Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: For such a beloved and iconic series, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters give players a chance to experience the magic in the best way possible, with updated graphics and new audio. The storytelling and gameplay may be dated, but you don't get much better than this as far as faithful remasters go.
New music is a delight
Excellent touch controls
Remastered graphics look both modern and retro
Odd font choice
Not available on consoles
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Jumping into the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters without having any previous experience with the original games or their ports was interesting for me. Of course, I had nothing to compare them to, so I can't say whether they're worthy "remasters" in that sense. What I can say is that playing them as though they're newly released — with the knowledge that they're older and have dated mechanics — made me appreciate them more. They're perfect for mobile devices, and while I think it's a glaring omission that they haven't released on consoles, I'd wager that they're some of the best Android games available right now.
And you don't even need to use some of the best mobile controllers to play them. The Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters have perfectly competent touch controls, no doubt in part because of how old and simple the games are. As someone with a contentious relationship with touch controls, this is a big plus in my book. Native games through the Play Store should have excellent touch controls, but they don't always. When I think back on my experience playing the Pixel Remasters, it only makes me want to jump into games some more.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters: What's good
|Category||Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters|
|Title||Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters|
|Minimum Requirements||Android 6.0 and up|
|Game Size||620MB / 606MB / 702MB|
|Play Time||7 hours|
|Launch Price||$12 / $12 / $18|
While I had never played or seen the first three Final Fantasy games in their original format, I eventually looked up some gameplay on YouTube to compare them. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much work actually went into the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters. If I didn't know any better, I would have assumed that they looked the same as their original counterparts. That's a testament to the perfect balance Square Enix struck in keeping it faithful to the original aesthetic while modernizing it. I actually sent my friend some screenshots from the games, and she said they reminded her of Stardew Valley.
Speaking of being pleasantly surprised, I enjoyed the touch controls more than I thought I would. I'm pretty open about how much I usually hate touch controls on mobile games, preferring to use mobile controllers when possible. However, the touch controls were never a problem because of how simple the gameplay is in the first three Final Fantasy games. You can even switch from its emulated analog stick controls to a tap mode, allowing you to tap an area on the screen and have your character automatically navigate to it. Thus, interacting with objects or people is as simple as walking up to them and tapping the screen. And because combat is turn-based, playing our summarily to a Pokémon battle, you don't need advanced control schemes.
The Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters also features new and improved audio. Its OST is worthy of a place on anyone's Spotify playlist, with calming adventure tunes as you explore the world and battle music that immediately indicates a fight. The light woodwind instruments, along with some piano and stringed instruments, make for a delightful soundtrack, even if it's not the chiptunes people may be used to.
This level of care is similarly seen in the updated graphics and battles. This is as good as they'll probably ever look in 2D pixelated fashion, and it's a huge improvement over whatever mess the 3D version is. If you don't want to manually partake in any of the battles, there's even an auto-battle feature that can be toggled on and off, allowing you to just watch the action happen.
All of this, combined with the quality of life improvements like cheaper item prices, diagonal movement, the ability to quick save wherever, intuitive menus, and a mini-map, makes the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters a treat to play.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters: What's not good
The elephant in the room has to be the games' font. I actually didn't have a problem with it until I noticed people on social media talking about it. I can definitely see why now. The lettering is a bit too bunched up and thin, making it hard to read. Also, with everything else looking so good, the font can stand out as a sore spot. That said I personally didn't find the font to be egregiously bad like others have, but it's worth noting nonetheless, considering it's something that a lot of people have brought to attention.
For better or worse, being older games means that they don't hold your hand. There are people who will say games have gotten too easy over the years, but in reality, they've just become more accessible. There will be some people who find the lack of "hand-holding" here a deal-breaker. Do you want to revive and heal characters? That'll cost you some hard-won Gil. And you don't get convenient waypoints to point you to your objective. It's all on you to explore the world and take note of where you need to go.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters: Should you play it?
As much as I enjoyed the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters, I'm not sure I'd spend $12 - $18 on them. Maybe that's a part of my brain being unwilling to spend money on Google Play Store games when a lot of other excellent choices are free — though subsidized by microtransactions. I'd be lying if I said my opinion wouldn't change if they were on PS5. It's easier for me to justify a console purchase than a mobile one. Still, plenty of mobile gamers will find a lot to love here, and when I place myself in their shoes, I can more easily recommend the Pixel Remasters at their price points. Ultimately, it's up to you if you want to spend a little over $40 on the first three games.
4 out of 5
I'd imagine this is how longtime fans view the games through rose-colored glasses because the originals are decidedly less polished. However, Square Enix ensured that these were perfect for mobile devices, and it's evident in their controls and gameplay. Even if you aren't a fan of the series, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters offer you a chance to experience the classics as they're remembered, proving why they kicked off one of the most successful video game franchises in history.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters
Bottom line: Square Enix could have easily done the bare minimum and left the ports as they were, but it ended up making some of the finest classic remasters in years with the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters. Fans of the series should absolutely pick these up.
Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.