The Final Earth 2

The Game

Looking for a slightly different city builder to play on your phone? The Final Earth 2 is just that. A game developed by one person (Florian van Strien), The Final Earth 2 lets you build a cubical vertical city on series of small floating platforms. The game revolves around various building types and resource management – ensure you’ve got a steady supply of wood, stone and food, adequate housing and keep adding to your never ending tower blocks.

The game starts you off with some simple scenarios which introduce you to the various types of building and resource. There’s a constant loop of creating housing, ensuring there’s enough work and providing happiness boosts to your population. This makes for some pretty addictive gameplay in which you’re constantly adding and expanding your city. The various buildings synergise with each other, have a variety of upgrades and some can even be customised aesthetically. The building synergies will challenge you to think about your layout and you may find yourself going back to redesign and rethink certain areas.

Worth it?

A simple but effective game. A very clever concept with huge potential for additions and growth. There are loads of new buildings to unlock as you build up your city and various upgrades and improvements to purchase. The game is quite light on ads – there’s a boost option (for watching an ad) that will temporarily increase your production. There are also some ads in between scenarios, but other that no annoying constant ads or gatchas. There’s an ad-free version for £2.69 or a premium edition for £4.49 which ads some new buildings, creative mode and removes all ads – this is definitely a great deal and is an awesome way to support the developer. The game is better suited for longer play sessions when you’ve got time to kill, because trust me you will find yourself glued to it. The game only plays in landscape mode – it would be interesting to see if it could also work in portrait (resources on top, controls on the bottom).

Overall a very satisfying game to play for medium to long play sessions, lots of buildings, upgrades and new things to discover. I would definitely recommend giving it a go if you like city builders.

Tips

  • When setting a job priority – if you want everyone focused on that job up the value to “Max” – that will ensure all these jobs are always filled first
  • Build lots of stone mines and rock teleporters
  • Focus on establishing your basic resources before adding new ones – you need a sold supply of stone and wood before starting to thing about machine parts and refined metals
  • Don’t worry about happiness too much at the start of a city, but don’t completely forget about it either
  • Surround labs with 4 farms or tree plantations to get the most out of them
  • The Living Research Center allows you to upgrade all generic houses to a specific type of house

Useful Links

Grim Quest – Old School RPG

The Game

Grim Quest – Old School RPG by Goran K is a game that’s popped up as recommended several times in my app store and I decided to give it a go – I just wish I’d done so sooner. As the game’s name suggests it’s an “old-school” RPG game that focuses on exploring dungeons, turn based combat and purchasing/upgrading spells, skills and equipment. The game also features has crafting as a method of creating powerful buffs and potions. You can also accept and complete bounties for XP and gold.

Each dungeon is essentially a square grid – these vary in size. Each turn you can choose one of the adjacent squares to move into it – at that stage you can either encounter enemies, a random event or the exit to the dungeon. You are discouraged from walking back over already revealed tiles as there’s a good chance you will get ambushed. While navigating the dungeons you need to keep an eye on your health, sanity and supplies. I quite like that there’s no mana to maintain, spells are just based on a number of charges that resets before each battle. If you’re low on sanity your fears will start manifesting themselves into monsters that attack you; run out of health and you’ll be kicked out of the dungeon. You will also find various items that buff you for that specific dungeon run. There are a decent variety of dungeons, monsters and a great selection of skills and spells to learn and combo.

Worth it?

One thing that needs to be mentioned is that this game was made by one person, which instantly propels it to a whole new level of excellence. Simple/minimalist graphics combined with classic mechanics and a great amount of depth make for a pretty amazing mobile gaming experience. You can pick this game up for a casual dungeon crawl or run after run attempting to beat a dungeon boss. There’s an ad-free version for £5.49, but it must be said the ads are essentially non-existent – apart from a bottom banner and the option to watch ads for cash every time you return to town (you don’t have to do this if you’d like an extra challenge). Personally I do feel that that price is a little steep – if it was 15-25% cheaper, I feel I’d be a bit more inclined to purchase it. There are some quality of life improvements that could be made like an option to sort your stash or being able to see the spell description at the Alter of Oblivion.

Overall it’s a brilliant game with familiar classic mechanics, simple but effective aesthetics, customisation options and a huge amount of spells, skills, crafting and enemies to take on. It’s also quite a challenge, especially early game until you’ve got some upgrades and good spells. The game will keep you thinking – just one more dungeon, one more level. It’s great for both short and longer sessions of play. A must see for any RPG/Turn-based aficionados out there.

Tips

  • AOE spells and attacks are very helpful
  • Hold on to ingredients that can be used in the cauldron
  • Make sure you always have as many bounties as possible on at a time
  • If you have an item already in your possession/stash you can complete item bounties
  • Items can be used to buff yourself on a particular dungeon run (very useful for boss levels)
  • Always check the vendor for steel ingots or other upgrade materials
  • You can reset/forget spells and skills at the Alter of Oblivion (Level 1 spells cost 0 to forget, but higher level ones will cost more)
  • Reddit Guide for beginners: https://www.reddit.com/r/GrimQuest?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share

Useful Links

Horizon: Zero Dawn

The Game

It’s been a couple weeks since gameplay footage for Horizon: Forbidden West were shared by game developers Guerilla Games. With that you may be asking yourself if it’s time you finally played Horizon: Zero Dawn if you haven’t already or giving it a replay if you already own it. The short answer is YES.

For those who haven’t already played it, Horizon: Zero Dawn is set in a post-apocalyptic version of our world, where the earth is roamed by giant mechanical beasts and civilization has descended into warring tribal factions. You play as the badass machine hunter from the Nora tribe – Aloy, a woman outcast as a child with a mysterious past that is more connected to the state of the planet than she thinks.

The tutorial zone brings you up to speed with hunting machines and sneaking around the world, which are the main two actions that comprise the core gameplay loop. There are a variety of machines and classes, much like animals in the real world. Each machine will have one or more elemental types, vulnerable spots (hit these), and behaviour. Initially you’ll start out with a bow and staff as your weapons, but as the game progresses you will amass an arsenal capable of taking down even the toughest machines. You’ll have access to bows, traps, slingshots and some more unique weapons like the ropecaster, rattler or tearblaster.

Once you’ve completed the tutorial zone you’ll be thrown onto into the massive open world onto your mission – this is where the game really opens up and let’s you do whatever you please. There are loads of side quests, collectibles and challenges to keep you in the game for ages and as if that wasn’t enough, the game has an awesome photo mode which will allow you to tinker with Aloy’s pose, filters and many other options – allowing you to get the perfect shot.

Worth it?

Generally you can find the game on sale for around £10.00 including the Frozen Wilds DLC, which is an absolute steal. If you focus on only the main quests, the main game will probably take you around 20-25 hours to complete, but if you’re like me and end up helping almost everyone you meet or getting side tracked with collectibles and various other activities you’re looking at at least 40 hours. The game is a visual masterpiece – the thought and details behind every machine are amazing, the scenery, the landscape and the story all deliver on a both a personal and a big picture scale. There are some minor ease of life improvements to be desired like being able to pay to fill your medicine pouch, also sometimes the climbable areas can be a little hard to see, but none of these are really deal breakers. The size of the world and amount of things to do can be a bit daunting and I did occasionally struggle to find the motivation to finish it, but I was very glad when I did finally see it through to a close.

Overall the narrative, character design, aesthetics and gameplay will transport you to another world. The size of the world and the amount of things to do will keep you busy for days. Some fights will really get your heart going and the story will make you think about the world and humanity as a whole. This is a modern classic, making it most certainly a must play. With a sequel coming soon, it’s definitely worth picking this up, especially considering the low prices.

Tips

  • Get the machine override components as soon as you can
  • Choose your fights – you don’t have to take down every machine you see
  • Farm animals for meats and skins
  • Upgrade your carrying/ammo capacity from the “Crafting” part of the menu
  • Rather than trying to figure out a machine’s weaknesses with your focus in the fight, open the menu and check your notebook for details on all scanned machines
  • Use overrides to pit machines against each other
  • Use the ropecaster to tie down flying enemies
  • The tearblaster is incredibly strong at close range and can help strip a machine of it’s most lethal weapons
  • Aim to get the purple level weapons/armour as soon as you can, you can also have a variety of weapons to switch between depending on the enemy
  • The lure/call skill can be very useful when trying to pull a specific machine to a stealth area for a quick and quiet kill

Useful Links

Abstrrkt Explorers

The Game

Do you have that feeling that all mobile strategy games are just annoying gatcha games with loads of microtransactions to help you speed things up? Me too, but this one is something different. Abstrrkt Explorers (or just Explorers) by Abstrrkt is a free, turn based strategy game for android. The game is reminiscent of some familiar classics (live Civ 6) with its hex grid setup and conquest mechanics. The game is pretty much a fully fledged 4X game which lets you build, explore, develop and fight for control over the world. It has a campaign mode, single player and even a local multiplayer option.

The campaign serves as a tutorial and introduction to the game. It gives you series of increasingly challenging and complex scenarios. Things start out simple with a small settlement and 4 initial types of resource wood, stone, food and population. You need to build up your economy through farms, lumberjacks and fishermen or hunters, later on gold is also added. You can then expand your empire through barracks which you can later upgrade. This is where the combat element of the game is introduced.

The combat is a bit of a different take and is based around the influence zones of your barracks and taking barracks from your enemies using your units from your own adjacent barracks. The game adds a bunch of other buildings as you progress, including catapults, harbours and ships. All this and more is delivered in a nice pastel low poly style with simple and intuitive controls.

Worth it?

A beautiful game with a lot of depth. The various game modes will give you plenty to mess around with, the campaign has a lot of gameplay for you to get stuck into (6 missions total). There are 3 types of game you can run in single player (Fixed, Domination, Survival) and a bunch of other settings you can configure. There are some ads, mainly in between campaign missions or when you start a game, overall they aren’t that intrusive but if you’d like to help the developer out you can buy an ad free option for £3.09. The game has a lot to offer, but there are some drawbacks, personally I think the combat can get to a point where you are just trading buildings with the AI without making much progress and that can be a bit frustrating. It feels like maybe another dimension can be added apart from the catapults and you can only ever build one new soldier per turn per barrack. The research tree has a good amount to uncover and keep you busy and it could easily be expanded with new buildings or upgrades.

Overall a great game for short to medium length sessions, although the game definitely has that “one more turn” element that can keep you locked in for ages. The simple style and low poly aesthetics make for a very beautiful and chill experience. There’s a bit more to be desired in terms of the combat, but other than that it’s quite a solid game with various gameplay modes and even a local multiplayer option.

Tips

  • Focus on food the most (especially early game)
  • Try and place as many buildings as you can each turn
  • Reinforce your barracks with units – ideally build a unit every turn
  • If you set a barrack to receive units it will pull in units from all barracks which have the “deploy” option on

Useful Links

The Gauntlet: Roguelike Turn-based RPG

The Game

The Gauntlet by Cutlass is a minimalist turn based RPG. A simple, retro feel and a great time waster. The game is focused on combat over 100s of floors of monsters. You can also permanently upgrade your heroes or purchase new ones with your

You can pick what difficulty gauntlet you’d like to start, after which you select your fighters – initially there are 4 classes available and more can be unlocked through cash or in-game currency. The 4 base classes are Warrior, Thief, Mage and the Knight – each offering different stats and its own skill tree. Once you’ve selected your 3 fighters you are plunged into the gauntlet and you’ll start fighting waves of enemies. The game will cycle through your characters allowing to choose your moves – attack, defend, use items or cast spells. Beat all the floors and you’ll have mastered that gauntlet.

Worth it?

Overall it’s a brilliantly nice and simple game with a unique art style and solid gameplay. There is potential to expand on the game by having equipment for the different classes, more achievements, challenges or perhaps even some different game modes. Each new class costs $1.99 or 50 000 souls, which are fairly easy to collect from a few successful runs. This means there’s no pressure to actually purchase classes, but buying them is a great way to support the developers. There are also no ads, which is awesome. When you need to do something else you can just exit or pause the game and it will save your progress, convenient for when you’re out and about and just need something to do for 5-10 minutes. The game is worth a download, just don’t get too distracted because you will keep thinking “just one more floor” and we all know how that goes.

Tips

  • Use items to restore health/mana, also items are per character rather than a shared pool of items
  • Clear smaller easier units before focusing on the boss
  • Mage is useful against phantom characters, who don’t take damage from physical attacks (they do take damage from various spells though)
  • Knight has a “Provoke” (Taunt) ability that will make enemies more likely to target it

Useful Links

Civilization VI (Rise and Fall, Gathering Storm) – PC & Console Versions

The Game

There’s no way you haven’t heard of Sid Meier’s Civilization series (developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K Games). Civilization VI is the latest in the famous series and while the base game came out a few years ago, the developers have been rolling out a series of DLC and updates. They have also published the game on basically every console. I played both the PS4 version and the PC so I’ll cover some of the good and bad of both. Civilization V is one of my all time favourite games (I had over 1000hrs) so I had high hopes for this sequel, but I held off buying it until it came out at a more accessible price.

If you’ve never played Civ before then you have been missing out (and probably living under a rock). It’s a turn based 4x strategy game that takes you and your civilization through history and the ages. There are several ways you can win the game – domination, culture, science, religion, score (or in Gathering Storm – diplomatic). You play on a hex grid map and build up your cities and armies and take on rival civilizations, or build alliances and friendships if you prefer a diplomacy heavy game. You decide whether you want to be a peaceful and fun loving leader or a warmongering dictator that drops nukes those who oppose them. If you’re coming from Civ V some of the most notable additions are districts (specialised neighbourhoods) and a civics tech tree. It’s not until the expansion packs and DLCs where the game really starts to feel like something innovative and new, like the addition of Governors and Loyalty.

The game offers tons of civilizations to play as and each DLC adds more, there are also a variety of maps and game modes to chose from. This in itself will give you much to experiment with and keep you busy for hours on end. The base game in itself feels a bit limited, it’s not until Gathering Storm that the developers really made it something special and moved it on from Civilization V. Rise and Storm adds mechanics such as Dark and Golden Ages, loyalty and governors, while Gathering Storm builds and expands on that by adding climate change, disasters, electricity and a new victory mode. Each DLC also gives a bunch of World Wonders, new Civs, units and buildings.

Worth it?

On its own the base game really isn’t all that much – you’re better off playing Civilization V and all its DLC instead. You can get the Civ 6 base game (on sale) for around £8.50, and each of the main DLCs will set you back around £10, with some civ packs for around £5. The console versions will set you back a little bit more, but try and get them on sale if you can. When it comes to deciding the platform, the obvious benefit of PC (apart from cheap CD keys) is also mods – the Civ modding community is great and there are some really great ones out there – from UI improvements to entire civilizations, units and modes. On the other hand, the console version will let you play from the comfort of your sofa, a potentially very dangerous combination as you probably won’t leave that sofa all weekend.

It’s got to be said that the DLC method does feel like a bit of a rip off, there’s a lot of additional content which can amount to quite a serious sum. The base game on its own is quite basic, especially when you learn about all the great additions in each of the mods. The main one worth getting is Gathering Storm as it includes much of what’s in Rise & Fall, although you can often find the two on sale together. The console version I played (PS4) had some issues worth noting – there are issues with the UI, various highlights and selections are hard to see, issues with scrolling in certain menus, some of the functionality available on PC isn’t available and of course, no mods.

Another couple of the DLCs worth picking up as they add a good deal of new content (secret societies game mode and a civ) are the Ethiopia pack and the Babylon pack (heroes and legends game mode and a civ) – each of those will set you back about £3.99. With all the DLC and various packs you will have so much content to play that you will definitely get your money’s worth – there are potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay there.

Overall Civilization VI didn’t start out as the strongest game on its own, but through a few years of updates, DLCs, new modes and civs it has become a truly epic game that will keep you locked in for hours, thinking “just one more turn”. The console versions aren’t the greatest, but strategies on consoles have always been a bit of an odd combo and considering that – it does do an ok job. Aim to get as much of the DLC as possible (ideally on sale) and you will have yourself something to keep you busy for a very very very long time.

Tips

  • Enable the ribbon UI option so you can keep track of your opponents’ yields
  • Enable the yields UI option to get an accurate idea of the individual tile yields
  • Don’t accept demands from the AI
  • Selling diplomatic favour can help if you’ve got cashflow problems
  • Think about the positions of various districts and yields when placing cities
  • Placing a city on a luxury resource will still give you that resource
  • On harder difficulty there’s less point in getting a religion
  • Domination victory is generally easiest
  • Science matters – regardless what victory you are going for
  • Gold can solve a lot of your problems too
  • Use the “Join Ongoing War” option to help get other AIs involved if you feel you need support (and distractions for the AI) – sometimes they will willingly accept for 1 gold, other times a spare copy of a luxury is enough to convince them
  • Settling on fresh water gives you more housing, coastal cities start with less, which is why granaries and harbours with lighthouses are important
  • Read the wikis and learn as much as you can about your civilization’s bonuses, but don’t force them into your game if it’s not right
  • For tips for playing on Deity or general tips check out PotatoMcWhiskey on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/PotatoMcWhiskey

Useful Links

Evil Hunter Tycoon

The Game

Evil Hunter Tycoon by Super Planet is a mobile game based around managing a city and its heroes in a typical fantasy RPG world. The concept can be a bit confusing at first, but once you get your head around it you will be hooked. Essentially you will invest in buildings and create weapons, armour and various services for your heroes. The heroes generally do their own thing and will grind monsters and collect loot and gold. As the shop owner you can then buy loot from the heroes, it can then be used to produce items and services to sell back to the heroes at extortionate rates.

There are 3 main areas in which your heroes can grind, they can also complete bounties that you set them for XP and gold. There are various tiers of hero as well, so you will want to try and collect the best of them (Legendary). There’s a good variety of alternative tasks such as dungeons and boss fights. Heroes will level up from slaying monsters and completing quests, getting them up to level 100 will also allow them to reincarnate – this is the game’s “prestige” element. The reincarnated heroes will start from level 1 as a much enhanced version of their former selves. Reincarnate enough heroes and you can increase the “difficulty” of the world, this will “prestige” the world by enhancing enemies, their loot and your heroes.

Worth it?

Evil Hunter Tycoon approaches the idle and tycoon genres (especially with regards to mobile) in a very interesting manor. There are also some great RPG elements sprinkled in there. The game doesn’t actually progress or do much when you don’t have it open. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about this, but this actually makes it that much more addictive. Sure, you can probably leave your phone running with the game to grind up some cash, but progress won’t be as good as it would from active play. As you progress you’ll kit out your heroes with better armour and equipment, you’ll level up your various buildings and improve your little town.

The concept of buying resources and materials from your heroes as opposed to farming them yourself is a nice twist and while it can sometimes be a bit of a challenge to get an exact idea of what you’ve got and what you’ve ordered, overall it works quite nicely. Overall it’s a very addictive game, great for active play sessions. There’s no offline idle progression, but that helps make the game more compelling than most typical mobile idle gatcha games. There are a few “watch ad” or gatcha elements, but they are not at all intrusive or needed. There are various methods of acquiring new heroes, but again no need to spend real money. There is a VIP subscription service, which we’re used which offers various bonuses, cool down reduction and (perhaps most useful) is an automatic dungeon runner. Personally it’s a bit on the pricey side and I’m not very keen on these subscription based models for mobile games. The game screen can be a bit intimidating at first as it’s a lot of text and various options all around, but with some time (and by minimising the chat window) you can get a better overview of things. It would be nice to be able to sort or group heroes in some sort of way. The difficulty/prestige system ensures you will keep playing for a long time as there are a total of 8 tiers, each with an improvement in your heroes outfits, a “new” or upgraded set of enemies and more weapons and armour.

Overall I’d recommend giving it a go, it’s a good game for medium to long active play sessions. There’s no offline progress and you probably won’t miss it that much as there’s so many other things going on. The simple pixel art style is very aesthetically pleasing, it’s a nice twist on the typical mobile idle game and will keep you coming back (there are events and login rewards).

Tips

  • Hero hierachy/tiers go Normal, Rare, Superior, Heroic, Legendary – when banishing your heroes keep that in mind
  • You can upgrade weapons or armour from a previous tier
  • Make sure you’ve always got a bounty running
  • Make sure the Inn, Restaurant, Tavern and Infirmary are always stocked up
  • You can place an order for infinite items, meaning that any time a hero has that item they will sell it – for some things like linen or fruit this can be very useful, but be weary as it will eat into your finances
  • Don’t bother summoning Normal heroes unless you’re really struggling, always try and get Superior or better
  • Do dungeons regularly (they also drop hats for your heroes)
  • Don’t forget to learn skills and traits (whenever you reincarnate)
  • Leave your phone charging and running (with stocked up services) in order to grind some easy cash and loot
  • “Normal” dungeons start after the 25th floor
  • If you minimise the dungeon, don’t forget to collect the chest and dismiss your heroes, otherwise they’ll be stuck there

Useful Links

ABZÛ

The Game

ABZÛ was made by developers Giant Squid Studio and is an underwater adventure experience. Similarly to Journey, the game plunges you into a beautifully designed world without much explanation and lets you figure things out on your own. In ABZÛ you’ll find yourself swimming with the most amazing see creatures as you make your way through a world that seems just a little bit off, and you’ll soon discover there is something disrupting life in the oceans. Venture through different areas and swim with whales, manatees, dolphins, sharks and many many more beautifully simply designed animals. There’s no combat, just exploring and interactions with the world around you. There’s a few simple puzzles, but nothing tedious or stressful. The simple gameplay and graphics accompanied by a brilliant sound track make for an unforgettable experience.

Worth it?

The game normally goes for around £15, but you can find keys or discounts for around £10. The game is currently free on PS4 as well. It will probably only take you a couple hours to complete the game, but those two hours will be one of the most relaxing and compelling experiences you’ve had.

Overall the game is a must see, especially if you can get it while it’s free on PS4. You won’t really get a lot of gameplay for the money, but there is a deal of replay value as there are a few collectables hidden in each of the main areas. It’s also a great game to let a friend play through when they visit and just to watch as they experience the vibrant world and help restore the ocean.

Tips

  • Look out for the coral portals (they have an orange interaction pyramid above them), they are dotted throughout the levels and will add/release a bunch of trapped animals
  • Hold L2 (PS4) or Shift (PC) to hitch a ride on an animal – you can also take control of that animal
  • You can flip or get an animal to do a flip

Useful Links

Magic Survival

The Game

Magic Survival by LEME is a simple but addictive mobile survival bullet-hell(ish) game available for Android. The game concept is based and you (a magic being of sorts) surviving and ever increasing onslaught of evil squiggles. There’s only one control and that’s moving, everything else is automatic. As you navigate the world there are MP orbs to collect, these will help you level up. At each level you get to choose a skill (or to enhance and existing one). There are also chests with equipment dotted around the world. In a nutshell that’s the game and the core gameplay loop – survive as long as you can, while upgrading and evading the enemies.

There are also points that you accumulate after each attempt. These “experiment points” will help you unlock new classes of magical beings – witches, druids, shamans, you name it, they’ve got it. The difference between classes being that they start out with different abilities (the ones you get from levelling up). There are currently 24 classes to unlock. Whenever you pass a certain threshold on a map you will also unlock a new map with a different modifier or challenge. There are also different models you can pick from for your character, these will cost you points which can also be spent on permanent research skills.

Worth it?

Magic Survival is a very addictive game, perfect for killing time as most times you’ll survive around 10-20 minutes. There are some skippable ads (after an attempt) and you can revive for watching an ad. Other than that they aren’t very intrusive, I barely noticed them. There are a few purchase options – a 2x all rewards for $2.49 or an add free version for $3.99, both of which are nice ways to support the developers but not really required. It’s apparent the game has been translated and some of the abilities aren’t always 100% clear, but you can figure most of it out through play.

Overall I’d recommend giving it a go – as it can be played with 1 hand, it’s the ideal casual game. The simple scribble graphics make for a quite pleasing aesthetic. There’s also a good amount of unlocks, upgrades and things to try and collect/achieve. There isn’t much compelling you to return to it every day, but the game is there for whenever you need to kill 10-15 minutes.

Tips

  • After investing 2 points into an ability the next time it’s offered to you it will have a special upgrade option where you can “Manifest a talent” giving it a major upgrade
  • Ability Fusion makes things very interesting – this is a perk/ability that will rarely be offered to you upon upgrading, it allows fusion between two of your existing abilities
  • Getting at least 1 point in many abilities will ensure that you’re always using something and not a sitting duck
  • Purchase permanent upgrades/research between games

Useful Links

Final Fantasy VII Remake

The Game

Final Fantasy VII Remake by Square Enix is a brilliant introduction to the Final Fantasy series for anyone who’s never played any of the other games in the series. The original game was released in 1997 and made quite the impression. 23 years later the remake version was released. It keeps much of the original story, modernises the visuals and and has a truly unique battle system.

The game is a JRPG with “turn based” strategy elements in the combat – they aren’t really turn based, but you can essentially pause time and pick a move to perform. During fights you will be battle using your basic and heavy attacks to fill your ATB gauge, once that’s filled you can essentially pause the game and choose from a variety of spells and abilities to perform on your enemies. This system is quite rewarding, and fun to use, the combat itself can be quite hard as you block and dodge attacks and spells. There are some truly epic boss fights and monsters in this game, becoming more and more powerful as the story progresses.

The story is based around a group of “eco-terrorists” attempting to take down the evil corporation Shinra that is destroying the planet by draining it of its magical life force – mako. It’s set in a steam-punk(ish) fantasy world and you play as Cloud, an ex-SOLDIER – as you find out that means you have some pretty unique combat skills and are generally quite powerful. You are a mercenary, but you find yourself helping out Avalanche (the eco-terrorists) and cultivating your friendships with the key characters of the game. The game is rich with amazing side characters and stories all set in a detailed semi-open world (zone/level-based).

Worth it?

The game has a gripping story that makes you want to keep playing for hours on end. The combat system is quite unique, although it can take some time to master blocking due to the fact that dodge can be somewhat unreliable. There are some truly epic boss fights and the game is visually stunning. Levels are generally quite linear (except the more notable districts). The game is exclusive to PlayStation and will set you back around £60 on the PlayStation store, so you may want to keep on the lookout for better deals or discounts. Admittedly it’s only a year old and has hours of gameplay for you – with side questing (which I highly recommend), it took me around 32 hours to complete the game.

Overall I’d highly recommend the game, especially for anyone who’s never played a Final Fantasy game – it turns out there’s actually little connecting the various games in the franchise story wise, so this is as good a game as any to jump into the series. The game offers a good challenge, hours of gameplay, a rewarding and unique combat system, stunning graphics and a compelling story.

Tips

  • Always have Materia equipped so that you can level them up – they increase their level simply for being equipped in battle
  • Get the Assess Materia as soon as you have an option to do the side quest for Chadley, which is basically one of the first side quests in the game
  • Use blue Materia in linked slots in order to enhance or interact with the other Materia – Magnify and Elemental are two of the more notable ones
  • Always be on the look out for hidden chests and destroy any Shinra boxes you encounter
  • Interrupt enemy spells by using spells or abilities on them while casting (while they have a red text above them)
  • You can reset your weapon points/upgrades by visiting Chadley
  • You can use healing spells outside of combat

Useful Links