I like it when companies port their old games to the iPhone platform, even when the results are somewhat less than amazing. Aside from being the best way to convince your somewhat technophobe friends that the iPhone and iPod touch are totally worth buying, they also allow me to indulge in some pleasant gaming nostalgia during my commute or whenever I have a spare moment.
Even though I have played them both many times before, I have no doubt that I’ll enjoy playing through Final Fantasy I and II once again now that they’re available on the iPhone. Square Enix ported both titles to Apple’s App Store, now available for $8.99 a piece.
Now whether or not you’re willing to pay $9 for these classic titles may depend on how many times you’ve played through them in the past, and on how many different platforms. Versions of the games have appeared on the NES, GameBoy Advance, PSP, PlayStation, DS and Wii. Some of the newer ports featured extra levels and bonus content, which are included in the new iPhone versions, so if you haven’t played them lately, you might have good reason to take another spin.
The new iPhone versions also offer much-improved avatar designs and better sprites, though the story and gameplay mechanics remain unchanged. As someone who’s never not enjoyed playing through a classic Square title, I’m not too worried about becoming bored or being underwhelmed. By the same token, I know exactly what I’m in for, so there’s not likely to be any surprises coming my way.
I’m mostly just hoping that my purchase in this instance encourages Square Enix to continue releasing its classic titles for the platform. I don’t think it’s too impossible to imagine a time when Final Fantasy VII and VIII are available as fully ported iPad titles. And some more original content would be nice, too. Song Summoner is great, as far as tactics games go, but I’d love an original Square Enix RPG title for the iPhone platform that uses the device’s specific capabilities in a similarly innovative fashion.
A cursory attempt at playing the new games reveals some finicky, context-based controls that take a little getting used to, but eventually don’t really take anything away from the experience, though they certainly don’t add to it. As with most iPhone games, you do get the advantage of having the app auto-save your progress on exit so that you can quickly resume without having to return to a save point or something equally annoying. Like I said above, very few surprises here, but if you’re a fan of the series, there’s probably nothing I can say to either convince or prevent you from buying this.