Final Fantasy mobile games are BIG right now. With some of the classics being released on smartphones, as well as Final Fantasy: Record Keeper and Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius being heavily popular, this is a good year for Final Fantasy fans. Now with Mobius Final Fantasy, Square Enix is attempting to create an all new Final Fantasy experience to go with their other mobile games. Does it live up to the hype?
The first thing I noticed with Mobius Final Fantasy is that the game itself is gorgeous; it is probably one of the most beautiful Mobile games I’ve ever played. Just from the opening cinematic it is clear that there is a large scope, a large sense of scale in this game that is palpable from the very beginning. The music is grand in true Final Fantasy form, and the voice acting is just as well executed as one might expect.
After you choose a character name, you find yourself in the world of Palamecia, and are immediately thrust into a battle. You have no idea why you have awakened here, only that you must fight to survive. You attack the enemy by tapping on them, and as you attack you obtain element orbs which you can use to cast abilities such as spells or other skills. As in other Final Fantasy titles, there is a hierarchy of elements, where some elements are weak to one another while others are stronger.
Enemies also have a “break” gauge (much like in Final Fantasy XIII) where, when you deplete the gauge, you destroy the enemy’s defenses and deal more damage than normal. By breaking an enemy’s defenses THEN utilizing their weaknesses, you can kill powerful enemies with ease.
Palamecia is a world on the brink of ruin, doomed for destruction. You share the name with a prophesied hero who is foretold to save the world from total annihilation. You begin a journey, guided by the mysterious Vox, to prove yourself worthy of the title of Warrior of Light.
As you complete levels, each with a certain number of battles, you collect cards which allow you to strengthen your deck and, in turn, your overall capabilities. Cards enhance your character’s abilities, and you can equip 4 cards at a time per job, though you can only use one job at a time. Deck Building is an important part of Mobius Final Fantasy, as being prepared for a fight can decide whether you win or lose.
You also gain experience as you complete levels, which allows you to level up and increases your stats and stamina level. The Stamina is essentially the “mobile” part of the game, which insures you can only play for a certain period of time before having to take a break so your stamina can recharge. The cards in your deck also gain levels, enabling you to increase your overall power level.
At the beginning of each level, you have a summary of how much stamina that level costs, as well as how many battles you will need to fight in order to complete it. There is also a summary of the difficulty of an area, as well as bonus info that can affect the rewards you receive at the end. This summary will also detail the element types of notable enemies in the area, so you can choose your job and deck accordingly.
Mobius Final Fantasy also has a social element to it, in which (like roaming warriors in Record Keeper) you can utilize one card from another player’s deck in order to round out your capabilities a bit more. Some of these may consist of support abilities, which are classified as a separate type of orb than normal elemental orbs and are classified as Life Elemental. Status boosting effects (such as Barrier) make their return as common series mainstays, while ailments such as poison also return. After a successful level, you have the option of following the player you brought with you, making it more likely they will show up in your list again.
The Element Drive function is a new system that allows you to utilize element orbs for powerful effects. The first effect that you learn about is the “Element Drive: Heal” which uses all life orbs to heal your HP, which works as a quick heal if you find yourself in trouble. Life orbs are rarer than the other elements, however, so using them wisely is important.
Using any of the other elements in Elemental Drive makes you resistant to said element, while also lowering the chance to gain orbs of that element, enabling you to utilize abilities of the enemy’s weakness more quickly.
At the end of each battle, you receive a battle score which puts you on a leaderboard against other players. Better performance in battle means a higher score, and more skillseeds earned at the end of a battle. Skillseeds are used to unlock skill panels, which are used to upgrade your jobs. Skill panels may have things like stat boosts, or enhancements to things like how long it takes to break enemies. Some panels also unlock new weapons or stronger jobs, which makes gathering skillseeds very important.
You can hold up to three decks at a time, meaning you can have three separate jobs ready with pre-built decks. Certain jobs can only use certain elements, and certain types of cards, so keeping a balanced deck at all times is important.
You can use tickets to unlock new cards and abilities (by using Summon and ability tickets respectively,) as well as finding abilities and cards by completing successful battles. Cards can also be fused together in order to increase their card level, their abilities, and their skillseeds.
There is so much more to Mobius Final Fantasy than meets the eye, and it blends deck building from card games with the job system found in Final Fantasy games. There is also a subtle blend of the job board system found in entries like Final Fantasy XII though on a stripped down capacity.
Despite the fact that the storyline takes a while to really get going, I found Mobius Final Fantasy surprisingly addictive. The combat and gameplay is simple to learn, though the mastery of it takes a while. I also was greatly pleased by the fact that the game doesn’t scale in difficulty too quickly, so there is very little “Pay to win” involved, at least in the first 5-10 hours of gameplay that I enjoyed whilst preparing for this review. While only the first two chapters of the game are unlocked initially (with more slated to be unlocked over time, like with Brave Exvius) I can easily see a large amount of content available already, despite it being so soon after release.
I dislike the lack of a full party combat system like in other Final Fantasy titles, but the deck-building takes the place of that so it isn’t entirely upsetting. Another downside of Mobius Final Fantasy is that it is VERY taxing on mobile device resources, so playing off the battery will drain your phone’s battery capacity rather quickly unless it is plugged in.
There are very few other issues with Mobius Final Fantasy beyond the resource intensive nature of the game, and as a Final Fantasy fan I find it enjoyable. It isn’t better or worse than Record Keeper or Brave Exvius, but rather is a different kind of Final Fantasy experience altogether. I find that it seems like a mobile version of Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns, without the time-based mechanics and the overly stretched storyline.
I asked at the beginning of this article if Mobius Final Fantasy lived up to all of its hype. The answer to this question depends on whether you are a fan of Final Fantasy games, and whether you are a fan of card-based games. If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then I think you will enjoy Mobius Final Fantasy. If you need something to pass the time, and have the hardware to support it, Mobius Final Fantasy will do its job nicely.