Mobile Monday: Chrono Trigger
As part of our Mobile Monday feature, I was very excited to learn that I could now play Square Enix’s Chrono Trigger on my iPhone. It was a favorite of mine many years ago when one would be hard pressed to find me not hunched over my SNES controller, sitting on the floor ignoring things like “outside” and “playmates.” I was curious to see if this game still held up to my lofty opinion of it in my youth.
Whoever decided that porting older games from other consoles onto mobile phones was a good idea should probably be knighted or something. Would I rather be playing this game on the SNES console that I loved so dearly? Yes, but my brothers have claimed ownership of the one we shared when we were kids and they refuse to give it to me, the little bastards. I’ll settle for playing this game on my iPhone.
Chrono Trigger has a depth to its story that was often unseen in games of the day. The plot has your silent protagonist, Chrono, going on adventures through time to eventually defeat Lavos. All your favorites are still there. Marle, the sheltered but brave princess, Lucca, the nerdy little engineer, Frog, formerly Glenn the person, and of course Ayla, the amazonian cave woman queen. It is essentially the exact same game, but with tap touch controls instead of a d-pad and buttons.
Chrono Trigger was a bit of a revolutionary game. There was a lot of detail to the world, from medieval times complete with knights and magic and prehistoric times populated by dinosaurs (and cute cave-babes like Ayla). The story starts off innocently enough at the Millenial Fair with Chrono and Marle being victim to a teensy little mishap while trying to use Lucca’s new teleportation device, which actually ends up sending them back in time. From there, the story unfolds in a way that feels natural and fun. There are side quests and character development, multiple endings and a positively amazing soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu (of Final Fantasy fame). Chrono Trigger is also admittedly one of the few Square Enix games in which I understood the entire plotline. I’m not sure what this says about me. Judge me if you will.
The mobile version of Chrono Trigger sticks to the same active time battle system made popular by the Final Fantasy franchise and I have to say it took some serious getting used to on a touch phone. While before it seemed almost instinctual to use the d-pad to select an attack and the buttons to then implement the attack, the player now has to watch where he puts his finger on the screen, or nothing or the wrong thing might happen. It’s pretty time consuming. The directional controls are also responsive in a way that makes it difficult to get to where you’re going. I spent a good minute or two just trying to line Chrono up with a person so he could be spoken to. So either I’m a spaz or these controls are not ideal. I’m leaning toward a little bit of both. This is the one thing that I found lacking about the iPhone version of the game.
Chrono Trigger is one of my favorite games of all time so if I were going to be scoring the game in general on a scale of 1-10 I would give a 10. It has a nice nostalgic, place in my heart and think I may have even teared up at hearing the opening theme again, the first time I played it on my phone. It has consumed my subway commutes. I often have a big, stupid grin on my face while playing. It’s still a bit of magic, even after all these years, and completely worth the $9.99 in my opinion. Check it out. If you can get over a little movement frustration I think you’ll find it very satisfying.