I'm going to throw this out there from the get-go - £20 is too much money for a mobile game. Now don't get me wrong, I think there's a space for premium games on the App Store, in fact I think it's incredibly important that that space exists, and whenever something new, and paid-for, makes its way onto the App Store, I'm always willing to give it a chance.
But there has to be a limit, there has to be a point where you look at your bank account and think, y'know what, that's a bit too rich for my blood. And I think that Monster Hunter Stories definitely fits into that bracket.
Yes, it's a game that's only a year or so old, and it's brilliant that it's come to mobile at all, since it shows that big developers are starting to make mobile more seriously. But for £20? You can pick up the 3DS version for a similar price second hand, and to be honest, it's better.
The port is a little handicapped, mainly by the thing that handicaps most mobile ports - the controls. It's something that's really difficult to get around, especially if you're not starting from the ground up with mobile in mind as the game's target platform.
Where games like The Room and Monument Valley are built with the limitations of touchscreen gaming in mind, there's only so much a dev can do with a port. After all, Monster Hunter Stories was made for the 3DS, a console with more control possibilities than most.
The price point raises another question, and it's one we need to be asking about all of these massive JRPG ports - who are they actually for? Take Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition, for example. There you have a squished down version of the AAA original, with a first level that's free to play, and a £15 IAP to get the rest.
For £15 it's well out of the price bracket that even top tier midcore players are going to consider. Casual players wanting some FFXV action are already catered for by Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, and the biggest fans are going to have played the game to death on the consoles it was actually built for.
If you ask me, the answer to this problem is a pretty obvious one. I'm not going to pay double figures for a game that's not as good as its console counterparts, but I'm happy to shell out a fiver every time a new Fireproof or usTwo games comes out, because I know I'll be getting something that will work brilliantly on my phone.
That gives us two options. One, developers could work on original games based on their IP for release on the App Store. But the level of work that goes into making a mobile game on a AAA scale is likely going to mean the only way the game will make any money back is if it's free to play.
That's where games like A New Empire, and all the other free to play Final Fantasy games come in. They're essentially gaming snacks if you're a fan of the series, or something meatier if you've got the personality type that the dopamine triggers of the game is taking aim at.
The other option is an even easier one - if Monster Hunter Stories was the same price as what we consider the big mobile games, it basically becomes a no-brainer. Less than the price of a bottle of wine for a massive JRPG with hundreds of hours of gameplay? Where do I sign up.
And paying less for a game means that players are going to give it more leeway. I'm not expecting a pixel perfect port with tuned up controls and new pocket-sized ideas, I'm just glad that I can play an awesome game on the go.
Because £20 is too much for pretty much anything on mobile. But it's definitely too much for a game that was never going to fit properly on your phone or tablet in the first place.
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