It makes sense that developers would want to upgrade their current iPhone games to the bigger screen of an iPad. So, it’s not surprising to see Square Enix release a slightly upgraded version of Final Fantasy III. What’s surprising is that they’ve released the game as a separate iPad-only title instead of upgrading the previous iPhone version to be a universal app. Oh, and it costs a dollar more.
There’s not a whole lot of difference between this version and the previously released iPhone edition. The graphics have been enhanced a bit to look smooth and crisp on the iPad’s larger screen, and the touch controls have been tweaked to accommodate the extra space. Extra space is really the main attraction here. The virtual D-pad will appear wherever you happen to stick your finger, which is a nicely accommodating feature.
Beyond that, the game isn’t as touchscreen friendly as it could be. In combat, you can’t just tap on the monsters directly, but must still run through the menu boxes. Combat is, by today’s standards, a primitive affair, but intuitive for gamers familiar with the genre. The classic nature of the game obviously remains the same as other versions. The graphics are quaint, though not particularly impressive, but the game itself is a lengthy and engaging quest.
The flaws from the iPhone version remain firmly intact here. There’s still no option to truly save your game at any time, so newcomers will be hard-pressed to get through just the first dungeon without an overt amount of trial and error. The price is high for an iOS game as well. Granted, these versions are still cheaper than the Nintendo DS or PSP iterations of Final Fantasy titles. For a console game, the price is actually a bargain, considering the sheer volume of gameplay.
That said, this isn’t console land, and the RPG genre is one that the iPhone and iPad can do very well. Since most new and more technically-advanced iOS games cost less than five bucks, Square Enix has put this revamp at a distinct disadvantage for anyone other than the most ardent fans of JRPGs.
Editor’s Note: This review only covers the content exclusive to the iPad version of this game. For the full game review, click here.