I had often wondered if we were going to see Final Fantasy 9 [$20.99] on iOS. As the only installment of the PlayStation 1 trio without a PC port, it was going to take a lot more work to get the game going on other platforms. At the same time, it's also the lowest-selling among its PlayStation peers, and while it seems to be generally more well-liked than Final Fantasy 8 these days, it's hard to say how well Square Enix would be able to financially justify what would have to be a high-effort port. Well, I guess the numbers must have finally worked out, because not only is Final Fantasy 9 now available on iOS, the quality of the port is well beyond my expectations. This is a great RPG from one of Square Enix's best eras, and it's been given an exceptional amount of care in the transition to mobile.

I'm sure many of the people reading this review have played Final Fantasy 9 before. On the other hand, this game is more than 15 years old and hasn't left the PlayStation eco-system before, so I'm sure many of you haven't. So, I'm going to start by talking about the quality of the port, and then I'll go into a review of the game itself. If you want the short version, this is an excellent port of a very good game, but neither the port nor the game itself are without their flaws. Even taking the few issues with the port into account, this is, without question, the best version of the game, to the point that it would be silly to play the older version if you have access to this one.

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The challenges in porting this title to any modern platform were numerous. As with the other two PlayStation 1 Final Fantasy games, many of the 3D assets for the game's backgrounds were not kept. Unlike the other two, there is no PC version of the game, which means that most of the background images were only available in their 320 x 240 versions. Modern mobile devices rarely use that aspect ratio, and the resolutions of their displays are significantly higher. Left as-is, the backgrounds would look terrible, but creating them all again from scratch would be like making an entire new game. A less significant but still important issue is that the game would have to be fully ported from the PlayStation 1 version, as there is no PC version to put a wrapper around similar to what they appear to have done with Final Fantasy 7 [$15.99]. Apart from those main issues, they also needed to account for mobile-specific features, and if possible, address some of the complaints with the original game.

Keeping that all in mind, this port is just about the best it could be. All of the 3D objects in the game are presented at much higher resolutions, and many of the character models have been touched up to give them added detail. The main characters look fantastic thanks to this, and even minor characters benefit from the increased resolution and a bit of texture filtering. The backgrounds appear to have been filtered and touched up, which is probably all they could realistically do. They never look great, and sometimes the blurriness washes out details, but at least in my case, my eyes adjusted after a while, so they didn't bother me too badly. I've replayed the original recently on an HD TV and a Vita screen, and it looked even worse there, so I guess this is the best we're going to get for now. If you're playing on a device that doesn't follow the original 4:3 aspect ratio the PlayStation game was designed for, you'll also have to deal with borders on the sides of the screen. Again, there wasn't a lot they could do here. The full-motion video cut-scenes are quite clear, but on my iPhone 6S Plus the first few seconds of each and every one of them suffered from stuttering and choppiness. With the frequency that videos pop up in the game, sometimes to bring backgrounds to life, this is a pretty annoying problem, and one I'm sure is fixable.

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One other compromise is that it appears the music has been compressed more than it was in the original version. It still sounds great, but if your hearing is sharp and you're playing with headphones, you'll probably notice the slight dip in quality. The user interface has been completely redesigned for touch screens, and it works a lot better than Final Fantasy 7's controller overlay. Menus respond to touches just as you would expect them to, and you can even tap a point on the screen to move your character there if you don't feel like using the virtual stick. As with the iOS port of Final Fantasy Tactics [$13.99 / $15.99 (HD)], there are occasional situations where it feels like you have to tap something very small, but in general, the controls and user interface are excellent. I only have two complaints. First, the game treats the borders as dead zones, so if you try to move your thumb outside of the main play area, you won't get a response. Second, although the game has MFi controller support, it seems to be buggy or outright broken on most controllers at the moment. I imagine both of these issues will be fixed in the future, though, and in form and function everything else works very well.

As far as additions go, the game includes a selection of cheats along the lines of those found in Final Fantasy 7. You can access them from the pause menu, so they aren't staring you in the face the whole time you're playing, which was a complaint some had about Final Fantasy 7. The framerate in Final Fantasy 9 is better than that game's iOS port, too, matching and even improving on the original PlayStation version in places. It's still not as smooth as it could be, but I suspect they couldn't venture too far away from the original without breaking things. There are two great new things in this port that I really like, too. First, you can flip a setting in the config menu to turn off battle introductions, which reduces the amount of time it takes to get into a battle by about five seconds. This goes a long way towards correcting one of the major complaints about Final Fantasy 9, the overall slow speed of the battles.

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The other thing I really like is that the game auto-saves after every screen transition. Of course, you'll want to make a manual save at every opportunity just to be on the safe side, but it's really great to be able to fire up the game, run through a couple of screens, and close it without worrying about sniffing out a save spot. As an added bonus, it also works like a checkpoint in case a boss wrecks you. Just hit continue from the main menu and you can take as many tries as you need. Cheating a little? Sure, but it's fairly harmless and certainly more convenient for mobile gamers than Final Fantasy 7's rigid adherence to the original save system was. In fact, I'd say this save system is probably my favorite new thing about this version of the game, as it makes it a lot easier to sneak in quick slices of the game during pockets of free time.

So if you're wondering about the quality of the port, there you are. It's an excellent port, easily the best of the Final Fantasy games on iOS so far, and worthy of mention among the best transplants to the platform such as Christian Whitehead's Sonic The Hedgehog ports and Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto conversions. The only way it could have been better is if it had been completely remade from scratch, and I suspect neither the game nor the platform could justify that kind of investment of resources. I wish Square Enix would show this level of care to all of the games they bring to the platform. I sincerely hope this, along with the more recent releases in the Dragon Quest line, demonstrate a new approach to mobile ports from the company. I suppose time will tell on that one, but if nothing else, Final Fantasy 9 fans have gotten the royal treatment after a very long wait.

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As for the game itself, I have some conflicting feelings about it. It's a very calculated throwback, and at the time of its release, it got a fair bit of criticism for that. In the here and now, with almost 16 more years down the Final Fantasy road, its reflection on the games that come before it is, at least in my books, quite welcome. Some of the references feel like they're winking a little too hard at the audience, but there's quite a bit of sincerity running through most of the game. This was probably the last time series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi had a major creative hand in a Final Fantasy game, which I think accounts for why it feels to many like it was the last traditional Final Fantasy. It's kind of funny, because for most of its development period, the team making it wasn't even sure it was going to be a numbered installment in the series. It has a very different look to it compared to the other PlayStation Final Fantasy releases, owing largely to the return of Yoshitaka Amano, the lead artist on the first six Final Fantasy games. Sakaguchi believed this aspect made it more suitable as a spin-off title, but Square Enix felt the game was worthy of being a mainline entry.

They weren't wrong. Final Fantasy 9 has everything a Final Fantasy game ought to. There are tons of interesting places to visit, with fantastical cities, bizarre dungeons, and a big world map to explore. The cast of playable characters is fairly large, and unlike the previous two games, each has their own unique skills that separates them from the others. Each of the party members gets their own little slices of story to call their own, but the main focus is on hero Zidane, heroine Garnet, and the heart of the story, the black mage Vivi. The story is the strongest when it's focused on Garnet and Vivi's struggles with their identities and roles, but in the later part of the game, things start to home in on Zidane's issues, which is where the game's story always falls apart for me. For most of the game, he's a refreshingly light hero after the gruff Cloud and the mopey Squall, but I guess Final Fantasy 9 wouldn't be much of a Final Fantasy throwback if it didn't fulfill the need for main character melodrama. The villains in this game are also particularly forgettable, and coming off of Final Fantasy 8's weaknesses in this area, that's really saying something.

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Still, I think Final Fantasy 9 is my favorite of the PlayStation-era Final Fantasy games. What it lacks in a strong villain it more than makes up for with a likable core cast. While there are characters who I feel are completely squandered, like Amarant and Freya, and at least one toss-away in the form of Quina, the rest of the crew is strong, playing off of each other quite well. Vivi is the main stand-out, and I think he's as good of a character as the series has to offer, with an excellent arc that pays off well emotionally. Like most of the games in the series, the story drags a little too much between the halfway point and the ending, with a great deal of its story momentum front-loaded and the remainder packed into the ending. But wow, what an ending. After a couple of entries with vague endings that didn't do much to satisfy after the long journeys before them, Final Fantasy 9's close is emotional and triumphant, leaving very few unanswered questions.

In terms of gameplay, I find Final Fantasy 9 more mechanically interesting than Final Fantasy 7 due to its larger party size and more specialized characters. Its basic systems are more functional and intuitive than Final Fantasy 8's innovative, messy ideas, too. The battle system follows the traditional Active Time Battle rules closely, a tried and true system that works well, even if it means combat is nothing particularly special relative to other installments. This game's take on Limit Breaks is the Trance system, which differs from the former mainly in that they're triggered automatically, making it more difficult to game them for use against bosses. I think that's a good change given how overpowered Limit Breaks were in the previous two games, but others might find it annoying. As already mentioned, each character has their unique skills, so if a character can't use Magic, that's all there is to that. I find this adds value to each of the characters and encourages you to change up your party based on the threats you're facing. This means you'll sometimes need to use characters who you don't necessarily like, but I feel like it makes for better encounter design and grants an extra layer of strategy to the game.

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You do have some input on how your characters progress, however. In addition to their basic skills, characters can learn new abilities or magic spells by equipping gear. Each piece of gear has some abilities it can teach, although certain skills are limited to particular characters. Winning in battle will reward you with some ability points in addition to the regular gil and experience, and when you've reached a set number, your character will permanently learn the associated skill. It generally takes longer to permanently learn the skill than a gear piece is useful for, so you'll frequently have to choose between using the best gear for the stat benefits or keeping old gear equipped to learn new abilities. If you're the sort that really wants to max out your characters, this system could be a nightmare, but I rather like it. It makes me want to sniff out and collect every piece of equipment so that I can have access to the full range of abilities. I think I use the Steal ability more in this game than any other Final Fantasy as a result.

While there aren't quite as many mini-games in Final Fantasy 9 as there are in Final Fantasy 7, the few that are here are substantial. The highlight is Chocobo Hot And Cold, a treasure hunt that sees your party's chocobo digging around for treasure maps and some extremely powerful items, while the low point is the confusing card game Tetra Master, which pales in comparison to Final Fantasy 8's Triple Triad. It's a little too random, in my opinion, but if you like Othello, you might enjoy Tetra Master enough to put up with its eccentricities. You'll only have to play it a couple of times in the main story, so if you don't like it, it's not a big deal. I do have to point out that this game contains one of the most irritating secrets in Final Fantasy history, requiring the player to do an absurd speed run in order to obtain the best sword in the game. You do not need that sword in any way, shape, or form, but it's something that always sticks in my craw when I come back to this game.

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Outside of those minor distractions, most of Final Fantasy 9's gameplay is quite predictable by design. You'll visit a new town or city, stumble on some reason to explore a nearby cave or dungeon, and finishing that will somehow open up the path to the next town or city. At various stages of the game, you'll gain access to new means of transportation that will slowly open up the world map for exploration. You can find sub-quests by going off the beaten path, and there's a ridiculous optional boss for expert players to grind their teeth on. As this is a deliberate throwback, many of the situations and characters you come across will echo previous games in some way, which can be a lot of fun as long as you aren't annoyed by exploring yet another volcano or giant tree. For what it's worth, the dungeon layouts are quite good, nicely demonstrating the team's experience and maturity at working with pre-rendered areas.

Final Fantasy 9 has its issues with pacing and story, and there are some minor, perhaps unavoidable issues with the port. It needs one solid update to take care of the problems with MFi controllers and the videos stuttering, at the very least. That said, while I could knock it for what it isn't, I think I'd rather praise it for what it is: the best version to date of an extremely good RPG, one that might not be in the upper echelon of the overall genre, but certainly in that category relative to other mobile offerings. I loved this game nearly 16 years ago as a joyous farewell to a series I felt was drifting away from me. Even though I ended up adjusting just fine to Final Fantasy's new direction from that point on, I still love Final Fantasy 9 today. Not as a farewell to the traditional, but as a wonderful celebration of it.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Design by Adrian

    I'd like to know how this performs on an iPhone 5, as the specs say it requires an iPhone 5S or newer?

    • RHess00

      I'm not too far in yet but so far it runs fine on my iPhone 5.

      • Design by Adrian

        Thanks, I suppose there are a lot of FMV-like sequences in the beginning, so if you can pass an hour into the game on an iPhone 5, it should be fine!

  • RelientKSoCal

    "I loved this game nearly 16 years ago as a joyous farewell to a series I felt was drifting away from me."

    How was Final Fantasy X "drifting away" from the old formula? Sure it was on the next gen console of the time and they added voice acting, but the battle system was still very much the ATB style of the previous entries. Obviously XI was an MMORPG and then XII they changed the battle system (for the worse IMO), but I'd very much count X as a "classic" Final Fantasy.

    • curtneedsaride

      I still need to play X and X-2. I'll probably get the HD remasters on PSN soon. Maybe if I finally finish IX now that it's in my pocket! A couple years from now, I'd definitely love to play X on my iPhone.

      • https://www.g2a.com/r/pcgames_66-_discount-html S1m8ad

        Oh,man.I beat so many times FF X that game become one of my life aspect.

    • Exact-Psience

      I actually loved FF12's battle system. This is more akin to Baldur's Gate's auto-playing turnbased system, played in Vagrant Story style. FF10 was definitely more the classic atb formula.

    • Shaun Musgrave

      FFX doesn't use ATB. You can sit and wait on your turn forever, if you want. I think Square's name for it was "Conditional Turn-Based" or some such. Instead of choosing actions quickly, it was focused around using the right character for the right enemy type, allowing you to swap characters in and out of the active roster as needed. I like it, but it's probably as far from ATB as any of the post-FF9 games have ventured. Other reasons why I felt that way at the time: no world map, Sakaguchi increasingly stepping back from the games, Uematsu talking like FF9 was going to be his last full FF soundtrack, Amano being booted in favor of Nomura, and what I had at the time perceived as a tonal shift starting from FF7 onward. A lot of that was also that I was more prone to being overly-defensive about my favorite things changing when I was in my early 20s, I think.

      I still feel like FF9 and FF10 form a line dividing the series, but I can see why more easily now. Moreover, I ended up liking just about all of those FF games that came after, so it was largely needless worrying on my part. I do miss Sakaguchi's influence on the series, though.

      • RelientKSoCal

        You know what's funny, I don't think I ever realized that I could just wait in between actions during battles in FFX. I was so used to ATB that I input my moves as quickly as I did in the previous games, haha. Other than the waiting part, it was very similar to the old battle system though, i.e. random battles that load in an entirely different screen, unlike XII where you can see the enemies in front of you and just avoid them, if you so choose (barring boss fights of course).
        I did not realize Uematsu was less involved in the soundtrack for X, I still really liked it. Again, comparing to XII, I personally feel there is an obvious difference in the music, not that it was "bad" per se, just not as memorable as the previous games. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Uematsu composed literally just one song for the XII soundtrack.
        I'm glad to hear you still liked FFX though, from the wording in the article I got the impression that you didn't care for anything after FFIX. Personally X is one of my favorites in the series.

      • Shaun Musgrave

        Yeah, much as I had set myself up to not like FF10 back then, I ended up enjoying quite a bit. I'd like to say I've learned my lesson since then, but I did the same thing with FF13, with the same result, haha.

      • Thom

        Really enjoyed your review and have a quick question based on your experiences. Would you say you had a good experience with the FFXIII trilogy? Aside from FFXI, that's the only nut I haven't cracked, and I have a history for coming around to ones I don't initially like (like FFX and FFXIV). 13 has just generated so much hate that I'm confused if I should even attempt it, especially in this day and age of 100+ hour RPGs.

  • Origon

    Great Review. I'm enjoying the game so far about 2 hours in. I absolutely love vivi. 😀

  • Brendan Charles

    Is it a good or a bad sign that most of my time so far has been in the card game?

    • Sebastian Gomez


    • curtneedsaride

      So good. Me too. I'm almost 8 hours in now, and have just visited Dali. I spent quite a bit of time playing it.

    • Retro Nug

      Nope! Cuz the card game is awesome! I just bit and picked this gem up an hour ago. I finished it back when it first came out, but I've heard too many good things about this port so I hadda try it out for myself and I am not disappointed at all. If only FFVII got this same treatment. Oh well. FFVII is still the crowd jewel of the series in my opinion. It isn't the most technically savvy of the series, but it holds a special place in my heart and it always will.

  • Rothgarr

    Funny how I keep thinking that Premium games should be so much better but I just don't care for either this or TWEWY, both very premium-priced games. But the Aralon games and Ravensword I was totally hooked on. I also find the low-resolution backgrounds very distracting, I keep thinking something is wrong.

    • Sebastian Gomez

      It's just a matter of tastes. Keep an eye on TWEWY and grab it if there's any special sale. TWEWY's transition to mobile is awesome. I miss the old pixel graphics from the NintendoDS version, though.

      • Rothgarr

        That's the thing, I bought TWEWY and I absolutely hated it. Another almost $20 down the drain. Games like these really do need demos.

      • Sebastian Gomez

        Yeah, many games should have the "free to try" model. I loved TWEWY on the NintendoDS version (but that was a dumped ROM) so I bought the HD and iPhone versions, even though I don't own an iPad. I'm sorry you spent so much money on a game you didn't like. Maybe you should have checked some gameplay videos before purchasing.

      • dmpunks

        I thought TWEWY was overhyped when it first came out on the DS. I didn't like it back then so I know well enough to steer clear of the iOS port. FF IX, on the other hand, was the best back then, so It's a no-brainer to snap it up on my iPad. I would have bought it on Steam had it not been strangely region-locked. (What's up with region-locking anyway? FF VII, VIII, and the Lightning trilogy are all available in my region but the others, like IX and IV are not. In IX's case, it's available on the Ph appstore so it's not a big deal.)

  • Modjular

    I always admire your reviews Shaun. You review the game, but you also give such insight into the design choices the devs have made. I hope they read this review one day, because they'd probably be glad to see someone who appreciates the labor they put into this game.

    • Abe Simpson

      Agreed, as someone who was introduced to the FF series via this game 16 years ago, it's wonderful to learn new things about it, great review!

  • Milotorou

    Amazing review, most of the flaws you talk about are spot on, but i wholeheartedly agree, this port is amazing.

    Oh and this FF definitely has the best soundtrack of the series, for me its the best of any game of all time. This is Nobuo's masterpiece.

    • curtneedsaride

      I totally agree! I remember when I bought the soundtrack, pretty soon after they released it on iTunes. And now that I can play the game on my iPhone, I need to make a few FFIX ringtones!

  • curtneedsaride

    Awesome review, and right on. I fell in love with this game when I got my first Playstation, soon after the PS2 was released. And it has been one of my favorite RPGs ever.

    To clarify a little about the cheats/boosts, the same cheats in Final Fantasy VII are in IX and located in the Configuration menu. Once those are turned on, they can not be turned off, so save accordingly. The boosts are located in the pause menu and include Trance, Fast Forward, Max Damage, and Encounters On/Off. The boosts can be turned on and off at any time. So, you could play at normal speed, turn on Fast Forward and Trance for a battle, hit Auto once in the battle, and be done with it in a matter of a few seconds. For those needing a boost in damage or quick leveling up, these boosts help tremendously and are not permanent.

  • boydstr

    The game looks really great but I don't like the way you put in commands and the AI does the fighting for you I hate this and that's the reason I never played a FF game why didn't they choose a twin stick steering?

    • curtneedsaride

      I would have liked to see the v-stick on one side control your character on the world map and another v-stick control the camera. But with regards to the fighting, that's always been the turn-based style. Sounds like you may enjoy the new Final Fantasy VII remake more than some of us who prefer the classic turn-based gameplay.

      • boydstr

        So if I understand you correctly FF VII is played with virtual sticks and what about the fighting mechanics?

      • curtisrshideler

        FFVII on iOS has an emulator overlay and doesn't have twin sticks. It is turn-based like the original. BUT the FFVII remake coming to PS4 looks like it will be more action-RPG. That's what I was thinking you might enjoy more than the original.

      • IainsTheName

        The FF7 remake is going to PC and XB1 too, just PS4 first 👍.

    • DuckingGold

      What part of turn based confuses you?

  • https://www.facebook.com/rossmanbrothersgames RossmanBrosGames

    Started this on PS1 years ago and never finished it. Sounds like this may be the version to finally beat it on.

  • mesonw

    Excellent review. The combination of port appraisal and a considered reflection of the actual game inspires me to play the original (I don't own an iPhone).

  • Shaun Musgrave

    Square hasn't done any of the FF remakes or ports internally. It's not so much a matter of trust as it is finite internal development resources. The internal teams have all hands on deck with FF15, Kingdom Hearts 3, and FF14's on-going development, so they typically farm out mobile/handheld games to outside studios who work under SE's supervision. Prior ports were done by TOSE (FF1/2/Tactics), Matrix (FF3-6/TAY), and DotEmu (FF7). This is Silicon Studio Thailand's first go at handling one, and as you said, they did a great job. Hopefully, Square Enix will continue to give this level of support to them for future projects.

    • fabell

      Super impressed you actually have those details on-hand! FFIX's port has definitely been the best so far, but the ports done by Matrix were also really well done, even if somewhat inconsistent. I really like Silicon Studios GC achievements, totally upfront (instead of the Hidden achievements which unlock through the story) and instead challenge you in non-traditional ways (like the 100 jump rope achievement, for example).

      • tpianca

        It seems to me he always knows those things in way too much detail... Sometimes I wonder if his day job is not inside SE!

  • bluechipps

    Deciding which games to uninstall on my phone to make room is the biggest obstacle for me 🙂

  • Gurney Halleck

    Great review Mr Musgrave, you've done it again! I just made the jump and smashed the buy button for FFIX. After following the forum thread for some time, this had caught my eye, but I have such a massive backlog of great titles that I was hesitant every time my finger passed over the buy button. I realized I will decide to wait until after reading your upcoming review that you had mentioned in the preview 'first impressions' article you wrote. I'm glad I waited!

    My ability to fully appreciate this deep and engrossing RPG as a relative newcomer to Japanese RPG genre is thanks largely to your detailed review. I have come to rely on your in-depth analysis and careful deconstruction of this genre as a guide to accessing the best parts of these games (I am still playing DQV as my first game in that series on your recommendation and after 2 months of pick up and play, I am still only about halfway through its content at 50+ hours and loving it!)

    I particularly appreciate the way you described the repairs done to the old 4:3 320x200 background textures. As this is my first time playing FFIX on any platform I find myself really looking closely at the background art, and thanks to your breakdown of the work done to restore it, rather than feeling put off by the "blurriness" of the backgrounds, my attention is instead drawn to well they have been restored. It feels appropriately retro and high production value at the same time. Right away I feel connected to the story and Vivi as a character. I'm only about an hour in and I am playing on my 6s, but I feel like I will be able to appreciate it equally on my iPad Air and look past the unavoidable minor shortcomings.

    This is the most I have spent on any iOS game since I stared playing iOS back in 2009. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. I'm still a bit blown away all the time that I get to experience epic full scale premium hardcore gaming on my phone.

    Thank you for the massive contribution you make to the Mobile gaming community. Your reviews and commentary are the primary reason I use TA as my go to mobile game review source. And why I will be contributing to the TA Patreon drive.

    Okay, back into FFIX for more RPG goodness!

  • soh

    Wow what an awesome and detailed review. This is why I'm on touch arcade.

  • http://www.unexpect3rd.com unexpect3rd

    playing this on my ipad air, the backgrounds are really horrible. Not sure if it's a fortunate thing, I didn't play this 16 years ago, I'm glad they brought it back on mobile. Especially at this time, when the next notable jrpg from square enix (bravely second) is only coming in a couple more months time.

    • Agkelos

      I'm playing it on an Air 2, and I actually like the background. It can be a bit blurry, but it kinda feels like an oil painting. When the more detailed 3D elements move against the background, it actually looks kinda cool. Lol!

  • Carlos Fagundes

    Congrats Squanix

  • Psac42

    I'm about 2 or 2-1/2 hours in, and really enjoying the game so far. I've never played it before, so it's not a nostalgia thing. It's just a good game, period! My biggest complaint is sitting around waiting for the ATB as opposed to just skipping to the next turn in initiative order, but it's not a big deal. I agree the backgrounds are a little jarring at first, but you get used to it.

  • curtneedsaride

    Awesome review, and right on. I fell in love with this game when I got my first Playstation, soon after the PS2 was released. And it has been one of my favorite RPGs ever. And this auto save feature really makes this port convenient!

    To clarify a little about the cheats/boosts, the same boosts in Final Fantasy VII are in IX and located in the Configuration menu. Once those are turned on, they can not be turned off, so save accordingly. The cheats are located in the pause menu and include Trance, Fast Forward, Max Damage, and Encounters On/Off. The cheats can be turned on and off at any time. So, you could play at normal speed, turn on Fast Forward and Trance for a battle, hit Auto once in the battle, and be done with it in a matter of a few seconds. For those needing a lift in damage or quick leveling up, these cheats help tremendously and are not permanent.

    • garbui

      Good show! Do you know if it's possible to duplicate a Save File and have one for cheats/boosts and one without?

      • curtneedsaride

        You can save in as many slots as you want (there are more than I can count!), so when playing your non-boost game, just save to two files, and then quit to menu, go into the second save, and turn on the boosts. The cheats can be turned on/off in either save game. Some people may get to a place that is hard, use their second save to apply boosts and figure out how to tackle a boss, and then quit that game, load the first save, and tackle it without boosts.

      • garbui


    • T. Hendrickx

      NOT using cheats in FF is what makes the game interesting. Though I do have to admit I have a little bit less time now than I did 16 years ago. On the other hand, I wasn't able to play FF on the toilet or on the train/bus or whenever your wife is giving birth to your first newborn and it takes up to 16 hours before he decides to finally come out...
      Oh god, I'm gonna have even less time to play from now on... 😞

  • garbui

    Excellent review, Shaun! I would note that the game has multiple optional bosses, each with their own challenge and respective loot.

    Speaking of secret swords, do you know if the new high speed or no encounter modes have any impact on one's ability to acquire said secret sword?

    I was never able to get it on PlayStation and hoping this is my chance.

    • Dragontears969

      I know that when you speed up the game it does not speed up the clock so that could make things much easier if you can actually figure out how to move properly with it at 10x speed or whatever it is.

  • Press2Play

    This is the best ff game for me everything I want about ff is here esp. the soundtrack.

    • garbui

      I still remember when "You Are Not Alone" started playing during my first play-through... chills...

  • Proanimus

    I didn't notice this detail in the review, but on my iPhone 6s, the graphics have been stretched slightly, but not the text or menus (just backgrounds and characters). The game window, while not the full width of my iPhone's screen, is noticeably wider than the original 4:3 ratio.

    I noticed this while comparing the battle load times to my original PSX version on a PS2.

    The actual aspect ratio seems to be a lot closer to an iPhone 4 than the original 4:3.

  • tpianca

    That is an excellent review, as always. Very informative. But I think it is worth mentioning that FF VIII is absent - so it is the only one now up to IX, right? Do you know why is that so?

    • Shaun Musgrave

      I think it just happened to work out that way. I suspect we'll be getting an FF7-esque port of the PC version of FF8 before the year is out.

  • Dragontears969

    The only problems I've had with the game is being unable to rotate the screen and I've had it freeze a few times on my iPad 4, which is especially inconvenient on the world map where I apparently have to save fairly often since continue only works when entering and exiting places. I haven't had any freezing trouble on my 6s but the iPad is nice since it doesn't have the side bars.

  • Mysterious Heroine X

    Pretty much on point review. I think this is the gold standard for FF ports from now on. The FF7 app looks like a rush job compared to this. This is probably the best RPG port UI wise on iOS.. the devs really outdid themselves. The autosave is not surprisingly the best new feature and I do hope the next ports SQE puts out follow this kind of quality.

  • Dk Banjawan

    Why i can't talk to the people?im tapping no response?im stuck on the engine room X_X

  • Eyelow

    Great article. I love this game because it brings back many memories. Especially the soundtrack...
    And I can't wait to beat Ozma's butt again 😀

  • Uno que viene

    I am tasting this port and it's pretty nice but i have a question: Have they fixed bugs and glitches that original FFIX (psx) have? I am asking about Steiner's Thunder slash glitch (that have 0% accuracy)

  • Von Strubel

    Sadly MFI-support is still broken after the first update since release, at least for Steelseries Nimbus. Awesome game and port otherwise. I am playing the very well translated und superfunny german version.

  • LarryWP

    If you do not like this game after purchase, don't expect a refund. They will not give you one. Not even an option! I found out in minutes that this is not to my liking and Square Enix only accepted my input, no refund option.

    • Shaun Musgrave

      Did you try asking Apple? 3rd party publishers can't refund App Store purchases. Only Apple can.

  • tony chee kian seng

    Can this game play or support on Iphone 5? I really wants to buy it but i am afraid of it does not support and waste my money... Thank you.

  • Nosnoj

    Does this game internet connection to play once it's downloaded??

  • T. Hendrickx

    Am I really the only one who played this game on ipad retina and experiences slow and stuttering battles and game-crashes during battles? Any one else who played on ipad and if so, which version ipad and what is your experience?

    • Shaun James Musgrave

      I think the App Store description says that performance isn't guaranteed if you're not on iPad 4th gen or higher. I had no issues on an iPad Air 2, anyway. Hopefully, you can still get a refund.

  • T. Hendrickx

    Neh, I don't need a refund, I love the game so much that I'll rather get myself a new ipad, maybe the pro one so that I can also get FFX whenever they release it.
    Thanks gor the quick response though!!

FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ Reviewed by Shaun Musgrave on . Rating: 5