Warframe Mobile might just be the perfect iteration of this hectic RPG fun

Warframe Mobile might just be the perfect iteration of this hectic RPG fun
  • A fantastic port for an excellent PC and console game
  • Be sure to grab a controller, gameplay will be much more enjoyable
  • The best place to be a Tenno

For Apple wielders, the mobile iteration of Warframe has landed, packing all the goods that the PC and console versions have. Android players will have to wait for a bit, unfortunately, but the big question for us all is how successful has Digital Extremes been packaging all this madcap action for us. The answer depends on how you play it.

For those who haven’t played it, Warframe is an action RPG where you control a Tenno, which is effectively a robot with guns, swords, and magic powers. There is a story somewhere, but the main draw was always the fluid action with an emphasis on acrobatic movement if you wanted to join the mechanical circus. It is a bio that you wouldn’t expect to translate well to a phone, but it most certainly does.

Bounce off the walls wherever you may be

The most obvious benefit you get with Warframe on mobile is the portability, but rather crucially this isn’t just “you can play anywhere” - it is full-blown “you can properly dive in”. I was playing on the older budget iPhone XR, which had started struggling to run Google Maps, and even with the fast-paced combat and bullets whiffing past, it ran damn near perfectly. A few stutters here and there, but I was very pleasantly surprised and that’s on old hardware

Taking aim at the enemy

I am sure for most of us, we just default to the touchscreen mode of playing, but that might be a bit trickier on Warframe. You can most definitely play with this method, however it is noticeably easier when you stick to a more ranged style of play. When it comes to melee, it gets a little hectic.

Stick to ranged for the touchscreen

Take Excalibur, the first mobile melee option you get, and also my choice. It is quite difficult to control this more movement-based Warframe with the touch screen. I found myself missing a lot with the gap closer ability, having to pivot the screen and launch it, which turned into a scramble of where I ended up in relation to the enemy.

Customising the UI

None of this is the control's fault - it responds immediately, and the UI is laid out perfectly. Standard movement on the left, actions to the right and abilities at the bottom. It is a classic for a reason. Yes, the console or PC version has a cleaner screen, but I never felt like it was blocking my view at all. You can even customise it, but no amount of moving elements will make up for big, clumsy hands in a fast-paced game.

Let the game take care of some of the work

To their credit, Digital Extremes did think of this, and they have added quite a few accessible options to make mobile gaming easier. There is an auto sprint so you can focus on the gunning instead of running, as well as auto-shooting and melee. The former of this works wonders, even as a bow user. You might not be a headshot king, but you'll hit your targets - but it is the melee again where this falls down.

After a few battles, I still struggle to rely on these auto-features in the melee world. I use a bow, and enemies will come up to your face, but your Tenno will still be tensing that bow instead of whipping out the old sword. Even if you want to melee manually, it gets a little fussy having to move, aim, and then grow a third hand to tap the attack button. You could always get around this by turning off auto-shooting and leaving auto-melee on, or you can instead connect a controller for the ultimate Warframe mobile experience.

Aiming a bow on controller

Plug in that remote, and it all works perfectly. It transformed me from idle swatting at flies back to the semi-competent Robotic Robin Hood I had been on the PC version - the only difference is that I do it anywhere. It isn’t like you even lose much over the console versions - they play pretty smoothly and I had no problem keeping up with the enemies popping up in every direction.

Don’t give up on the circus Grayson

Traversal was also a bit of a worry. Between climbing, wall running and leaping everywhere, I wasn’t sure that this would translate well to mobile, but exploration wasn’t really an issue. I did find pulling off a Bullet Jump tricky in the usual slide and jump method, but we get a nifty button just for this manoeuvre, so no matter your control method, you can still be the acrobat you were built to be.

Flippy death spiral of doom

In my days of Warframe playing, I went all in on the mobile ninja archetype; Bow for headshots, Dual Swords for quick kills, and then the Spira because sticking people to the wall is hilarious. In short, a playstyle that relies on speed and precision. Whilst I am not back to that point on my mobile playthrough yet, I do not doubt that it is still one you can pull off here without any noticeable drop-off - it is that smooth a transition.

The right way to play

There is nothing you can do on the PC or console that you can’t with this setup, and on the flip side, there is a lot I can do on mobile that I can’t chained to a TV or desk. Being able to fly through the air and lacerate everyone like a hyperactive blender with a grudge whilst standing in my kitchen waiting for the kettle is magic, and don’t forget, it is still running almost as well.

With the mobile versions being integrated into Warframe's cross-platform, you can easily carry on your progress on any device - but what if there was only one? I have played this on PC, PS4, and now mobile, and it is enjoyable on all, but if I had to choose one, give me a decent phone and a controller and I will be playing in comfort all day long.

Shaun Walton
Shaun Walton
Shaun is the lead contributor on AppSpy and 148Apps, but sometimes pops up on Pocket Gamer just to mix things up a little bit.