Final Fantasy III had never reached international shores until it was released on the Nintendo DS back in 2006. The game was a complete remake of the 1990 Famicom classic, and now five years later, Square Enix has released it again but this time for iOS platforms. The game will set you back $15.99 and is a slightly enhanced version of the DS version with Retina Display support and better textures. If you haven’t had a chance to play Final Fantasy III yet, then this version is for you.
If you’re unfamiliar with classic Final Fantasy games, be prepared for random encounters and lots of tough battles. The game takes place on a floating continent and your four Warriors of Light are on a mission to restore balance to their world after it was plagued by dark forces. You will travel to different towns, through dungeons, and cross the vast overworld continent on foot, by boat, and by airship. Your adventure is huge. Just be prepared to use lots of Phoenix Downs.
This isn’t your little sister’s RPG either. The game has a very classic RPG feel to it, so that means it’s very difficult, especially in the later levels which have very few save spots. But, you do get an autosave feature and app-switching abilities that pause your game if you need to take a call or get on with your life.
Like most Final Fantasy games, your party of characters each has his or own unique abilities. You will always have the same four characters in your party, but the game has a deep job system that lets you change their jobs at will. This means, your character can specialize in being a Black Mage, a Warrior, or a Geomancer, for example, and then if you feel like it, you can give him an entirely different job. There are lots of jobs to choose from and more advanced ones get unlocked as you play through the game.
The touch-based controls are great during battles since all you need to do is tap your command and then tap your target on the battlefield. You still get the same battles as you do on the DS version, but because the iPhone doesn’t have a d-pad, everything is touch-based. You can tap and drag your finger anywhere on the screen to bring up a smooth joystick to navigate your characters and you can also zoom in anywhere you want.
Many of the original DS’s graphics have been enhanced so they look much smoother and more detailed. You will definitely notice the detail in some places, but in others that haven’t been redone, you will notice the difference as well. Regardless, Retina Display makes the game shine and look brand new. The graphics seen on Final Fantasy III may not be the best an iOS title is capable of, but they’re pretty darn good.
With over 30 hours of gameplay in the palm of your hands, Final Fantasy III is a great game any fan of classic RPGs should play. The only downside to it is that it might frustrate casual RPG players since the difficulty gets jacked up during the final levels. For those who think its price is too steep, just think about it for a minute. You’re getting an enhanced version of a Nintendo DS game that looks a lot prettier and plays a lot more smoothly.
Final Fantasy III is currently available for iPhone and iPod Touch. It will be available on the iPad next month.
A copy of Final Fantasy III for iOS was provided to us for this review.