Square Enix has something of a mixed record when it comes to mobile ports. Some of them have been great, some of them have felt like MAME emulated experiences with terrible control overlays. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth sits somewhere between those two extremes.
While it's got some added bells and whistles to make it easier to play on the go, the controls here occasionally feel like they've been calibrated for someone with the reaction speed of a hummingbird's wings.
The game underneath it all is definitely an intriguing one, and it still looks absolutely gorgeous after all this time. It's just a bit of a shame to see little frustrations creeping in where they're really not welcome.
Ragnarok and roll
The game is all about a Valkyrie. She descends from the realm of the gods to the realms of men in order to harvest souls to fight in the last battle. In other words, most of the characters in the game are dead, or about to die.
It might sound a little on the grim side, but then the game is heavily saturated with norse mythology, which as everyone knows is the mythological equivalent of a death metal gig in a burning church atop a snowy mountain.
But the story is handled with care and intelligence, and the choices you make and the characters you recruit can have a massive outcome on the ending. And there are loads of endings here, some good, some bad, some very bad.
This is an RPG that definitely plays by its own rules. It's side-scrolling for the most parrt, and there ere are platforming sections, traps to avoid, and crystals you need to use to progress. But it's the battle system that's probably the most interesting thing here.
It's all about comboing attacks together. You tap character portraits to smash enemies, and chaining together multiple taps inflicts huge damage. You need to bypass defences, use magic, and consider the roles of your characters.
The whole thing is a wonderful step away from the norm, and it really sets Valkyrie Profile apart from the rest of Square Enix's output. Sometimes though the touch interface lets you down at critical moments, which is a bit of a kick in the teeth.
Ragnarok the kasbah
So no, this isn't the perfect mobile port that many people might have been hoping for. It's clumsy in places, and even though the underlying brilliance of the source material shines through pretty damn bright, you're still going to be grinding your teeth from time to time.
If you've never played the game before, it's still well worth picking up. It's brash and uncompromising, and it plays by its own rules. It's also massive, and while the price tag might seem a little steep, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck.
It's just a shame that sometimes it's a little too fidgety, a little too erratic. Because that goes against almost everything else the game has to offer.