Final Fantasy III is an old school Final Fantasy game that was never released outside of Japan until Square Enix announced its arrival on the Nintendo DS in 2006. Fast forward to 2011 and Square Enix is giving fans another chance to experience the classic title, this time around on the Apple iPod Touch/iPhone.
The story revolves around four orphans in the village of Ur after an earthquake erupts and opens up a hidden cave. Each of the orphans are granted a small portion of power from a crystal light and are told to restore the balance of the world by seeking out the others who were also granted this power. You take control of Luneth, a daring but adventurous lad who teams up with Arc, his best friend, Refia, the rebellious daughter of a blacksmith in the village of Kazus, and Ingus, a solder in King Sasune’s army.
Battles are turn based for which all characters start with the Freelancer job. The game allows you to switch jobs or classes throughout the game that include Warrior, Monk, White, Black or Red Mage, Thief, Ranger, Knight, Scholar, Ninja, Sage, Summoner and many more. Battle Commands vary depending on the job, but the standard Attack, Magic, Guard and Item are available. Typical battle encounters include preemptive attacks, back attacks and regular random encounters. You can position your characters between the front and back row and if you decide to change jobs, it will consume capacity points which you acquire after each successful battle.
As you traverse the landscape, you have different modes of transport at your disposal. Cid’s Airship, The Enterprise, which is a Viking vessel, a folding canoe, and of course the faithful chocobos are different ways you can travel across the continent. You can save anywhere on the world map with each town or village filled with item, magic, equipment and weapon shops. As expected, exploration is often rewarded as there are an abundance of treasure chests and you can also investigate your surroundings for hidden secrets using the zoom feature to uncover shiny secrets and items.
Utilizing the touch screen requires a little time to get used to at the start. Square Enix has done a great job of making the menus intuitive with smooth navigation controls for your player, with only the occasional hiccup in caves or tight spaces.
Graphically, Final Fantasy III on the iTouch/iPhone is stunning. The visuals and character models are very polished and detailed, greatly surpassing those found on the Nintendo DS version. The music is still your typical Final Fantasy fanfare with some catchy tunes and memorable songs along the way to liven up your adventure.
Final Fantasy III is definitely one of the best Final Fantasy games to grace the Apple iPod Touch/iPhone game library for series fans and RPG enthusiasts. Though the $15.99 price tag is steep and may turn off some players, it remains one of the best titles to own for gamers on Apple’s portable device that is a worthy purchase.