Updated on August 1st~!
- Additional info about Element Drive
Updated on June 23rd~!
- Corrected Element Seed to Skill Seed
- Made other minor corrections on information
Guess who’s playing Square Enix’s new freemium Final Fantasy game? XD I’ve included some information and impressions about this new title below the gallery~! Look out — it’s a wall of text! ^^
Oh, before anyone asks, this game is for both iOS and Android and is currently Japanese-only and region locked to Japan. I was able to download it because I have a Japanese iTunes account.
I know a lot of folks automatically dismiss free-to-play games but as someone that’s played quite a few of them, I can say that not all of them subscribe to the same horrible tactic of pacing the player to the point that forking over money is the only way to enjoy a game at a comfortable pace. At the moment, I don’t get the vibe that Mobius Final Fantasy is trying to nickel and dime me. I remain skeptical and will assume that I will eventually hit a wall and most likely require better cards to progress. After all, cards are the most vital part of the game and enemies will most likely only drop mediocre ones. Enemies in events and bosses may be exceptions though.
For the time being, I’m jumping back and forth between chapter 1 of the story quests and some side mission(?) map. I’m honestly not sure what it is being that I’m not fluent in Japanese, but currently, there are only the main story map, that side missions map and a bonus place that requires certain items to enter. The second kind of map is like the daily dungeons in many other freemium titles where you can get a specific perk per day. So far, the only bonus is increased Skill Seed drops; from Monday to Friday, it’s a different element each day but on Sunday, all elements enjoy the bonus.
In terms of gameplay, if you’ve played any sort of freemium games by Japanese, Korean, Chinese, or even Western companies before, you will be pretty familiar with what Mobius FF offers. It’s got a stamina bar, regular and premium currencies, gacha/lottery draws, shop for buying premium currency, a social aspect (re: adding people to a Follow or friends’ list and also selecting random folks’ or your friends’ cards to use in battles), and card fusions. And unsurprisingly, it has the elemental gimmick, but instead of the usual rock-paper-scissors design, the game simplifies the concept and has pairs of elements share both the strength and weakness aspect with each other. This means that Fire is weak against Water and Water can be used against Fire. Likewise, Earth abilities can be effectively utilized when dealing with foes that wield Wind and the opposite is true as well.
What I find different is the job change system and that you can unlock more “skills” for each job by making use of Element Seeds you gain at the end of a fight session. I put skills in quotation marks because the unlocks are things such as an increase in hitpoints or magic power. In fact, most of them are parameter based.
Jobs alter your character’s stats, attack style animation, what weapon he can use, as well as his elemental affinity. He also receives a change in appearance too. It goes without saying that experimenting with different professions will help in progressing through the game since some jobs will undoubtedly work better in certain situations and against some monsters than others.
As for how the game plays — the Home screen/landing page is split between a map on the bottom with little nodes which are pretty much your equivalent of dungeons and the top shows wandering player character clones that waltz up to your character and idle around. Sometimes it looks like they’re talking to him though. Anyway, these clones are actually other players that you can “follow” (re: add to your Follow list). I mention a bit more about following and followers in my bullet point list at the bottom of this write up.
More nodes get added onto the map as you clear areas. To clear them means to travel to a point and fight a number of monsters there. Tapping on a node will provide information such as the required amount of stamina needed, the number of battles, bonuses, special notices (which usually means the elemental affinity of most monsters), your deck and level info, and finally, the number of Phoenix Downs you have in possession. For those that don’t know, the latter is the trademark resurrection item in the world of Final Fantasy. Once you commit to heading to a new area, your character will begin walking and eventually come across monsters. You can also tap once on the screen to make the character jog to his next destination.
Battles are turn-based and heavily revolves around selecting the correct elements to get the most damage out of your attacks. For example, if you’re entering one that’s primarily populated by Wind elemental enemies, you’d do well to ensure that you’re using a job that can make use of Earth ability cards. Otherwise, you may find yourself at a disadvantage.
During the player’s turn, a certain number of actions can be chosen. How many you can perform is based on your job and whether or not your companion is generous enough to cast haste which grants an extra action. These actions can be a combination of regular attacks, ability cards, and Element Drives. There are some limitations regarding the latter two that will be explained below.
Regular attacks are performed simply by tapping anywhere on the screen. Landing blows will cause little element orbs to appear and gradually fill up the Elemental Stock gauge at the top of the screen. I’m uncertain what determines the frequency and how often a certain element appears but for sure, you only obtain the ones that you have an affinity to. For example, a Warrior can only use Fire, Water, and Earth.
Once a specific number of orbs are available, you can utilize equipped ability cards which allows you to execute offensive element-based skills or recovery skills. The amount of orbs required is dependent on each card; some may only need 2 while others may need 5. If there is actually a way to somewhat control the elements that you obtain, you may be able to chain ability attacks together, but if you play like me and aren’t entirely sure of the system, you’ll probably only be hurling one or two skill attacks per round. ^^
Note that if you were unfortunate enough to equip an ability card for an element your job cannot make use of, it will remain useless throughout all battles. This also rings true for rental cards (i.e. other players’ cards that you can borrow for fights). It’s actually easy to spot which cards aren’t right for your character as there will be a flashing warning sign on them.
As for what an Element Drive is, it’s protection. When a Drive is active, you get a little coloured icon that matches the element you chose and overlaying it is a small shield icon. Its duration seems to be dependent on how many element orbs are available at the time that it’s activated and using an Element Drive consumes all corresponding seeds from the gauge.
Edit: An Element Drive can also be used strategically to force other elements to appear. For example, you’re using a job that makes use of Wind, Fire, and Earth. If you trigger a Wind Element Drive, more Fire and Earth orbs will pop up on the stock gauge as you attack. However, it seems that this only happens if 3 or more orbs are consumed when the Drive is activated.
Note that the colours of the element ring on the bottom right of the screen is like a pie chart that changes according to how you use elements. With an Element Drive in place, the ring will consist of mostly 2 colours. But by attacking enemies, the third colour will gradually be restored meaning that you will once again see more of them show up.
It is possible to have more than one Element Drive active at the same time. In the case with two simultaneous Drives, most of the ring will be of one colour.
Wow. This is running much longer than I meant it to. ^^ I initially only wanted to jot down points about the game but ended up explaining the system. I’ll write the rest in point form.
- Like the FFXIII games and maybe even another FF before it — I don’t remember FFX or FFXII that well and I’m too lazy to look up the informaion regarding this — you can stagger enemies. In the case of Mobius FF, it’s called Break. For those that are unfamiliar with the concept, it’s basically wearing down their shield (that’s indicated as a small orange bar beneath an enemy’s HP bar). Once the shield is gone, they become briefly incapacitated and are much more vulnerable to attacks. You have only a few seconds to cram as many attacks in as possible when the enemy is down. Making use of Break is an important strategy against bosses and tougher enemies.
- There’s an Auto Battle option. I’m not sure how far one can get simply by letting the game fight for the player. I suppose it exists for grinding easy enemies or for those that don’t want to repeatedly tap on their screen to fill up the stock gauge. Incidentally, ability cards aren’t used during Auto Battles and selecting one will disengage the Auto Battle option.
- Oops. Almost forgot to mention the Special Attack. There’s a meter underneath the character’s HP that fills up as you use your ability cards. Once it becomes full, you can unleash a powerful attack. The meter will deplete after it’s used.
- Do I have to explain how card fusion works? You take 2 cards, ideally of the same elemental affinity for EXP bonus and seed production(?) boost, and mash ’em together. Fusing identical cards may also increase the ability level which will boost the card’s skill stats.
- Some cards have a job icon on them. If you equip them with a corresponding job, you will benefit from a bonus like increased magic power for a mage.
- Still on the subject of cards, some of them are AOE (area of effect) and have the ability to damage a group of enemies. Ones with the wifi-like symbol one seems to only affect up to 3 enemies while the star icon has a wider radius.
- Evolving jobs requires a special item known as a Crystal. They are rare and can only be obtained during events, oras story chapter completion rewards, or from certain chests on maps. They may also come as a reward through other means.
- Following people allows you to see where they are on a map. Their cards also tend to appear at the top of the rental card screen.
- You gain special gacha tickets that can be used toward getting cactuar cards when other players rent your card. Cactuar cards can provide a large amount of EXP during card fusion, a greater success rate for levelling skill seeds of a card, or lots of Gil.
- That second map I mentioned — some paths are inaccessible and require keys. Bosses that appear around the map now and then drop them.
- Your tiny companions can assist you in battles! My tonberry can heal, cast Regen (HP recovery for a set amount of time), add element orbs to the gauge, and some other things. In fact, I think all companions provide the same assists. Unfortunately, the frequency of them actually doing anything during battle is low.
- The tonberry also has a cute victory animation where he’ll jump and spin. I’m looking to get the cactuar next. XD
- There is a mission everyday that can be completed for a reward. The objective can be something mundane like defeat 30 enemies as a Ranger.
- You may not be able to do battles in certain nodes even though it’s unlocked. This is due to the player’s proximity to it. There’s a teleport option that lets you quickly head back to key nodes and from there, you can either go to the area you want to battle at itself, if possible, or find the path that leads to it.
- There are voiced cutscenes.
- The graphics are lovely! The game actually gives you 3 different download sizes: one for standard graphics, one for high quality graphics, and the last one is for the entire game. If I remember correctly, the full install is just over 2 GBs.