fantasy Dimensions has been pulled from the New Zealand App Store. We're not sure if this release was intentional, if there's some sort of problem with it, or if they're going to try to do a worldwide simultaneous release at some point today or tomorrow. Regardless, we're plugging through it and plan on having a full review as soon as we can.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/42YS2N67LP6IDUKBZUUCMSZW7M Pray For Death

    Does anyone else think the game's production values are too low for the price?

    • heronymo

      For me, it depends on the quality of the gameplay and story. I'm hoping it's a fully fledged FF title, meaning it takes a while to go through and has a decent amount of sidequests. I don't mind the graphics. :)

    • ElPumo

      Really felt like it was slow to me. Might be able to speed up the text but I'm not feeling an urge to drop $30 on this yet.

  • http://twitter.com/Cooltendo Philip Armstrong

    "Hopefully some Final Fantasy connoisseurs can identify the source material, as Square has been quite vague when it comes to whether or not this is a port, a refresh, a new title, or a mixture of all three."

    It's very simple. It's a enhanced port of a Japanese-only cellphone game called Final Fantasy Legend. Since that name was already used for the American version of SaGa they changed it to Final Fantasy Dimensions. That said, Legends was a brand new game for cellphones, not a port of anything. This is the first time the game has been released outside of Japan and should be treated as a new Final Fantasy, which it is.

  • DQforfeit

    To fill in Square's terrible marketing about the game:

    This is an upgraded port of Final Fantasy Legends:  Warriors of Light and Dark, a game released episodically from late 2010 to late 2011  for several Japan-only cellphones.  While the original game was 13 Chapters, roughly one per month, the Chapters in this new edition are actually BUNDLES of Chapters.  The name for the West was change to not be confused with the localization of SaGa 1,2,3 for the original Gameboy.

    The Prologue is a short intro (two dungeons?).  This ends before you unlock the Job Sysystem.

    What is now called Chapter 1 was the same as the old Chapter 1.

    "Chapter 2" in this release is actually a bundle of 4 of the old chapters, each focusing on and unlocking a new Job.

    "Chapter 3" is another set of 4 chapters, with another 4 jobs.

    "Chapter 4" is the three-chapter finale.

    Once you get through the Prologue, and before the Finale, Each of the 9 Chapters has around 3~4 dungeons, an optional side dungeon, and a post-chapter Challenge Dungeon that can only be completed before you move on to the next, as in The After Years. However, Levels and Job Levels are capped per chapter, so completing the challenging parts will get you good gear but won't leave you vastly overleveled.

    This game has five-person party, last seen in FFT or FF4.  However, the members are not set in stone, and for most of the game you are alternating back and forth between two separate parties of 4, the Light Warriors and the Dark Warriors, which share some possible Jobs (FF1 classes + Summoner), while each having access to 5 exclusive classes. So, overall there are 8 main party members divided in to two teams, and 10 or so temporary guest characters.

    Compared to the original version, this new version has a completely remastered soundtrack, upgraded visuals, touch controls, and the game is bundled into few separate packages, at a lower cost (the original came out to around $60).

    As for the game's cost, Square-Enix is treating phones like it does the handheld market, and doesn't cut prices in fear of undercutting the other versions of their games.  Square knows that it will reduce sales, but I'm guessing they'd rather sell less on phones than destroy their DS/3DS/PSP/Vita/PSN sales.  The Prologue, plus Chapter 1 for $3 (which comes with the Job System and a Challenge Dungeon) seems like a decent idea for players on the fence, and is 2.5-5 hours of gameplay, I'd guess?  Buying chapters separately will cost $33, only $4 more than the full unlock, so buying at your own pace is feasible. The iOS page lists an alternate chiptunes soundtrack as DLC, but there is no mention of the cost yet.

     Overall, the game is clearly inspired by the first six Final Fantasies, with some nods to the PSX games as well (Chocobo racing minigames, etc.), in music, graphical design, and gameplay mechanics.  Estimates place the game's length between 20 and 40 hours, with maybe more depending on how much time you spend in the Challenge Dungeons, and also with replayability due to the Job System.

    EDIT: The Job System is based on FF5's, but slightly more elaborate. There are fewer Jobs than FF5 (only 17 jobs), but the Light/Dark exclusivity, more even spread of abilities, and multi-character combo attacks add a little bit of depth. Red Mages can get the Runic/Attune Blade ability that Celes had in FF6, Ninjas get a suite of Ninjitsu techniques like their incarnations in non-FF5 games, Monks get all of the nifty abilities they had in FFT, Dragoons get the Breath abilities from the FFTA games, etc. Max Job Level is capped per chapter, a partial holdover from when releases were a month apart, and also to keep the game from being too easy even if you complete the Challenge Dungeons.

  • Atomos

    You're doing gods work son.

  • http://twitter.com/sabin1981 Sabin Figaro

    Thank you very much, that was an outstanding post and fully explains exactly what this title is and where it came from :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jgelfond Jensen Gelfond

    Thank you for mentioning FFIII (US) / FFVI (JP). It is the best of FF, and they should get it on iOS ASAP!

    • Ajstadel

      Unless you have your regions backward, FF3 (US) is on iOS.

      • Jensen_G

        I'm talking about this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Fantasy_VI

      • DQforfeit

        He's using the old naming conventions.  FF6 was released in the US on SNES as FF3, but since the release of Final Fantasy Anthology on PSX, Square started using the 'true' numbering.

  • paulf58

    I just don't get it. For less money you can get classics like Chrono trigger or secret of mana. This is a cell phone port ala FF4 after years. It's not worth $30.

    Id rather they just port FF6 with upgrades than this. Charge me $5 Mac for this

  • paulf58

    20-40? If that's the case maybe it deserves some attention

    • DQforfeit

      With all Chapters combined, it is a full-length Final Fantasy.  Exact estimates are hard, as this version has a fast-forward "auto-battle" toggle that has instant ATB fills and faster animations.  But in terms of dungeons, etc., it is as long or longer than the SNES FFs.  

  • Spamstic

    Hmm .. I'm more temped by Ff3 than this, Would I be wrong?

    • DQforfeit

      No, you're not wrong.  The SNES FFs were a huge step up from FF3, and almost everything about the SNES games was more interesting.  This is in that same vein.

    • ElPumo

      I'm really enjoying FF3.

  • http://twitter.com/Rage_boi Vince

    Well this definitely looks much better than the many wannabe budget 'JRPG's being churned out everyday in the appstore. 

  • DQforfeit

    To the writers of the article:  You mention the slow pace of the game, but there is a Battle Speed choice in the Options menu.  Doesn't look like it improves the world movement speed at all, though.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTRO7RQBCTAY4WLC72BKUO5MIU CurtNeedsaRide _

    Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy, and Ash: three games with similar gameplay, much better graphics and stories, and ALL of them TOGETHER cost less than this. I think I'll stick with what I have and keep grinding away instead of shelling out way too much money for a less appealing RPG.

    • DQforfeit

      Oh, so you've played this?  What part of its gameplay and stories did you like worse than FF1 and FF3?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTRO7RQBCTAY4WLC72BKUO5MIU CurtNeedsaRide _

        Haven't played it. Just watched enough footage to be bored. If it wasn't a newer FF title with the same old story, then I wouldn't be so harsh. But since it's just reusing stories that we have already played... and at a much slower, drawn out pace, then I don't think it warrants my attention.

  • Flare_TM

     Epic post

  • Superatomic

    DQforfeit seems pretty defensive of this game:)

    • DQforfeit

      I'm just interested in the game, and will be grabbing it as soon as it is up here.  I'll share the little that I do know about it when they ask, but comments like CurtNeedsaRide's remark about the stories in FF1 and FF3 makes me wonder if he has played those games at all.  There are definitely things to like about those two games, but the stories are not high on that list.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTRO7RQBCTAY4WLC72BKUO5MIU CurtNeedsaRide _

        Depth and drawn-out-ness of stories don't necessarily mean better. Sometimes, especially for classics, simplicity is better. I've played days and days worth of time on both those games. I've also played days worth of time on games with much more in depth stories like Chrono Trigger, Crimson Gem Saga, Dragon's Odyssey, etc. And for the life of me, I don't remember what I have to do next when I pick those up... But with FF and FFIII its not as difficult to get back into those stories.

        However, if I want to play THOSE simple stories, then I will just play those! I don't need to throw days of my life AND 30 more dollars at a "new" game to just play through the same sort of story at a much slower pace.

  • Zephiros

    Oh god! I dont believe all the bitching regarding this game's pricing!! This FF is more deserving of a number than FFXIII and XIII-2 were, it's a classic JRPG experience with beautiful 2D HD graphics and lasts longer than most games on the app store... You already have an overpriced smartphone, 30 bucks should be nothing for you.

    I can't wait till tomorrow to pay full price for this game and enjoy it while it lasts. Hopefully SE will release a retail version sometime in the near future like they did with FFIV TAY... Bought that game on wiiware and for the PSP. Worth every dollar. These are the kind of games SE should focus on, not that pseudo futuristic crap on PS3

    • bitbit

      This is a port of a smartphone game developed by "Matrix Software". It's not even developed by Square. It's "Final Fantasy" in name only, and a pretty pathetic aping of classic Square games from the look of it.

      • DQforfeit

        No, it still had heavy involvement from Square-- Matrix is just the group that a lot of the development and coding were outsourced to, and this is the fourth final fantasy that they've made.  The artists, producers, and composers have been part of Square-Enix for years, and Matrix is responsible for the DS/iOS version of FF3, and the DS versions of 4 and The 4 Light Warriors, both of which will likely end up on iOS eventually.

      • bitbit

        It's a cheap cash-in on the Final Fantasy name developed by a budget outsourced studio and now being ported to iPhone. It looks and sounds like shit, and frankly looks like a modern day B studio poorly copying the style of the 16-bit era Final Fantasy games,.
        I'm not sure why you're being an apologist to Square on this.

      • chinito77

        There's nothing cheap about this game.  It's just like the various FF games that are made for the cell phones of Japan or the odd ball titles like that FPS FF console game.

        I don't understand the looks and sounds like shit part.  The best FF games of all were that of the 8 and 16 bit era.  Please elaborate what you don't like about the look.  Keep in mind that it has to be optimized for a touch screen device.

      • bitbit

        I agree that the best Final Fantasy games of all were the 16-bit ones, and this looks like a shit copy of games in that style.
        The pixel art is not up to par.  The walking animation and movement look floaty and bad. The "mode 7" style perspective scrolling of the map is poorly done and at odd angles. The music sounds terrible. 

        The entire package just screams B-grade imitation. I don't understand how you can't see it.
        Compare video of this game to FF6 or FFV.

      • Zephiros

        Exactly... These guys think they have answers for everything. People can't expect console style games like this to cost a few bucks... It's a Square Enix game, it's a full fledged classic Final Fantasy experience and it should cost like one!

  • Schpank

    What a turd. 

  • Benegesserit

    Don't they realize that after TEWTY this looks like trash for the price?

    • Benegesserit

      *TWEWY

  • jeffmd

    You can keep this. I very much enjoy the 3d final fantasy games, and when most of your ff ports are these 2d remakes... yea.. pass. 

    • Aaron Soderholm

      And I'm the opposite. I think most of the 3D ones aren't nearly as good (7 withstanding).

  • Aaron Soderholm

    Excellent post. Heck, you ought to join the TA team. I think you just sold me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000474676350 Jaime Coston

    This just screams price parity for all eventual format releases (PSPGo store). There's no other sense this game should cost this much!...

    I'll wait for Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition, a game that was actually reviewed highly when it originally released, that sucked 200 hours of gameplay per play through from me each time, and that will cost a third of the price of this game... But thanks for TWEWY Solo Remix SquareEnix, that was pretty awesome!

    Go for the eyes Boo! GO FOR THE EYES! *squeekSQUEEKsqueel*!

  • http://twitter.com/Cooltendo Philip Armstrong

    Most people seem to be missing the part of DQforfeit's post where the original cellphone version cost SIXTY DOLLARS. So yeah, $30 is more than normal for a iOS game but from SE's perspective this is still a big discount (not justifying the price, just saying SE likes the monies is all).

  • http://flavors.me/kioshi kioshi

    No need for a review now, I was half sold when I saw the gfx are actually nice, the animations are acceptable and oh damn the battle victory music... 

  • Superatomic

    Still not available in the app store and it's 12:11am

  • MidianGTX

    Not too excited about the fact it's a port at all. I'd rather wait for a real iOS FF game before dropping hardcore cash on it. It may have originally been more expensive, but it has the production values of a cell phone game, and I wouldn't have paid full price for it then either.

    • Superatomic

      Midian this will be the best FF on iOS for a long time.

      • MidianGTX

         I guess with the free prologue and incremental pay method I'd be foolish not to give it a chance, but no promises!

      • DQforfeit

        I don't know about that.  I'm hoping that they bring out the 3D   DS remake of FF4 soon, but they're more likely to bring out the PSP version with The After Years included.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottktfraser Scott Kenneth Thompson Fraser

    Can anyone verify this is available in any app store right now? Cuz it isn't in the Canadian app store...and some guy called Eli Hodapp mentioned it was pulled from new zealand app store....maybe its buggy and they yanked it?

    • MidianGTX

       I'm downloading it right now from the UK store.

      • Superatomic

        I wonder if it will ever be available in Canada

    • http://twitter.com/Rage_boi Vince

      You mustn't trust that random dude! eh..but apparently there was some problems with in app purchases of the episodes as written in the app description

      "Because of a problem, you can not purchase In-App Purchases, such as following chapters to the prologue episode, in the current version.
      The problem will be fixed soon and please wait for the update.
      "

  • Superatomic

    I was right! They just posted that there is errors with in app purchases and they are working on a fix!

  • Happyvideogamenerd

    I kneel to you. Respect!

  • araczynski

    whenever i hear of square releasing anything anymore, i always imagine them engaging in necrophilia, "see, she's not completely cold YET!, prop her up and put her back on the street corner!"

    • http://twitter.com/Rage_boi Vince

      The Appstore must be a morgue than..since lots of great games on the ios platform are from dated ports. lol

      • araczynski

        true enough, but with square, almost everything they release is just a port of something they've already released, 100 times across different platforms.  if there's one place i would hate to work at as a coder, it would be for square.