Ok, let's talk about the elephant in the room: price. Final Fantasy: Dimensions [Free] is a free download, but the full game is ~$30, depending on whether you buy the chapters all together or one at a time. We both know that you have a "friend" who spent more than this on one of those Farmville-esque free-to-play titles, but otherwise, Dimensions is one of the most expensive games currently available on the App Store. So, is it worth it?

I can't tell you that.

What I can tell you is that the game's price is about half of what it cost in its original Japanese release two years ago. I can explain the odd pricing of the game's four chapters: Chapters 2 and 3 contain what were 4 chapters each in the original release, and Chapter 4 contains 3, whereas the "Prologue" and the first chapter are identical to the original. If you've played through Chapter 1 (5-6 hours), you're about 2/13 of the way through the game.

So it's a big game, many times the size of your typical iOS RPG, and comparable to Square Enix's re-released classic games on iOS. If there was a strategic mistake in their marketing, it may have been releasing the game all at once and bundling it together as much as they did. If a new chapter (one of the original 13 Japanese chapters) came out every few weeks, and each chapter was $2.99, the game would be more expensive but the price would probably be less contentious.

Paying your way though the game a chapter at a time is probably a best-bet for most players: the price difference ($4 if you unlock everything) is small compared to the "commitment" of the complete unlock for a game this massive. The game itself is pretty much exactly what it looks like and is billed as: a big, classic, Final Fantasy game. Let's break that down a little.

There's an epic, high fantasy plot with lots of twists, a large cast of characters whose appearance and abilities vary wildly, tons of random combat, lots of leveling-up and abilites to unlock, a gradual opening up of the world, secret items, bonus dungeons, and a lot of looking inside pots and barrels in order to pilfer the worldly goods of the townspeople you run across. There are a number of variations on these themes, a few of which actually surprised me, and hints at broader themes that never become too pointed or political.

The game's jobs system, familiar to players of Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy Tactics is the signature mechanic, and there's the twist that while your "core" characters can change jobs, none of the game's large cast of "guest" party members can, so they represent familiar Final Fantasy archetypes like the Dragoon and the Dark Knight alongside the "I can be anything" potential of your core characters. The characters' ability to change jobs is explained in-game by their affinity for the crystals, and this combined with the fact that you'll have to make some tough decisions about where to spend yout "Job Points" gives this game a sufficient degree of min-maxy crunchiness without overemphasizing grinding.

Changing equipment and skill sets to suit a new job or situation is a regular activity, and, as we suggested in our review of the Prologue, the game's flexible inventory and menu system becomes a godsend. With all of this supernaturally guided training and wardrobe-swapping, the game could have been titled "Final Fantasy: Career Counseling is Magic."

The cast of Dimensions is full of comfortable old Square Enix archetypes, to the point that I often found myself going "oh, she's the Rydia / Terra of this game" etc., and a few interesting wrinkles, mainly in terms of characters who have good reason to mistrust each other. I'd hoped that the light/dark split in the plot would lead to a little more moral tension, but the plot is, as one might expect, pure melodrama. Subjectively, I'd say that the plot and characterization hit that same Final Fantasy V note as the job system: more nuanced than IV but not as compelling as VI. That might be subjective, as the legend of Final Fantasy VI inflates it to larger-than-life status, something hard to compare to a new game in the same style.

Final Fantasy: Dimensions is exactly what it wants to be: a new story in a familiar setting and system. For gamers who want to return to those long hours they spent with old-school Final Fantasy games, it will be like discovering a new book by their favorite author. For many, it's a whole lot of expensive game they weren't going to play anyway, and Square Enix has made it clear that they're passing on that audience. In the end, the thing I like best about Dimensions is that it isn't a remake or re-release of an already-beloved game. It's an attempt to establish a high price-point for a big, mobile only (albeit not iOS-exclusive) JRPG. If it succeeds, it will encourage other less well-known ports and maybe even the original development of iOS games that require a $10+ price point.

That said, an extra $10 for chiptunes? Totally bogus.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • The#1

    Lol. I bought the chiptunes not knowing what it was. What a let down. Love the game though. Good review.

  • SoddersLiger

    For some reason, I'm getting a kairosoft game vibe from the screenshots.

    • Mattchaby

      That's the RPG Maker vibe ;-)

      • Onikage725

        I hate when people say this. Was FFX your first FF? RPG Maker looks like classic JRPGs (like Final Fantasy), not the other way around.

  • Lyra

    Ok, I've been thinking about throwing down the cash but you've put me over the edge time to buy.

  • Origon

    I actually like this game. I'm also playing FF7 on Vita so I'm getting into these older more, back to the roots RPGs.

  • Origon

    I'm actually liking this game. I'm also playing FF7 for the first time. With my beloved Vita! Liking this old school type of RPGs. It's definatley time consuming though! ;P

    By the way Great Review!

  • DQforfeit

    How much of the game did you complete before you reviewed it?  Can you comment at all on the endgame?  The Challenge Dungeons are not at the end of each chapter like they were in the original release, but it is unclear if they were removed from the game or moved to the end, as they were originally placed where they were so you'd have something to do while waiting for the next chapter, which isn't really an issue anymore. 

  • Manny213

    I bot all the chapters already and I'm almost finished with the games ^.^!! I berly started chapter 4!!

  • Onikage725

    This review is 100% on point. New game in the classic mold. In that mindset, and comparing to prices of Squenix releases on portables as well as the price of this game in Japan, the price is fine. Technically a deal, even. IMO, this is to FFV what VII is to VI.

  • eponymous

    This just makes me wish Konami would bring Suikoden 1 & 2 to iOS even more. I liked the old FF games but I *loved* the first two Suikodens.

  • Kevin Roberts

    It's kind of hard for me to shell this much for this. Even on the PS3 and Wii store, titles like this are usely $15-$19. Sqaure Enix is not the company it once was and there name brand just isn't enough to get me to shell out $30. Should they ever drop the price to $15, I'll be much more tempted to get it.

    • DQforfeit

      Which titles on the Wii or PS3 store are like this for $15-$19?  Most are substantially shorter, are emulated ROMs/ports, or have DLC.

    • Onikage725

      This isn't a port tho, so you wouldn't find it in those stores (unless it was an episodic release). This would likely come out on, say, DS, competing with full-length retro-inspired titles like Radiant Historia. People spend $40-60 tracking down used copies of Final Fantasy VI Advance. The price isn't for everyone, but there is a solid argument to be made. If it was a DS release, nobody would say anything about a $29.99 or $34.99 price tag.

  • Keithustus

    Oh, Squaresoft. Thank you for finally making another pre-FF7 game. I still don't know how you thought ugly 3D and big stupid hair and swords would make for a fun game, so it's good you're going back to your good-game formula again. Unfortunately, you are releasing this 10-15 years too late, because I no longer have time for random battles or grinding.

    • Onikage725

      The main character not being overly moody with utterly inane fashion sense is doing a lot for me. Remember when designs in these games had to do with who they were, not what accessories they could market to cosplayers?

    • ElPumo

      Other than battles where I need to use magic or items I set the game to auto to speed through the "grinding." Makes the game more fun for me.

  • heronymo

    So far I'm playing through the prologue and haven't purchased any chapters. And so far I'm really liking this game. Classic Final Fantasy! From the feel of the game and from what I gather from this review, it's a proper fully fledged FF title. And that's totally awesome.

    I think I'll be buying the whole thing!

  • http://twitter.com/artingu Martin Gumucio

    I actually kinda hope that the high price point catches on. I bet that would bring some cool stuff to ios.

    • DQforfeit

      I don't want companies charging high prices for the hell of it, but high prices are the best way to get full-length, non-microtransaction, iOS/Android-exclusive developed. Square-Enix is leading the way with this, but it remains to be seen how consistent they can keep the quality, and how committed they are to supporting the platforms.

    • http://twitter.com/CalmChen Calm Chen

      I prefer full length game for the TV. I don't wanna spend so much money to buy a game to play on so small screen. Also, a full length expensive game deserve a joystick.

  • doolphinl

    Does anyone know how many hours of gameplay there is?

    • DQforfeit

      Most players seem to be taking between 30-45 hours, but I'm pretty sure somebody that is really trying to beat it fast could beat it in the low 20s. It's not a short game, and is comparable to the 16- and 32- bit FFs.

  • blindexecutioner

    I can't believe Square reneged on the Android release.  Bastards.

  • Lostpop21

    I have never played a Final Fantasy game before, and i have only lightly dabbled in classic RPG's (Cthulhu Saves the World :b), but i am finding this game highly enjoyable! I purchased the 20$ bundle after playing through the prologue and i have not gotten bored yet! I beat the first chapter after about 2-3 hours, so ill take it slow next act and search for all the secrets this game is said to have. TL;DR buy it.

FINAL FANTASY DIMENSIONS Reviewed by Tof Eklund on . Rating: 4