I find most Square-Enix RPGs to be baffling in that somewhat generic anime way: as one reviewer puts it, the stories always seem to revolve around a bunch of teenagers killing Satan with the power of friendship. Throw in perhaps one of the biggest (or at least most complicated) crossovers in media history, and my head starts to spin. So it is with the Kingdom Hearts series of action-RPGs. It's been mixing Squaresoft's Final Fantasy mythos with more or less every Disney animated movie, plus its own impenetrable plots and original characters, since the first game came out on the PS2.
Ask any teacher or parent: it's awfully difficult to mix real, practical learning with conventional kid's entertainment. That's why those few properties that actually manage to pull it off, like Bill Nye the Science Guy, The Magic School Bus, and Schoolhouse Rock are held in such high regard, even decades after they've finished their respective runs. A new game called ChemCaper is trying to do just that, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, the first episode is now available on Android.
Considering the shortness of February and the general malaise that is the entertainment industry between January and March, it's impressive that Android received so many high-profile games during the month. And indeed we did: JRPG fans have no less than three new classics to check out, there's a new chapter of The Walking Dead for horror fans, and plenty of titles for more causal players to try. Below in no particular order, you'll find our picks for the seven best new Android games of February, plus a few honorable mentions.
Android is having a banner day for classic RPG releases. Almost immediately after Square Enix published Final Fantasy IX to the Play Store, DotEmu has brought the sequel to the original Ys game to the platform. Ys Chronicles I, an updated re-release of Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished: Omen, made its way to Android almost a year ago, and now the sequel Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished: The Final Chapter is also available. (Yes, that's a lot of colons and subtitles.) It's the second half of a story that was originally intended to be a single game way back in 1987, and DotEmu is selling it for $5.
The classic Final Fantasy RPG you've been waiting for is finally available on Android! No, not that one. Or that one, or that one either - it's number nine. This morning Square Enix published Final Fantasy IX, which was first released for the PlayStation way back in 2000, on the Play Store. If you have $16.99 to spare (and 4GB of free space on an Android 4.1+ phone or tablet), it can be yours. That's a 20% discount until February 21st, according to the app description.
What's up, Square Enix? It's been over six months since you brought one of your classic RPGs out of mothballs for another round on Android. Since you're just about out of Final Fantasies and Dragon Quests (or at least entries of those franchises that will run on mobile hardware), I see you've jumped onto the Mana series. The first entry in the long-running action-RPG saga, which was actually released as "Final Fantasy Adventure" for the Game Boy a bit less than 25 years ago, is now available in the Play Store.
Look, Butterscotch Shenanigans makes some pretty nifty looking games. They're all crazy over-the-top, vibrant, and brilliantly scripted pieces of art, even. You know, stuff like Quadropus Rampage and Towelfight 2: Monocle of Destiny. Or Flop Rocket. How can you not like something called Flop Rocket? (Disclaimer: I've never played Flop Rocket.)
Anyway, today, the company's newest game, Crashlands, is crash landing onto Android. It's also available on Steam and iOS, if you're into that kind of thing.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got another entry in the well-loved Lifeline series, a gorgeous top-down puzzler, a clever platformer, two tactical RPGs based on high-end game franchises, a boat battler, and a spiffy sci-fi endless runner.
I can't honestly claim to be an old-school fan of Shadowgate, because when it was first published for the Macintosh in 1987, I was -2 months old. The original game was one of the first dungeon crawlers, advancing the player from room to room in a text-driven role-playing game that focuses on puzzles over combat, ruthlessly killing the player if he or she makes a misstep or doesn't keep enough torches around. It was kind of like Dark Souls, but with a greyscale color palette. Shadowgate is simple by modern PC and console standards, but its intricate worldbuilding and devious puzzles have made it a minor classic in the genre.
Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD, is one of the most ambitious 3D mobile RPGs in memory. It also had nary an in-app purchase, something that has become sadly uncommon in this day and age of freemium. After two-and-a-half years, Crescent Moon Games has released the sequel. Meet Aralon: Forge and Flame.
Visuals look very substantially improved from the original, which is probably to be expected given how far mobile graphics have come since early 2013. The game promises a "massive" world to explore, three races and four classes to choose from, real-time shadows, first and third-person views, and dynamic day and night cycles.