Five Final Fantasy games lead Square Enix's invasion of mobile phones

Leading Japanese publisher goes mad for mobile with nearly a dozen titles in the works

Five Final Fantasy games lead Square Enix's invasion of mobile phones

When the publisher of some of the world's most loved and respected games start to go crazy for a gaming device, you know the format is about to explode. It's what happened to the PlayStation all those years ago, and it's what didn't even slightly happen for the dear departed Gizmondo.

So mobile gamers should get ready to hang onto their hats: Square Enix, creator of some of the most respected console games, has gone gaga for mobile games, announcing no less than 11 new titles at E3.

Even more impressive than the quantity is the fact that not one, not two, but five titles are from the publisher's crown jewels – the Final Fantasy series.

Already a big hit on the mobile scene in Japan, the first Final Fantasy is a turn-based roleplaying game that started the whole ineptly named adventure off. Expect much exploration, magical battles and an epic storyline about four warriors of light who guard the mystic crystals. (My gran's got quite a collection of Swarovski animals, does that make her a warrior of the light too? Blimey, and I thought she used to spend her spare time at the bingo…)

But if that's a little too old-school for you then, Before Crisis – Final Fantasy VII will enable you to skip forward a few volumes to a stage where mystical crystals have given way to the Turks and the sinister Shinra Company. More interestingly, this episode allows you to team up with other players across the country (and maybe the world) to battle opponents and carry out covert operations. At least that's the plan for the US, but having successfully translated the epic, it's surely a safe bet that a European version won't be far behind.

Unveiled in Square Enix's official E3 conference, Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus is subtitled 'The Lost Episode' and is precisely that, forming a missing chapter of the similarly named PS2 game that's also being released this summer (although obviously it can be played in its own right).

A mixture of action and adventure in stunning 3D, the game will also feature similar networked multiplayer options to Before Crisis (and no, they're not the same, despite sharing the VII moniker – believe us, we're confused too) providing that a) Square can sort out the European networks and b) you've got a beefy enough phone to cope with it (these babies aren't going to run on a Series 40).

The remaining two titles, Final Fantasy Agito XIII and Final Fantasy Adventure were revealed as mobile exclusives but with precious few actual details (perhaps just as well, we've already worn out the 'F's on our keyboard) aside from a promise that they, along with an as yet unnamed game based on the Mana series, would be designed for next gen phone handsets and deliver a mobile experience unlike anything yet seen. (Unlike anything as good, we presume).

If all this sounds a little too, well, fantastical for you, then you needn't despair: Square's wares include plenty more down-to-earth entertainment. For instance Brave Shot 2 (what happened to the first one – not brave enough?) promises a simpler test of reflexes as you snipe away at mechs, aliens, and all manner of nasties rendered in glorious 3D and desperate for some reason to invade your phone.

There's more shooting on offer in Elevator Action 3D, billed as a brand new take on a classic first-person shooter game. Apparently the game has been on just about every piece of gaming gear from arcade machines and the ZX Spectrum to Sega Saturn and Game Boy, but it passed us by. Maybe we were on a different floor? If you're a fan though, you'll be pleased to know the mobile version is fully updated with new tactical elements and crisp 3D graphics.

One game we definitely do remember fondly from the arcades is Chase HQ, a driving game where you play an undercover cop who has to catch up with the crooks and then ram or shoot them into submission. Whilst 'homage' titles like Pursuit Force on PSP may have raised the bar in the meantime, we're looking forward to some good old fashioned reckless driving on our mobile courtesy of Chase HQ 3D.

Talking of which, there's also Space Invaders 3D which does exactly what it says on the tin – that is, puts Space Invaders into 3D. Oddly enough though, what sounds like a simple gimmick could turn into a hit, as the three different camera perspectives look to add a fresh feel to some proven gaming fun.

And last but by no means least, in a nod to the casual gamers (and the heavier drinkers) Megatouch Mobile Arcade transfers the popular mini-games Q-shot, Box Drop and 11 Up directly from the pub touch screen machine and onto your phone. It's the first of what's surely planned to be a long-running series.

You can expect to hear an awful lot more about Square's mobile games from us soon (including some tighter UK release dates). But now that we've Finally Finished this update, we quite fancy popping into a pub for a 'large series' ourselves. Cheers!

Chris James
Chris James
A footy game fanatic and experienced editor of numerous computing and game titles, bossman Chris is up for anything – including running Steel Media (the madman).