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.
That's right, the original Tomb Raider sequel is approaching twenty years old. Nearly two decades have passed since players got to take a blocky Lara Croft back through tombs and mostly non-tombs on PlayStations and PCs. Now you can take the game with you in your pocket for the extra low price of 99 cents.
According to my Steam statistics, I've played approximately 162 hours of Just Cause 2, a significant portion of which was spent grappling members of the Panauan armed forces to lit fuel containers to make them zoom away like man-sized Roman candles. Avalanche Studios' open-world magnum opus seems to nail what larger franchises like Grand Theft Auto forgot years ago: the most fun you can get from a sandbox game is in blowing large parts of said sandbox to smithereens.
So it's no wonder that the sequel, Just Cause 3, is making waves months before its release. In addition to the standard shooting/driving setup and the unique parachute/grapple hook mechanic of the previous game, the third entry will give players infinite batches of C4 explosives and a wingsuit for even more ways to traverse the massive game world.
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 a platformer with Asteroids DNA, a sequel to Game Studio Tycoon, a casual game about drilling, a Square-Enix surprise, and a blank screen. Without further ado:
Imagine moving around a standard platforming game with the look and movement mechanic of Asteroids.
The once proud Tomb Raider franchise has been somewhat exploited in recent years with releases like Lara Croft Relic Run. There's the classic Tomb Raider game on Android now, but in the near future you might have another option for not-terrible Tomb Raider gaming with Lara Croft GO.
Back in April, Square Enix released the original Tomb Raider game on Android for just $0.99. The title that began Lara Croft's long-lasting career as a polygonal heroine came to Android with all the levels (and dinosaurs) players remember, along with the "unfinished business" levels. The controls aren't ideal but the game brought controller support and an undeniable nostalgic vibe.
Today, the classic title has dropped to just $0.10 on the Play Store. Compared to the already low price of just under a dollar this might not seem like a huge drop, but honestly at a dime it's even harder not to grab Tomb Raider if you haven't already.
Square Enix, listen to me: stop making Android ports. Please. You're really bad at it. All of these games, most of which are decades old and extremely expensive by mobile standards, are embarrassingly lacking in polish and features.
Take the latest, Dragon Quest VI. By all accounts it's a classic JRPG, and one that many never got to play in the west since the original Super NES version was only released in Japan. On Android it's fifteen bucks. It comes with zero Google Play Games features (no cloud saves!), has no compatibility with Bluetooth controllers or Android TV, and it doesn't even work in landscape mode.
Final Fantasy Tactics was an oddball when it was first released for the PlayStation in 1997 - ostensibly a member of the never-repeating (at the time) Final Fantasy series, the game broke from the familiar turn-based battles with a new isometric system that put a huge emphasis on tactical positioning and strategic use of classes and attack ranges. While FFT never got the attention of the standard numbered RPGs in the series, it became a sleeper hit, and the original was kept alive with a few sequels and remakes. It remains a popular game for PS1 emulators.
You won't need an emulator to play Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, at least not anymore.
Square Enix is always in the news on Android Police for good reason. The publisher has been actively releasing (or re-releasing) games on our favorite platform, even recently going as far as to commit to a mobile-first strategy. That's the case with Hitman: Sniper, a game developed specifically for touchscreens and available on Android and iOS starting today.
Sniper takes a different approach from its predecessor, Hitman GO. Gone is the turn-based strategy gameplay, and you're instead in Montenegro, standing in a fixed position in the shoes of Agent 47 who gets handed a series of contracts that he has to execute as subtly and inconspicuously as possible.
Chaos Rings is Square Enix's only RPG series that started on mobile, namely on iOS and then ported to Android. The series is actually developed by Media Vision and only published by Square, but it's hard not to see the latter's influence on thirty years of Japanese RPGs in the games. The latest release is Chaos Rings III (actually the fourth game to hit Android), now available in the Play Store for a hefty $19.99, thankfully without in-app purchases.
Chaos Rings III starts things off with a new story that seems only loosely connected to the older games, and a new protagonist who has an uncanny resemblance to Kingdom Hearts' Sora.