Square Enix’s announcement of Kingdom Hearts Missing-Link earlier this month has certainly created some hype and discussion about the new title, which is set to enter beta testing this year. With that said, it is a spin-off game and judging by the looks of it, might be catered to a demographic which is more used to online play and modern gaming trends like gacha mechanics and such.
On the other hand, if you’ve been hyped up by this announcement and are looking to sink your teeth into some portable JRPG goodness from Square Enix, then we’ve put together a quick list of some of the company’s greatest role-playing games available for mobile devices. Contrary to most RPG games nowadays which are focused on keeping you online (and keeping your wallet open), these were originally released for dedicated gaming consoles – no F2P or gacha mechanics here. Let’s get started!
Heralded as one of the best classic RPGs of all time, Final Fantasy VII came at a point in time when Square Enix (Squaresoft at the time) was on the verge of going under. The game has since spawned countless spin-off titles, an animated movie, and a remake on the PlayStation 4 and 5. The launch of Final Fantasy 7 on the original PlayStation was a saving grace of sorts, introducing audiences to 3D graphics, new gameplay elements, and a story which incorporated cyberpunk elements, versus the medieval fantasy settings seen in previous Final Fantasy games.
While the graphics obviously pale in comparison to a lot of modern games, FFVII’s story and core gameplay mechanics hold up nicely. The Android version even introduces new features which improve on some key aspects of the game, like the option to reduce the time spent on levelling-up and grinding for example, and these do make the game more “comfortable” for newer players.
With that said, if you’re after a game which features a solid storyline, a loveable cast of characters, and an overall entertaining experience, then FFVII is a great RPG to look into.
In addition to the Final Fantasy franchise, Square Enix’s “Mana” series likewise takes its spot as one of the longest-running JRPG franchises in gaming history, and the mobile port of Trials of Mana is a great addition to that legacy. The game features full 3D graphics, not unlike what you’d see on titles like Genshin Impact and whatnot, and the addition of real-time combat and action gameplay elements make this a must-play title for RPG enthusiasts.
The game features a lengthy story campaign, a variety of side-quests, and even lets you play as more than one character. What’s amazing is that the game is a port of the console title, and it runs surprisingly well on high-end phones. You can of course tweak the performance settings in the game’s menu, should you try and run it on a lower-spec’d handset.
The brainchild of developer Tetsuya Nomura (who also worked on several Final Fantasy titles), The World Ends With You is a uniquely-styled JRPG which fits right into Android gaming territory. Originally launched on the Nintendo DS, this upscaled mobile port brings all the charm and gameplay of the original game onto smartphones – the touchscreen controls are a perfect fit, since the original DS version relied heavily on using the handheld’s stylus and touch screen for gameplay.
The game puts you into the shoes of Neku (who later appears in one of the Kingdom Hearts games), a pessimistic kid who has to fight for survival on the streets of modern-day Tokyo. The story certainly has an interesting element to it, and even echoes some “Persona” vibes at times (for those familiar with the ATLUS franchise). TWEWY incorporates different RPG tropes and mechanics and turns them into its own formula with a swipe-based control system.
If you’re in the mood for one of the greatest “retro” RPG experiences of all time, then look no further than Chrono Trigger. A collaborative effort between Square Enix and Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama (the character art looks REALLY familiar), Chrono Trigger puts a spin on classic JRPG adventures by integrating time travel paradoxes, alternate timelines, and all that jazz into the story.
The game’s set-up will be familiar for JRPG enthusiasts and should entertain newcomers interested in seeing for themselves what the fuss is all about, as well as veterans looking to re-enjoy Chrono Trigger’s lengthy campaign and gameplay, although we wouldn’t want to spoil everything for you in this paragraph.
The third mainline Final Fantasy game to hit the PlayStation after VII and VIII (which both took place in futuristic dystopian worlds), Final Fantasy IX takes a step back and reintroduces players to a more fantasy-styled medieval setting. You’ll play as Zidane and his merry band of misfits as they try and save the world from the evil Kuja.
Staying true to earlier Final Fantasy formulas, FFIX retains most of the overworld exploration, dungeon navigation, and turn-based combat gameplay that have been staples in earlier games in the series, although the storytelling and characters in this particular title take part in some of the most prominent JRPG moments in history. Some die-hard fans even place it equal to or above FFVII in overall quality, which should say a lot about the game’s legacy.