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Classic RPG Goodness With Tales Of Phantasia? Nope.

mzl.msovtctbI’m a sucker for pixel art. But, I think I’ve discussed that a few times on the OWC Blog already. And I think it’s also pretty apparent that I love me a good RPG. Great, got that established and out of the way.

Growing up I had a Sega Genesis and later in life I picked up a Super Nintendo (SNES). But sadly, today’s title eluded me until later in life. I had instantly fell in love with its unique combat system and fairly good story. But I have got to say, Namco/Bandai’s title was absolutely destroyed in this iOS port. Get ready to dual-wield shields in order to defend yourself from this onslaught of fail with Tales of Phantasia.

I think at about four or five points during this play through I nearly gave up. This wonderful tale of a young swordsman was dragged through the muck, stepped on, run out, and then beaten with a baseball bat. The amount of awful that slapped me around through the screen of my iPad blew my mind.

This is where the excitement stops. Right here.

You want a recipe for disaster? Here ya go: Take a single player RPG, make it require an internet connection. Take the amazing controls the original had and include the ability to move at 900 miles an hour and get caught on everything to the mix. I cannot possibly convey the amount of frustration these controls caused me with out risking this article becoming un-postable.

Why? Why is this a thing? There is zero reason for this.
Why? Why is this a thing? There is zero reason for this.

Lets start with the controls. They’re bad… really bad. I think blowing into the microphone to use skills and tilting the ipad would have been a better control scheme. Moving around the world and map screens is done by picking anywhere on the screen and moving your thumb a very, very, very, small amount. Anything more than the slightest gesture will send your character flying off the screen in that direction, often resulting in you getting stuck on some jagged terrain. I simply could not handle it. Thankfully it also sports a poke-somewhere-on-the-screen-and-you-walk-there type movement system. But Tony, you ask, why wouldn’t you just use that to move around? Well reader, let me enlighten you! That is just as awful. Sure your character walks to where you click, but it’s nearly impossible to move between maps. So here I am smashing my screen like I’m playing ant-smasher, trying to get from one map to the next, get frustrated, try and drag myself off the screen, and weeeee… flying to exactly WHERE I DIDN’T WANT TO GO, GET INTO A BATTLE AND DIE. Thanks Bandai/Namco! That’s exactly what I wanted!

I can swing my sword, sword…
I can swing my sword, sword…

Great so that in and of itself is enough to make me uninstall this garbage pail. But it’s Tales of Phantasia. The tales games are amazing. One of my favorite games to play with people over on the Xbox 360 is Tales of Vesperia. It’s a single play RPG that others participate with you, and play their own characters in battles. It’s a great one for those of you who like console RPGs. Anyways, back on track, there’s still more garbage to sift through. So while the game stays true to its original in many ways, guess what this game didn’t need? A cash shop. Yeah you read right. Nothing like healing items, and all sorts of worthless junk to buy to make me want to play a game. Here’s a tip for you, if the game you’re playing says “Hey, glad you enjoyed this item, but sadly they are only in the store from now on” UNINSTALL THE GAME!

Maybe I’m just getting a bit rant-y. I really like the “Tales” games. But this port is just making me physically ill (that or I caught a cold from this bizarre mid-west weather). But wait! There’s more! I was cruising through the game’s content always seeing the auto-save feature kicking in, and was like “Yeah… cool beans”. Then I died. Frustratingly, the game asked me if I wanted to BUY A RESURRECT! Sorry Bandai, MAXIMUM NOPE on that one. So I started, got back to the title screen and my continue button is greyed out. What?! What the heck were you saving? How much time I wasted playing this port of a once majestic RPG? Because obviously you didn’t save my progress. On top of all of this, anything mildly useful, healing items, for one major thing, appear to drop less than gas prices. So I hope you’re flawless at smashing your thumb over and over into the screen to avoid getting hit, at all, ever. If you do, that’s a major penalty, as it’s a major pain to find any sort of item to recover. Sure you could buy a few with in game currency, but they are expensive, and painful to spend money on, knowing you should be buying more equipment.

Uhm…. Ok. I’m pretty sure that wont be a problem lady.
Uhm…. OK. I’m pretty sure that wont be a problem lady.

So what does that mean? Well to really get anywhere you’re going to have to get into this weird grinding pattern of killing a ton of things, buying items to heal, and having a liiiiittle money left over as profit. Maybe. If you take one too many hits to the face you’ll barely break even. This frustratingly difficult grind system is not fun. It’s not entertaining. Frankly I would be embarrassed to associate this game with my gaming collection. I’ll stick to the original.

I’m done. It’s over. Get this off my iPad. I’ll cry myself to sleep one more night, and finally be done with it. In summary: This thing makes my eyes burn.

Graphics Rating-Bar4

This game, as its original had some really top-notch pixel artwork done. I loved every lovely monster drawn over every awesome tile. Top notch. Again this lays to the original game made, so the port did not do much here. Why not a 5? Because the adaptation GUI and menu buttons looked rushed and frankly about as bad as the controls. Thanks for rushing this one out.


KILL IT WITH FIRE. If it weren’t for the original content being awesome, and carrying this poorly designed iOS wrapper on this port of the game, it would have scored a zero here.


This is hit or miss. Personally I prefer Japanese voice acting, and while I can’t understand a word they are saying. Their ability to convey emotion, in my opinion is better. However please be aware none of the voices are in English, and everything is subtitled.

Innovation Rating-Bar0

None. Trash. Garbage.

Overall Rating-Bar1

This title is for SERIOUS FANATICS ONLY; I was so excited to see this come to the app store. I was psyched! However the disappointment and letdown cannot be conveyed enough. The controls are brutal, and its nearly useless save system leaves a lot to be desired. Let’s just tuck this one right underneath Candy Crush Saga, and I’ll go about my business.

Rocket Yard Contributor
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1 Comment

  • All these games = fond childhood memories . Nintendo had so many quality games . The 90s was the golden age of gaming. Damnit makes me want to hunt down a snes now .I do have Roms but it’s not the same . … Btw Eye of the beholder was one of the greatest rpgs released for SNES.
    Alisha Ross