Chaos Rings is the first Square-Enix RPG I’ve felt was truly crafted for mobile gaming. Its gameplay is innovative yet streamlined, its controls are simple yet provide plenty of options, and its story is interesting yet manageable in short bursts.
There are actually a lot of things mobile game developers should take note of here that make it so well suited to iOS, Android, and PlayStation Mobile platforms. So here is my list of the five most important lessons RPGs should learn from Chaos Rings.
1) GET US IMMEDIATELY INVOLVED
RPGs tend to take an hour or two establishing the setting and characters before getting you into your first fight. Chaos Rings cuts to the chase and throws you right into the juicy intrigue.
Within minutes you understand your situation: You are a great warrior who has been abducted and taken to the Ark Arena. Paired up with a companion, you must fight in a tournament against five other couples. The prize for winning is immortality. Defeat means death.
You quickly get to know the other couples through their reactions to the situation, which ranges from excited curiosity to outright horror. You also meet the primary antagonist, the imposing and demonic Agent whose very name conveys the fact that there is another mysterious power behind him pulling the strings.
Okay, I’m hooked!
2) STREAMLINE EVERYTHING
I only have about 45 minutes to play each way on my commute. Don’t make me blow 30 of them fine-tuning my gear, or fighting the same drawn-out battle.
Chaos Rings streamlines the experience in every way possible. Need gear? There’s a single merchant with a clean list of weapons and armor for each character. Want to grind tough monsters? There’s a single door that grants access to any location you’ve visited and even lets you select the level of difficulty (which also makes the game approachable to casual players).
The battles themselves are also well streamlined, with some monsters dying instantly if you know their elemental weakness. Even the bosses will die quickly if you figure out how to take control of the battle from the start (though it can sometimes feel too easy).
Best of all, there’s an ability that lets you turn off random encounters for those times you just want to explore. This should be available in all RPGs!