02
Nov
trigger1

If you were a gamer in the 90s, there was a good chance you either owned or had played a Super Nintendo. While the debate still rages on about whether that machine or the Sega Genesis was superior, it can be safely stated that the SNES had some amazing role-playing titles.

Chief among these was Chrono Trigger, a game by a group of developers so storied that they were labeled a "Dream Team." The game was one of many titles (Final Fantasy VI, Earthbound, Super Mario RPG) that helped further the genre and leave a lasting impression on gaming as a whole. Cartridges became as valuable as gold until the era of digital distribution made it easier to get a copy - and now, on the Google Play store, you can pick up Chrono Trigger for your tablet or phone.

trigger2

2012-10-29 18.58.09 2012-10-29 18.59.57 2012-10-29 19.00.17

Nostalgia Bomb

My first experience with Chrono Trigger was an emulator on a terrible, terrible computer. While that PC couldn't do much in the way of modern titles, these emulated, older ones ran well enough that I could play some of the games I had only read about in Nintendo Power magazine.

Chrono Trigger was one of those games, and it was simply magical. So much can be said about the quality of story, sound, controls, and depth that it's almost not worth stating in this review: if the game wasn't good, there wouldn't be multiple ports of it. This port is a copy of the 2010 version that was released for the Nintendo DS, which came with an extra dungeon, items, and cutscenes.

It remains a faithful adaptation, even if the controls have been modified for a touch environment. This sets it apart from, say, running Chrono Trigger less-than-legally on an Android SNES Emulator. The menus are optimized for touch controls, and the presence of an on-screen joystick keeps the things manageable - with an emulator you'll often find the on-screen d-pad does not handle diagonal movements (or simultaneous presses) well. You'll find none of those problems here.

Instead, you'll have to spend some time getting used to some other quibbles. Specifically, the joystick appears wherever you press on-screen; while this is great for left-handed gamers, it poses a problem when that joystick is created too close to the edge of the screen. Trying to trigger a "run" command and not being able to move the joystick far enough away from its center point is frustrating.

There's also an issue when it comes to targeting individual monsters. Since time is of the essence (curse you, Active Battle System!) it's a bit annoying to have enemies wail on you while you try to hit the tiny "switch targets" button. Throw in a boss that heals everything the moment you attack the wrong body part, and you'll be frustrated more than once.

2012-10-29 22.53.56 2012-10-29 19.02.11 2012-10-29 22.14.24

So Why Play It On Android?

To be frank, for those of you wondering why you should shell out ten bucks for this game, there are a couple things you need to wrap your head around:

  1. The game's optimization for touch screens eliminates a lot of the hassle that you would face trying to fake it with an emulator.
  2. Because of the that, you're inclined to play it for a longer period of time. When an average playthrough can easily eclipse 30 hours, this is important.
  3. The game's adaptation is flawless, and the only major loading issues come at major story intersections - you'll need to download a portion of the game every time, but it saves you from a huge extra file at the beginning.
  4. On a Nexus 7, the game doesn't fill up the whole screen (see my screenshots), but it remains visually appealing and doesn't abuse the sprites. The game looks just as beautiful.
  5. Ten dollars for a game that used to be $60 (or more, if you were hunting down a cartridge) is chump change. If you are an RPG fan, Chrono Trigger is one of the best experiences you can treat yourself to.

Quite frankly, this is the first port of a prior hit that I've actually wanted to play for an extended period of time. Besides the odd targeting issue, I'm not thinking "well, why don't I connect my Xbox 360 controller to an emulator and play this with real buttons?"; instead, I'm actually enjoying myself, whipping my tablet out to beat a boss over lunch at work, or enjoying the game's awesome soundtrack while I wait for dinner to cook.

It's one of the best games of all time in a convenient form with all the things that made it great intact. I'm not sure you can get better than that.

2012-10-30 14.34.32 2012-10-29 22.54.16 2012-10-30 01.49.21

Matt Demers
Matt Demers is a Toronto writer that deals primarily in the area of Android, comics and other nerdy pursuits. You can find his work on Twitter and sites across the Internet.

  • http://about.me/jason.johnson JJ

    Great review, and the best $10 I've spent in the market to date. Loving it on my N7!

    • http://www.facebook.com/francois.roy.3958 Francois Roy

      Do yourself a favor and put 3$ on The Bard's Tale

      • http://about.me/jason.johnson JJ

        Thanks for the recommendation! I'll check it out.

  • Tim Peyton

    So does the game have controller support? If so is it DirectInput, Xinput, or both?

    • Sergii Pylypenko

      DirectInput on Android? That's something I must have missed from the developer documentation.

  • Benjamin LE CUN

    It's not downloadable on my Nexus 7 from the play store ( says device is not compatible ). How did you do that ?

    • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

      Sideloading by downloading on a phone and transfering the apk on the tablet is a viable option.

      The games that have Market-checks will check that your google account is valid to play the game, so it won't trigger the drm check :-)

      • Benjamin LE CUN

        Good trick, thanks Juan ;)

    • Timothy Bess

      I was able to download it on my Nexus 7 right when it came out. It had some ridiculous lag though, so maybe they labeled it as incompatible until they fix the lag issues.

  • Rune

    The play store says both my devices are not compatible. I got a nexus 7and a galaxy s3

    • http://about.me/jason.johnson JJ

      Absolutely bizarre. I bought it on my Nexus 7 a few days ago no problem. I just checked on my Galaxy S3, and sure enough, it says not compatible also. As Timothy Bess speculated below in the comments, maybe they're fixing some issues (though I haven't noticed any lag on my N7 myself).

      • Justin Swanson

        I think they dropped support for all tablets while they fix it.

  • Shaun McCarthy

    Same here, it's saying it's incompatible with all my devices, Nexus 7 included

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    It's $15 in my location :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1248775127 Felipe Blanche

    Amazing game, the best snes game for me. I played it a few months ago on my phone with a snes emulator, It was so nostalgic

  • Mapplegate

    Doesn't work on either my HTC Evo 3D or my Asus Transformer Prime :(

  • http://twitter.com/RemingtonDDS Anjuh

    not compatible with my HTC EVO 4G LTE. Thanks HTC for making a phone that is as well supported as a bra less Dolly Parton.

    • Ryan

      That would be Chrono Trigger's fault for not supporting your phone. HTC has nothing to do with it

      • Justin Swanson

        Don't blame Chrono Trigger! It's SquareEnix :P

  • troph

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj4Pr3mk5As

    For any Chrono fans out there, your welcome :)

    • meh

      Meh. The recording isn't so great. In the first 5 seconds alone I found myself cringing at the piercing wail of her violin. Not to mention the out of tune notes here and there and the fact that she's rushing some of the rhythms...Practice more!

      • Roman Cruz

        yeah, girl needs a metronome.

  • http://twitter.com/cholepuree Jay Shah

    Love this on the note 2! My 1st entry into RPG's such a long time ago. And the soundtrack... Yasunori Mitsuda is awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/francois.roy.3958 Francois Roy

    10-15$ for a game I first bought 17 years ago?!?!
    (Even still have that cartridge somewhere)

    What's wrong with them?
    I will gladly sideload whatever they release as long as they sell them so high.

  • http://emoutrocastelo.com/ Maximus Decimus

    I could not download the extra data on my Transformer TF101, since the screen is weirdly placed and scaled, and the bottom half is missing (where the download button is). Still waiting for SQEnix to fix that

  • Nick

    in regards to the difficulty surrounding switching targets: if it's anything like the iOS version, you should be able to swipe left and right to target different enemies (or body parts on a boss). it took me a while to figure that out, but once I did, the game got a lot better.

    • Justin Swanson

      I was going to say that I thought it worked that way. I would also mention you have to be connected to play (which irks a lot of people)

  • jasopan

    Might get this in the future, I'm half way through playing it with an emulator and it's ridiculously fun! (first time) Controls work perfectly

  • Dennis Sinclair Sr.

    Loved playing this back in the day!

  • http://www.facebook.com/scott.burgeson Scott Burgeson

    You might want to mention that this game has over 100 one star reviews because it isn't working on most tablets. It fills only the lower left corner of the screen on all Asus tablets as well as the Xoom tablets. I have yet to see a positive review from a tablet user. Also game on is not compatible with the sgs3 which is just crazy.

  • mechapathy

    Yeah, I paid $90 for a cart in 2001. My New Game+ is insane. But I bought this version too, and I'm starting from scratch again. I just love this game. The story, the character design. And the music. Good god, the music.

  • http://twitter.com/havens1515 Randroid

    As a note... you can change targets and navigate the battle system by using the touch and drag that is used to move the characters, instead of the tiny "switch targets" button. That makes it a lot quicker and easier to control, but it still gets annoying at times. Especially when it scrolls too far, or you drag so quickly that it registers as a touch instead of a drag.
    Overall though, I've enjoyed it so far. Haven't gotten to any of the additional content yet, but I do have over 14 hours of play time logged already :-)

  • Ricardo Camarinho

    I have an Asus Transformer Tf101 and the game runs smothly. But there are sprite problems mainly while entering the domes "in the future" where all you can see is the Fog... same thing happened in other domes.. :(
    I really love the game, but this error renders the game inoperable!

  • Dominic Scatto

    Not compatible with my SGS3, but works on my old NS4G (which I don't have anymore)?! Makes no sense, but I wants it!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Patricio Andrés Pino Castillo

    Any ideas of how to run it on a Galaxy Tab 10.1? It displays on the corner but the buttons don't appear :-/

    • http://www.facebook.com/hughiep Hughie Purcell

      Same problem here, I've emailed square enix, I'll let you know what I find out.

  • David Blaine Leacy

    Not great. The controls are sub standard and I would prefer a basic dpad and buttons than tiny little buttons(even on my note 3) that are a pain to press. You will also be forced to turn run off as you will continually over shoot the npc or item. The game runs on but honestly it seems far better when I played it with an emulator and I could save at any time with the emulator even during a fight. Some I feel is more important for a device that is mainly for quick short bursts not long hours of game play.