Friday 9 September 2016

The Pros and Cons of Mobius Final Fantasy (First Impressions)

I've been feeling really positively about most smartphone games I've been playing recently. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius has become a new staple in my smartphone game roster and I'm also having fun playing Kingdom Hearts Unchained X and X-Tactics at my own pace. I was so ready to add Mobius Final Fantasy to my smartphone game roster and love it like I had all other Final Fantasy mobile games I've played so far. I had all my pre-registration rewards ready, I tweeted about it and I was genuinely keen. Unfortunately, being keen for something leaves you open to being let down. After downloading Mobius, I played it for one night, tried to jump back in the next day and found I didn't have the immediate hook I’d gotten from my other recent smartphone JRPG discoveries. This was (and is still) strange to me, since I thought Mobius had some very cool ideas in its trailers and I liked the idea of having a version of Final Fantasy similar to the modern ones on consoles on my smartphone. There are things that make Mobius both good and bad which set it apart from other mobile Final Fantasy games, sometimes to its benefit and other times not.

Pro: Modern graphics
Con: Not as good as console Final Fantasy games

Final Fantasy’s more recent mobile games like Final Fantasy Record Keeper and Brave Exvius both boast a more retro, sprite visual style reminiscent of older Final Fantasy games. In contrast, Mobius Final Fantasy uses a more modern Final Fantasy art and production style in the vein of Final Fantasy XIII or XIV with 3D character models and enemies, along with the text box being replaced by voice acted 3D story scenes. The production style gives a nice variety to the Final Fantasy games already available on smartphone, being the only modern Final Fantasy game like this available in the west.

The only downside to this is that if you're like me and you've played the modern Final Fantasy games, while the graphics are great in Mobius they don't reach the smoothness that console Final Fantasy graphics do. This is a problem that other Final Fantasy games like Brave Exvius don't suffer from because they use simpler graphics for the most part and save stunning 3D animations for the opening movie and summons. The art style isn't terrible for Mobius, but I wish they incorporated the stunning Square Enix animation that's usually on display to make the visuals feel better in quality.

Pro: Voice acted legitimate cutscenes…
Con: ...on my smartphone

I love and hate the fact Mobius uses voiced cutscenes. I actually vastly prefer games that are voiced because it adds another layer of immersion to the narrative and I think Mobius is no exception. What I do have a problem with is this on my phone. It sounds a little silly, but I feel like every game I've played on my smartphone prior to Mobius has trained me to rarely play with headphones (despite Final Fantasy's wonderful music) because it's all in text or I'm playing in situations where it would be rude to play the music or shove my headphones in my ears such as the small moments I find to play at work. Meanwhile, voiced acted console games have trained me to listen to them and enjoy all the cutscenes available to me. I treat Mobius more like a console game, but this means I require a quiet spot and some time to play just in case I stumble upon a cutscene by chance. I love the idea of this style of Final Fantasy in my pocket, but that's also time I could be playing a game on Vita with a bigger world and more story to find.

Pro: Complex gameplay
Con: Tough to manage on smartphones

Mobius features some very interesting classes that are chosen through making a card deck. This is quite different to any Final Fantasy equipment and ability system I've ever played and on the surface it seems complex enough to be overwhelming. In saying that, I don't ever think having a deep system in a game is bad, but on smartphones it is a little tougher to manage. The battle system is also complicated, but a little more successful than the equipment system. Capturing Elemental Orbs to help get better defense against an enemy or to encourage the right elements to come to cast the perfect Elemental attack is an interesting system that’s intuitive enough on smartphones after some practice and those who find it difficult can just hit the Auto button and play out a near perfect set of attacks anyway. I can get into the battle system but learning all of the cards, what classes they make and the ins and outs of which works best against which enemy feels cumbersome on my smartphone. Not only that, but the multiple small somewhat non-responsive (at least on my phone) buttons just look too overwhelming the get the hang in five minute intervals during my day. This is probably a more personal gripe, but it puts me off nonetheless for what seems like a decent system I can't get motivated to try.

Pro: An interesting story premise
Con: Not being driven enough to experience it because of other elements

Mobius may not be a perfect game, but I can't knock it has a cool story premise. The protagonist awakens with amnesia as one of the many ‘blanks’ brought to Palamecia. One of these blanks is said to be a hero and they all must train to prove their worth, especially since the city is being attacked by Chaos. The story seemingly will follow the protagonist through his journey to either become or find this hero, all the while training to become strong enough to be worthy either way. I like this idea and it does tempt me to one day just hit ‘Auto’ to play the story. I honestly just wish I was more motivated to play it, but my frustrations with the equipment system, the art and setting aside time in case cutscenes show up are currently keeping me away from it.

This is the first Final Fantasy mobile game that I haven't been jazzed about and despite my frustrations, I’m genuinely bummed about it because I wanted to like it. The trailers for Mobius looked great and there are plenty of good ideas in Mobius, such as the story and the battle system, but in its current form on smartphones it feels too cumbersome and with other high quality Final Fantasy smartphone games and with so many games available on smartphones, I feel the need to stick with what I know is good and worth my time. I say this now with great hope that some of the things I mentioned such as the interface with small buttons and even the animation will be upgraded or edited in a way in future that attracts enough good attention to it to make me come back. But for now, I can’t see myself playing much of Mobius in the near future in favour of spending that time with my Vita and other smartphone games, unless I hear amazing things about the story.

Mobius Final Fantasy is free and  available in both the App Store and the Google Play store.

What do you think of Mobius Final Fantasy? Want to sell me on it? (I genuinely want to like it, so feel free!)
Leave a comment below, send me a tweet at @JRPGJungle, hit me up Facebook or Instagram and let's talk!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Make sure to follow the blog here, follow @JRPGJungle on Twitter and Instagram and like JRPG Jungle on Facebook for updates on content and random musings on JRPG news and games. You're awesome! <3


  1. I appreciate your sentiments on FF: Mobius! It didn't catch my interest either. I was tempted to try it out, but only because Garland is a character in the game, but since I doubted it would add to FF canon, I opted out.

    1. Yeah, it definitely could be improved! I'd love to see the story one day but in its current form, I don't think I will for awhile. At least there's Brave Exvius!