A fantastic iOS JRPG from the creators of the Final Fantasy series. Perhaps the best part of this game is the rather unique combat system. Utilizing a sort of rock-paper-scissors elemental strong vs. weak system and a skill and attack system that centers around choosing to fight as two solo entities or pairing up for increased damage (but higher risk, as attacks against one of you now hit both of you), it feels a little reminiscent of Chrono Cross.

From the beginning, you can choose to play through the game as two different teams, but there are four total scenarios to play, each with multiple endings and a New Game+ option. If you wish to do everything, it’s quite possible to turn this into a 60-80 hour game (I hit 43 hours after playing through all 4 scenarios and leveling all characters to 100). If you have an iOS device and are looking for a unique and only mildly complicated RPG, then this is the game for you.

It’s currently on sale for $3.99 to celebrate the release of Chaos Rings Ω (which I will be picking up as soon as I get paid again).

Enjoy my playthrough diary below.

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April 28, 2011 – 19:47Z
This game has been taking up 274 MB on my iPhone for several months now, but I haven’t played it until now. It’s a gorgeous game, considering that it is being played on a “mobile phone” (though who can really refer to the iPhone as anything less than an ultra-portable computer that happens to make phone calls).

I’m loving it so far. It’s simple enough to be perfect for “pick-up and play” gaming, but complex enough to keep RPG fans interested. I highly recommend it, if you don’t already own it.

I see no reason to spring for the iPad version over the iPhone version unless you just really love gaming on your iPad.

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April 29, 2011 – 20:05Z
The “Gene” system in this game reminds me heavily of Chrono Cross, where each time you use a specific elemental ability you become strong against it and weak to its antecedent. I love that.

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May 1, 2011 – 23:43Z
Seriously. Every time I fire up this game, I like it more than the last time. iOS is quickly becoming the dominant mobile platform for RPGs. I can’t wait to try Final Fantasy III on here.

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May 2, 2011 – 17:53Z
Finished the Escher scenario. That’s a pretty sweet ending, and not at all what I was expecting. Kudos to Square for creating a compelling and unique short story in RPG form. I’ll be interested to see how the story differs in the other scenarios.

Now I’m even more excited for the sequel and prequel.

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May 2, 2011 – 19:22Z
Okay, so apparently I finished the “First Door” ending for the Escher scenario. Went back and played through the “Final Door” ending. Also not what I was expecting, so kudos again, Square. In fact, both endings are rock solid in terms of making the player feel like they accomplished something, though the “Final Door” ending ties up the personal relationship between Escher and Musieia a lot better. Seriously, if you’re a Square-Enix fan, you may want to pick up an iOS device just for this game and its pending sequel/prequel.

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May 3, 2011 – 20:01Z
Eluca’s scenario is significantly tougher than I remember Escher’s being in the early levels. It could just be my desire to push myself to the extremes, however. As easy as the game got in the end of Escher’s scenario, I’m probably just not used to the difficulty of the lower levels. The story barely deviates from Escher’s scenario in the early stages. I’ll be interested to see how it diverges in the final Arena battle.

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May 5, 2011 – 20:45Z
The Ayuta scenario is HARD. I remember that Eluca’s scenario was harder than Escher’s, but I didn’t understand why at the time. While playing through as Escher and Musiea, Mental Wall is a skill that you can use from the beginning. It allows you to take out bosses quite handily, as reflected magical attacks do more damage than those that you initiate yourself. Both Eluca’s and Ayuta’s scenarios don’t allow you to have Mental Wall until after the first Arena combat. While this is not as critical to Eluca, Ayuta and Mana get brutalized by the bosses that focus on magical attacks.

Thankfully, I’ve moved past the first Arena fight and the game has eased up considerably.

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May 9, 2011 – 17:18Z
Ayuta’s scenario is my favorite due to the secrets of his character that are revealed during the course of the game, but Olgar’s has the best story of them all. The twists and turns and the way information is revealed as you play is fantastic. I can’t wait to play the prequel now, knowing what I do about the other contestants in the previous Ark Arena.

The only thing that I’m concerned about for the prequel is that it’ll be repetitive after playing this one. I’ve been through every dungeon at least 8 times and would prefer not to have to do them all over again. But, maybe the parallel timelines theory could allow for the Ark itself to be laid out differently. In this game, each timeline is only slightly different, allowing a different pair to reach the final battle, but if the prequel were to take place in a timeline significantly different from ours, then Square-Enix could justify a new layout for the dungeons.

We shall see.

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May 9, 2011 – 20:32Z
I don’t understand how the greatest warriors of each 10,000 year loop never reach a scientific sophistication capable of creating the Ark, despite having done so originally. Perhaps the Qualia cannot be defeated with science…

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May 11, 2011 – 18:36Z
Finished all 4 scenarios, leveled everyone up to 100, and took out the Qualia. Downside? The final battle was WAY too easy. Even going back into my game after to fight Piu-Piu was too easy. The bosses don’t level up with you, allowing you to walk through the game like a tank once you reach 80+. I wish I had challenged the Qualia back when I was level 50, just to see how difficult it was. But, it’s still satisfying to finish the game.

I look forward to the sequel and prequel, but I certainly hope that they’re both a bit more difficult at higher levels.

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