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Everything You Need to Know About Playing Final Fantasy on iOS and Android – Final Fantasy Mobile 101

TouchArcade Rating:

Final Fantasy. It’s anything but final, and there are oodles and oodles of games you can play on mobile. Sure, there are plenty of us who were there when the old magic was written with this series, but there are many people who have only dabbled with it or haven’t played any of the games at all. I thought perhaps those people might like a bit of a primer on all of the mainline Final Fantasy games and major spin-offs currently available on mobile, with just enough information to get you on your way. We’ve left off the free-to-play social RPG entries from this article, but if there is demand there’s always room for another one of these.

FINAL FANTASY, $8.99 The original game in the series, lovingly recreated as part of Square Enix’s Pixel Remaster series. Four Warriors of Light venture out to bring the shine back to the Crystals, a task that will take them all over the world, from the depths of the planet to the skies themselves. It all started here.

Play It If: You want to see where the series started, you want a smooth entry point to Final Fantasy, you’re looking for a relatively straightforward JRPG to play, or you enjoy challenging yourself with special stipulations.

Features: iCloud saves

TouchArcade Score: 4/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY II, $8.99 The off-beat first sequel to the series has become a black sheep of sorts thanks to its unique gameplay mechanics, but many of the story beats and Final Fantasy traditions actually got their start here. This is part of the Pixel Remaster series and has had some of its rougher edges sanded off, but it’s still a love-or-hate affair.

Play It If: You’re looking for something different, you’re committed to playing the whole series, you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy Legend games, or you want to see the true origins of Cid and the Chocobos.

Features: iCloud saves

TouchArcade Score: 3.5/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY III, $13.99 The final 8-bit game in the series and one that wasn’t available outside of Japan in anything resembling its original form until this Pixel Remaster. This one goes back to a gameplay style similar to the first game, but with a much larger world and a more driven story. This is the game that created the Job System that would shape much of the rest of the series.

Play It If: You enjoy mechanics-focused RPGs, you like exploring lengthy dungeons, you love job systems, or you had fun with the first Final Fantasy and want something more similar to it than Final Fantasy II.

Features: iCloud saves

TouchArcade Score: 4.5/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY III (3D REMAKE), $6.99 This 3D remake of Final Fantasy III was the first version of the game available in the West. Originally released on the Nintendo DS, it made a number of changes to the game beyond simple presentation updates. Notably, the main party is comprised of named characters instead of blank slates, with additional story scenes to support that. The Job System also saw some major changes that sometimes help the player and sometimes hurt. A fascinating alternate take on the original Final Fantasy III.

Play It If: You need your RPG party members to have personalities, you have a preference for 3D graphics, you don’t mind a stiff challenge, or you enjoyed the original Final Fantasy III and want a different spin on it.

Features: iCloud saves, controller support

TouchArcade Score: 4/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY IV, $13.99 For players in the West, this was known as Final Fantasy II on the Super NES. It tries to draw together elements from all three previous games into an adventure that represented the best of the series at the time. The Dark Knight Cecil embarks on a fateful mission that will change the course of his life and his very understanding of himself. A favorite of many fans of the series, this Pixel Remaster of Final Fantasy IV is a great place to begin for those looking for something with a little more story punch than the first game.

Play It If: You want a comfortable primer on what Final Fantasy is all about, you’re looking for a fairly linear RPG that won’t overwhelm you with decisions, you really like Star Wars, or you want to ride on a roller coaster of a story.

Features: iCloud saves

TouchArcade Score: 4.5/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY IV (3D REMAKE), $6.99 Final Fantasy IV has seen more remakes than any other game in the series, so when it came time to do a 3D remake on the Nintendo DS, the designers decided to throw a lot of twists into the game. As such, while this remake follows the same story as the original, the way it plays is quite different overall. It’s best enjoyed as a secondary play for those who are already familiar with the base Final Fantasy IV, but it stands on its own well enough. It features 3D visuals and fully-voiced cutscenes that emphasize the drama this game is known so well for.

Play It If: You want a fresh and more challenging spin on Final Fantasy IV, you have a preference for 3D graphics, you enjoy replaying games in New Game+, or you want a little more story background on some of the characters.

Features: iCloud saves, controller support

TouchArcade Score: 4/5 (REVIEW)

FF IV: THE AFTER YEARS, $6.99 Not many Final Fantasy games got direct sequels, but Final Fantasy IV did. This is a 3D remake of the original The After Years, which was initially an episodic game for Japanese mobile phones but made it to the West through a WiiWare port and later a PSP version. It continues the story of Final Fantasy IV‘s characters and world, with the main character being Cecil and Rosa’s son, Ceodore. Recycling as much as it possibly could from the original game in a likely attempt to keep the budget down, The After Years sometimes feels like soup that has been watered down a little too much. Big fans of Final Fantasy IV may nevertheless get something out of it.

Play It If: You really loved Final Fantasy IV and want to see the story continued even if it’s fan-fic quality, you don’t mind return trips to dungeons you’ve been through a few times, you are into grinding out levels, or you are fascinated by the idea of an episodic Final Fantasy game.

Features: iCloud saves, controller support

TouchArcade Score: 3/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY V, $13.99 The only Super NES Final Fantasy game that didn’t see release in the West back in the day, Final Fantasy 5 is also the most complex in terms of mechanics thanks to its versatile and deep Job System. It has seen its reputation rise over the years, with many players appreciating how many different ways it can be played. While the story elements here are perhaps not as strong as Final Fantasy IV or Final Fantasy VI, it does have plenty of drama and wild events to enjoy. The coming of a strange meteor coincides with the seeming disappearance of the wind. A young adventurer named Bartz and his friends must try to save their world from complete annihilation from an extra-dimensional force using the powers of the elemental crystals.

Play It If: You like customizing your characters in RPGs, you like silly humor, or you enjoy challenging yourself with special stipulations.

Features: iCloud saves

TouchArcade Score: 5/5 (REVIEW)

ff6 pixel remaster gameplay opera

FINAL FANTASY VI, $13.99 The series swansong on the Super NES took a hard turn towards greater cinematic drama while also notching up the presentation to an impressive level. Final Fantasy VI is considered one of the peak entries in the series, telling a gripping tale of a world on the brink of a war that threatens to destroy the entire planet, and a mysterious young woman who is caught in the middle of it. This Pixel Remaster hews fairly close to the original game in most regards, but with an impressive new take on the legendary soundtrack. A true must-play in the genre.

Play It If: You want to experience one of the best examples of the JRPG genre, you love a melodramatic roller coaster ride, you like games with moderate difficulty, you appreciate distinctive casts of characters, or you just like a great soundtrack.

Features: iCloud saves

TouchArcade Score: 4.5/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY VII, $15.99 The odds are good that if you have played any Final Fantasy game, it was this one. Final Fantasy VII was the big break out title for the series globally, and it’s easy to see why. While it’s no longer the technological spectacle it was when it first came out, its compelling story, fascinating world design, approachable gameplay, and quirky characters help it stand out even today. An elite mercenary named Cloud Strife is hired to help a terrorist group called Avalanche with an attack on the corrupt Shinra Corporation. Things quickly spiral out of control, and Cloud ends up getting more personally involved than he could ever have imagined. If you’re looking for a strong entry point into the series, this isn’t a bad choice.

Play It If: You don’t mind early 3D graphics, you like a twisty story even if it doesn’t always make sense, you want to experience the most culturally relevant Final Fantasy game, or you enjoy a healthy amount of minigames to break up the RPG gameplay.

Features: iCloud saves, controller support

TouchArcade Score: 4/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered, $10.99 While Final Fantasy II is generally considered to be the main black sheep of the series, Final Fantasy VIII also often finds itself the subject of mixed feelings. A young soldier in training named Squall learns to trust and love amidst the backdrop of a frightful war with a sorceress bent on the destruction of all of reality. It features some unique mechanics that make it not only stand out from the rest of the series, but the RPG genre in general. Those who are willing to study its design and figure out how to break it will find a lot to love here, and in terms of presentation it’s an absolute dynamo among PlayStation games. Maybe not the best place to start for new players, however.

Play It If: You’re willing to deal with any sort of gameplay in pursuit of an interesting story, you want to play a JRPG with relatively unique mechanics, you’re a sullen loner who wants some wish fulfillment, or you’re looking for a Final Fantasy game with a somewhat modern setting.

Features: iCloud saves, controller support

TouchArcade Score: 4/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY â…¨, $10.99 Final Fantasy IX had a very awkward initial release. It hit the PlayStation right around the time the PlayStation 2 released, and after the reveal of Final Fantasy X. It felt for all the world like an afterthought by Square Enix, and some people might still feel that way. It serves as a passionate celebration of the series up to that point, and things would never quite be the same after it. Artist Yoshitaka Amano was brought back after being absent from the previous two entries, and both the characters and the world they inhabit are quite fantastical compared to other games in the series as a result. A plot to capture a princess goes awry when it turns out she wants to be kidnapped. But why, and to what end? It’s a bit of a slow burn, but one worth sticking with due to its charming characters and deep story.

Play It If: You don’t mind a slower-paced RPG, you like more stylized and bizarre designs, you want a rather mechanically orthodox turn-based JRPG, you’ve enjoyed other games in the series and want to soak in some call-backs, or you want to see Square Enix flex the original PlayStation as hard as they possibly could.

Features: iCloud saves, controller support

TouchArcade Score: 5/5 (REVIEW)

FINALFANTASY XV POCKET EDITION, Free The latest numbered entry in the series comes to mobile, albeit in a heavily abridged form. Final Fantasy XV would probably be a big ask for mobile hardware in its original form, so Square Enix created this Pocket Edition. It stylizes the graphics, adjusts the gameplay, shrinks almost everything down, but more or less tells the same story. It’s not without its charms but it’s probably not going to be anyone’s first choice for a Final Fantasy game on the go. Take it on its own terms and you’ll find a game very well-suited for on-the-go play, and it could be argued that “less is more" is in full effect here with regards to Final Fantasy 15‘s story.

Play It If: You want a Final Fantasy game designed specifically for mobile play, you want a game with more action than turn-based play, you want to follow a story about a bunch of bros on a road trip, or you want to experience Final Fantasy 15 with as little time wasted as possible.

Features: iCloud saves

TouchArcade Score: 5/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY DIMENSIONS, Free Another game that was originally born on Japanese mobile phones, Final Fantasy Dimensions is an episodic RPG that uses the Job System as its primary gameplay mechanic. Its visuals remain one of the last remnants of the ill-fated previous mobile remakes of Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI, and the whole thing feels like it was put together on a strict budget. Still, it’s interesting to play a “new" classic-style Final Fantasy game. It comes off as a low-calorie take on Final Fantasy V, a deal that is far less compelling with the real Final Fantasy V on the platform.

Play It If: You’re a veteran of the games on consoles and want a new-to-you game, you really loved Final Fantasy V and want something mechanically similar to it, you like the idea of an episodic game, or you have some attachment to the mish-mash visual design of the previous mobile remakes of Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI.

Features: none

TouchArcade Score: 4/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY DIMENSIONS II, $6.99 In the fine tradition of the series, this sequel doesn’t have much to do with the original Final Fantasy Dimensions. Indeed, it’s rather mechanically unique in a number of ways that reflects many of the changing trends in the mobile market. It has a fun time-traveling story, but it gives up having worlds and dungeons to explore in favor of story scenes interspersed with turn-based battles. It feels for all the world like a free-to-play social RPG that has been turned into a premium game because that’s exactly what it is. It’s not a flavor I find entirely distasteful, and depending on your needs it may be the mobile Final Fantasy you are looking for. It probably isn’t the best entry into the series, however.

Play It If: You enjoy social RPGs and want a tuned-for-premium take on that sub-genre, you like time travel stories, you want a Final Fantasy well-suited for mobile play, or you love turn-based battles above all else.

Features: iCloud saves

TouchArcade Score: 4/5 (REVIEW)

COLLECTION of SaGa FF LEGEND, $19.99 Wait, these aren’t really Final Fantasy games, are they? The answer is yes and no. The Game Boy trilogy of Final Fantasy Legend/SaGa games can be seen as continuations of the gameplay of Final Fantasy II and share a lot of elements with that game. These games aren’t a great place for newcomers to start, but there’s a certain nostalgic charm to them. The relative brevity of the first game in particular may make it a good choice for those looking for a shorter RPG, at least.

Play It If: You want to relive the Game Boy years for better or worse, you enjoyed Final Fantasy II and want more games like it, you want a time travel story, you aim to attack and dethrone God, you’re slightly masochistic, or you want a fairly brief RPG to play.

Features: iCloud saves

TouchArcade Score: 4/5 (REVIEW)

FINAL FANTASY TACTICS :WotL, $6.99 The Final Fantasy series goes tactical with Final Fantasy Tactics, a turn-based tactics RPG. It features a dense, heavily political story that feels more grounded in some ways than other games in the series. The traditional Final Fantasy Job System is here in perhaps its greatest form, allowing you to customize your units to an absurd degree. Final Fantasy Tactics isn’t a game you play casually, but if you’re willing to put your time into it you’ll find a truly outstanding experience. Again probably not the best place to start with Final Fantasy, but one you’ll certainly want to try at some point.

Play It If: You’re ready for a game with complicated gameplay mechanics and a dense story, you want to play a tactical RPG rather than a standard JRPG, you prefer a slightly more grounded story, you have a fondness for flowery prose, or you like to roll around in character customization options like a pig in mud.

Features: iCloud saves

TouchArcade Score: 3.5/5 (REVIEW)

FINALFANTASY CRYSTALCHRONICLES, Free Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is an action-RPG that has always had a bit of a low profile in the series for a number of reasons, but this remastered version does it no favors at all. The core of this game is in its couch co-op play, and this version’s online implementation just can’t recreate that feeling. If you prefer multiplayer experiences, you may still find some joy in this effort. That said, it’s very different from the rest of the series and as such may not be a great way to dip your toe into the Final Fantasy waters.

Play It If: You simply must have multiplayer, you want something with a minimal story, you don’t like turn-based gameplay, or you enjoy carrying buckets.

Features: iCloud saves, controller support

TouchArcade Score: N/A (Not Reviewed)

Wow, those are a lot of games. Some of those reviews are pretty ancient by now, too. Basically, if you’re looking for easy entry points, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy VI, and Final Fantasy VII are probably the safe bets. If you’re looking for the best games in the series, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy Tactics seem to be the favorites. You’ll likely want to be cautious around Final Fantasy II, FF4 The After Years, Final Fantasy VIII, and Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition as they are somewhat divisive. Hopefully this all helps you get into this classic RPG series or, if nothing else, entertained you.

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