13. Chaos Rings
Release date: April 20, 2010
Developer: Media Vision
Publisher: Square Enix
Imagine a world with no Final Fantasy games. It’s scary, I know, but humor me if at all possible. Without those console classics as a foundation, some aspiring Japanese RPG would still have popped up on iOS, probably from Square Enix. Some game, like, say, Chaos Rings.
Of course this game did have those Final Fantasy games, some of which have shown up on mobile years after their release, as comparisons. Despite that, Chaos Rings holds up just fine thanks to awesome visuals (the boss enemies are particularly cool), a complex but not convoluted story and the kind of combat system you’d expect from Square Enix. Some puzzles are even thrown in for good measure.
It was also one of the first iOS games of any genre to attempt to deal with the bane of any mobile game reviewer’s existence, the virtual thumbstick. There might have been other titles before Chaos Rings to allow the stick to float anywhere on one side of the screen that you’d care to touch, but I can’t recall any that had an equally high profile. It’s a small but important gameplay element that is now pretty standard in mobile games of all kinds.
Years from now, when someone starts putting together a mobile gaming hall of fame, Chaos Rings has as good a chance as any series to call itself the Final Fantasy of phones and tablets. I’d certainly be okay with that.
Next: Jetpack Joyride