CHRONO TRIGGER Review
- Seamless, complex combat system remains as sharp as ever.
- Engaging storyline.
- Revised version includes two new zones from the Nintendo DS release.
- While still functional, the virtual stick and touch controls feel tacked on instead of intuitive in their design.
- 'Smoothed' visuals come off as blurry instead of 'optimized for iPhone/iPod'; iPad owners beware.
This is still the Chrono Trigger fans have come to know and love even despite Square Enix' stubborn refusal to shape its games to suit the iOS platform; this can dampen the experience, but its core still shines through.
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As time goes on the list of games considered 'all time favorites' for an individual gamer shuffles and changes - this is as much thanks to newer games as it is due to maturing as a gamer and reconsidering games from the past that may have once been ignored. Personally there are some titles that are seemingly intractable and amongst this list is the classic Super Nintendo RPG, Chrono Trigger.
For those not directly familiar with the series, the game starts out much like any classic JRPG - the main protagonist is woken up, having forgotten an important event and the game quickly throws you in to the thick of it as something terrible happens. However, what has come to define this game as a classic is how quickly this story develops in to something far more intriguing and complex, exploring each individual character and their past with a clever time-travel theme.
Being as popular as it is, Chrono Trigger has seen releases on multiple platforms and has even had full-motion animated scenes added to further emphasize special moments in the game. Sadly these additions haven't made it across to the iOS version and veteran fans may also be thrown off by minor changes to various item names.
However this is a minor thing compared to the need to bolt the game to a control system that, while admirable in its attempt at boiling things down to basic swipes and a tap, is a far-cry from the expected intuitive option of simply tapping the screen to get things done. A virtual stick moves characters and can be adjusted to run or walk, but its fluidity works against the game as characters slide around unnecessarily. Also, combat can be needlessly frustrating as swipes quickly slip over your intended target in the heat of battle, making the 'Active' option a risk for those who aren't veterans of the title.
Thankfully, as with the original, where Chrono Trigger really manages to shine is in its almost-Action-RPG style of combat that utilizes the environments you're currently in instead of phasing to the usual static left/right split of enemies and heroes. Characters can only act once their time-bar has filled and the usual options of basic as well as 'Tech' attacks are available. Should another character be ready at the same time you can perform a combination attack - level up your characters enough and you'll even unlock devastating triple combo attacks.
The complexity doesn't end there either as players have to consider where their characters are located on the screen as most special attacks only work in a specific area or require characters to be in range of each other. Ultimately it's a system that rewards players for exploring each of their available characters instead of simply sticking to a set trio; something the game further emphases with many of its story moments.
Veterans aren't left out of the loop either as this version includes two areas added to the Nintendo DS version, giving you more than enough of a reason to jump down the rabbit-hole again.
While on one hand Chrono Trigger for iOS is still the game fans have come to know and love, the lack of attention to detail in porting the game is frustratingly evident and something not worthy of such a classic.
If you are yet to play this seminal RPG, do yourself a favor and grab it now, but fans hoping for another seamless experience are better off loading it up on a device they already own it on.