The tentpole JRPG franchise for well over 30 years now, Final Fantasy has been capturing the hearts of both western and eastern audiences for almost as long as it's been available to them. Each new entry brings with it an entirely new cast of heroes, game mechanics, and story, with maybe the odd spin-off or fighting game variant sprinkled in for good measure. Because, why not?
It's a series that's become known for regularly regenerating itself. And while it's fairly easy to keep up with the mainline numbered entries on consoles, Final Fantasy on mobile proves to be a different beast. To help separate the rough from the smooth and your turn-based battlers from your straight action epics, here's our comprehensive breakdown of the Final Fantasy titles on IOS worth looking into.
Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition - download for iOS
A more than competent compromise for players without 30 hours to spare, Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is an abridged version of the console experience that swaps out vast landscapes for a more contained and episodic style of play. You'll get to enjoy a faithful re-telling of Prince Noctis' story in this cutely chibi demake version, journeying across the world of Eos with your party of bromanitc escorts throughout 10 short-burst chapters.
What initially came off as a weird experiment when it was first announced turned out to be a successful endeavour. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition forgoes the original game's button controls for a more touchscreen-friendly combat set-up that sees you tap to strike, guard break, and special dash when engaged in battle. This is a version of Final Fantasy XV designed from the ground up for mobile, and bar a few instances of clipping here and there, Square Enix's efforts were not in vain.
Play if you liked: Adventures of Mana, Final Fantasy XV
Mobius Final Fantasy - download for iOS
Without doubt one of the most graphically impressive Final Fantasy games on mobile, Mobius takes a lot of cues from the aesthetic spectacle of Kingdom Hearts, but still retains the nostalgic turn-based action. In it, players get to create their own amnesiac hero dubbed the “Warrior of Light”, and it's your job to restore peace in the tempestuous lands of Palamecia in a completely original story penned by Kazushige Nojima - the writer behind fan-favourite entries VII and X.
Mobius Final Fantasy comes complete with its own job system, ability card upgrades that are activated after acquiring enough orbs, as well as plenty of special summons to get your head around. It can all be a little overwhelming when jumping in initially, but scratch under the surface and you'll find a game pulling from franchise mechanics old and new that results in one of the best original Final Fantasy games currently available on the App Store.
Play if you liked: Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy Brave Exvius - download for iOS
A solid choice for classic era fans, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius plays out in familiar turn-based fashion, giving you the means to free-roam across a fairly sizeable world map that offers up plenty to do. One minute you'll be exploring dungeons, then next you'll be embarking on a quest given by the NPC characters that fill the nearby towns. But what really makes Brave Exvius good at scratching that nostalgic itch is the inclusion of Final Fantasy's materia system which means a greater degree of magic customisation.
Though a 2D sprite-based game, pixels make way for an updated art-style that sees every fight and boss battle in Brave Exvius animated beautifully. It all results in a game that, while not doing anything particularly ground-breaking, boasts a level of polish that makes this relatively cliché tale of two knights having to thwart the forces of evil a love-letter to the JRPGs of yesteryear.
Play if you liked: Final Fantasy VI, Bravely Default
Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire - download for iOS
A game that's yet again cut from the ever-growing tapestry that is Final Fantasy XV, A New Empire sadly doesn't do much for either the empire building or top-down strategy genres, even if its heart is in the right place. In it, players are tasked with amassing their own personal empire by constructing as many bases as possible, simultaneously fending off invaders and conquering other player's cities at any given chance.
Though it features all the familiar characters present in the main game, there's nothing about A New Empire that makes you feels like you're playing a Final Fantasy game. Noisy menu placement, grindy resource management, and repetitive tapping to build bases undermines any possible new ground this experimental take on Final Fantasy could have broken.
Play if you liked: Game of War: Fire Age, Command and Conquer
Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia - download for iOS
Don't be fooled by the ‘Dissidia' sub-brand, Opera Omnia might be a mobile take on the same crossover concept as its console counterpart, but it places the emphasis on turn-based tactics rather than straight brawling. Letting players form up their own dream Final Fantasy party from a character list spanning all generations, the game is a slightly more than a love-letter to fans thanks to a unique system centred around bravery.
It's this new system that proves to be Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia's saving grace, challenging players to pick the perfect moment to strike instead of going in all guns blazing. Graphically, the game is one of the nicer full 3D Final Fantasies, with much of the fun coming from seeing famous faces like Cloud and Lightning portrayed across one coherent art-style.
Play if you liked: Final Fantasy VI, Bravely Default
Square Enix is showing no sign of slowing down with regards to the kinds of Final Fantasy games on mobile. With dedicated games built from the ground-up to updated versions of series classics spanning most genres, there's sure to be something on the Google Play and App Store that's ideal to help you get your fix. Hopefully now you'll be able to do so with a little clearer insight.