MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY (Free) by SQUARE ENIX INC is the latest free-to-play Final Fantasy title from the company, with the other recent one being Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. If you can’t get enough Final Fantasy in your life and don’t mind the free and social RPG aspects, then Mobius is a decent addition for your collection.
Even though Final Fantasy originated back in 1987, I did not start playing the games until they began to make Game Boy remakes of the classics, from the original Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy VI. These Game Boy remakes came out while I was in high school, and I’ve been a big fan of the franchise since then, though I have been rather disappointed with the newer series of games, such as Final Fantasy XIII and even what I’ve tried of the FFXV demo. Despite recent let downs, I am still eager when I hear or see any new Final Fantasy game coming to the App Store, so I had to check out Mobius. Plus, it’s been on my watch list for a long time, ever since it was first announced.
While previous mobile Final Fantasy stuck with the familiar pixel art sprites and visuals, Mobius goes with the more modern, 3-D graphics that the Final Fantasy games are known for these days. The game features beautiful animated cutscenes that explain the plot as you go, and there is full voice dialogue in it too. Even though some of the lines are rather cheesy, I thought the voicing was well done. However, while the graphics for the cutscenes are superb, the visuals for moving forward to the next battle are kind of rough. Of course, we are dealing with a mobile Final Fantasy game and not a PlayStation 4, so I am just nitpicking. If you can get past the fact that the graphics are not optimal to console standards, then it’s still fine for a mobile game. All of the characters are dressed outlandishly in typical Final Fantasy fashion, and enemies have their unique appearances. Animations are fairly smooth, especially during battle, but I did experience some choppiness every now and then but it didn’t interfere with the game too much. The soundtrack and sound effects are familiar Final Fantasy fare, so if you’ve played the games before, the victory battle fanfare tune will bring a smile to your face.
Unlike traditional Final Fantasy games, don’t expect any world exploration in Mobius. This is a bit disappointing, because I love the exploration aspect of the older Final Fantasy games, so I was hoping to see it here, but I guess we can’t always get what we want. Instead, Mobius has a world map and players go through the game one stage at a time, as long as you have enough stamina (energy system) to do so. Each level features several different waves of enemies that you’ll have to overcome in order to progress. Sometimes the level will just contain many small monsters, other times there will be a mix, or there may just be one big boss battle. No matter what, though, you’ll just be running headlong into the fight, and there isn’t any exploration factors in Mobius whatsoever. It reminded me of how the first 15 to 20 hours of FFXIII was, which I hated and couldn’t get past.
The combat system in Mobius is based on decks of special ability cards that you can create for each type of job that you unlock. The jobs follow in the old-school Final Fantasy class system, and you can freely change jobs as often as you feel like it, though you do have to level each one up individually. The cards that you obtain as rewards from battle represent a unique spell or skill that you can use in combat, and some can only be used with certain jobs, so make sure to keep an eye out for compatible cards. You can have up to five cards for each job, and cards can be upgraded or fused for more potent effects.
During battle, just tap on the screen to do a basic attack on your foes. You can just attack the enemies in the order that the combat system picks, or you can manually select your target to take out bigger threats first. For each of your turns, you can chain up to three attacks together, whether they’re basic or special attacks. You will be able to pick up elemental orbs from enemies after each hit, which fill up the gauge for your special ability cards. Once a skill is ready to be used, you can tap on the buttons on the side of the screen to activate it. The orbs you collect can also fill up your elemental drive gauge, which is the circle at the bottom. When this is full, you can activate an elemental drive, which lets you absorb an element to become resistant to it, and there is also a healing drive for when you’re in a pinch.
If you don’t feel like doing the work yourself, there is also an Auto-Battle button that you can toggle, which can be turned off at any time by tapping on the screen. And you can choose whether to be in Defense or Attack mode, which affects how much damage you take when the enemies have their turn to attack. It’s important to note that enemies have a standard HP bar, but there is also a bar underneath their health that indicates their limit break — once the red bar is depleted, you’ve broken their defense and they’re vulnerable, so take advantage of that for devastating attacks.
While one may think that the battle system is pretty easy, it’s also a test of strategy. That’s because before you start each stage, the level detail box tells you the element of the enemies, as well as what the boss battle contains. You’ll want to pay attention to this bit of information so that you can equip cards that use an element that it is weak against, rather than resistant to (fire is weak to water, for example). Each job also specializes in certain types of orbs, so you want to make sure that you have skills that can be filled up quickly enough so you can do enough damage in a short amount of time.
After battles, you’ll earn gil and experience points for both the job you are using and the cards in your deck. Items like Phoenix Downs can revive you if you fall in battle, and Elixirs can restore all of your stamina. Bosses will leave behind chests full of valuable loot that you can use, including special tickets. However, there is also a shop in the game where you can buy Magicite (premium currency) through in-app purchases, and the Magicite is what you use to buy more special items and cards. Gil is used for fusions and upgrading cards.
So far, I’m enjoying Mobius Final Fantasy because it’s an intuitive and fun mobile Final Fantasy game. The graphics are gorgeous, the music and voice acting is spot on for the franchise. However, there were some things that annoyed me. First, the tutorial, while it is necessary to explain the basics, is a bit too long for my tastes. And there is no option to skip the beginning parts of the tutorial either, and it forces you to use abilities and cards when you don’t necessarily want to. Everything also feels a bit convoluted since there is so much going on in terms of game menus and different options and configurations, so it’s rather confusing at first. I also wish that the graphics were a bit more optimized in the actual game, because the cutscenes look better if you look closely enough. And finally, the game never warns you that you’ll have to download a bunch of updates and game files before you can even start playing, and it requires a constant connection (Wi-Fi recommended) to play, which may be a problem for some people who don’t have a lot of cellular data to spare.
I recommend giving Mobius Final Fantasy a try if you have an itch for a mobile Final Fantasy game right now and just want something to hold you off until Final Fantasy XV comes out in the fall. And even if you aren’t usually into free-to-play social RPGs, Mobius is still unique enough to try, even for a little bit.
Mobius Final Fantasy is available on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for free with in-app purchases. It is recommended for iPhone 5 or later, iPad 3rd gen or later, iPad mini 2 or later, and 6th generation iPod touch or later with at least iOS 7.0 and above.