History and Features of Chrono Trigger Mobile iOS and Android Re-Release

The History

Shortly following the 2011 Wii Virtual Console re-release of the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) release, plans to migrate Chrono Trigger to mobile devices arose, with Japan receiving a cellphone release via the i-mode distribution service on August 25 of that same year. Later, an iOS version compatible with contemporary versions of iPod, iPad, and iPhone devices was released on December 8, 2011, along with an Android version introduced on October 29, 2012. A new website was launched as well, showcasing a new video game trailer along with information concerning the story, characters, and worlds. 
These iterations of Chrono Trigger were, as Square Enix co. establishes, based on the Nintendo Dual Screen (NDS) re-release with graphics “optimized especially for the iPhone/iPod touch.”1 The game  although missing the “Arena of the Ages” multiplayer mini-game  features the new ending “Beyond Time's Eclipse,” as well as the “Dimensional Vortex” and the “Lost Sanctum” areas developed for the NDS. What is most striking however, is the absence of the PlayStation (PS) cutscenes previously introduced in the Final Fantasy: Chronicles compilation a decision that upset returning players.  


A feature new to mobile devices, is the ability to “Bookmark” your progress, which creates a temporary save file upon quitting the game. This was a welcome improvement, since the original nature of relying upon save points located in particular areas was not ideal for the mobile gaming experience (which typically involves shorter moments of gameplay in comparison). However, this system was not without its qualms. When you restart the game, “you’re returned to the entrance of whatever location you were in and, typically, all the enemies respawn” and the “Bookmark” function is not available during in-game plot animations or battles.2
In addition to this, the need to connect to the Internet in order to authenticate the legitimacy of the video game is frustrating and limiting to those who are not able to find an appropriate Internet connection. This is especially true for mobile devices, in which the typical owner is in transit when operating on said device. On top of this, there are abrupt moments where the game needs to download extra content before you can progress through the game. These actions by Square Enix co.  although justified  still convey an anti-piracy message to consumers that some may find rude and incriminating, not to mention constraining.  
Furthermore, with the migration to mobile devices, the affordances of touch-screen controls that allow you to handle interactions simply by tapping on places of interest and the introduction of “an unanchored d-pad that lets you control movement from wherever you rest your thumb,” theoretically should allow for more streamlined gameplay, but unfortunately, even this control-scheme suffered from lack of mobile optimization.3 Reviews describe that the “movement sensitivity is far too high,” in the end causing you to “overshoot your mark.”3 This issue results in fighting feeling “less intuitive” and ultimately tougher for the player  however, that said, menu navigation for shops, conversations, and status screens are arguably more fluid and responsive than ever before, due to the presence of large menu buttons and the introduction of a more legible font.2

Visuals and animations  although described as “optimized”  also took a turn for the worst, with numerous customer reviews detailing the prevalence of “graphical glitches” that cause sprites to “flicker” and “square boxes around sprites” to appear.4 A lack of sprite animation is also noted, and due to a “lack of retina support,” the up-scaled visuals are poor in comparison to all previous installments of Chrono Trigger.5 The music and sound effects also received poor reviews, with players complaining about audio quality, and as one review laments, “instruments that used to sound almost orchestral have been reduced to bleeps and bloops.”6

However, it should be noted that Square Enix co. has continually updated the mobile re-release on both iOS and Android devices since the beginning, with iOS version 1.0.5 being released the latest on September 18, 2014 (which now allows support for iOS8), and earlier versions overwriting many of the graphical concerns listed above.
In fact, issues with certain versions of iOS and Android have been reported throughout the history of these mobile iterations  with the most notorious being Android 4.3 (which ultimately affected many applications on the Google Play Store).7 Due to the nature of these ever-evolving software systems, it is no wonder that this re-release was plagued the most by versioning  not just in operating system support, but also with regard to variable screen and device size. Requirements also establish that older obsolete versions of hardware and software are no longer compatible for playing the latest iteration of Chrono Trigger. On the Apple App Store, requirements state that the video game is “compatible with iPhone 4s or later” and “requires iOS 7.0 or later,” while the Google Play Store requires Android 2.2 and later, along with the specification that Chrono Trigger cannot be launched on devices running Android 4.4 with Android RunTime (ART) enabled.”[1][8] In fact, iPad optimization has never been fully accomplished. Ultimately, these limitations reflect the fast pace of digital technological innovation and show that even within the mobile application market, obsolete hardware and software is just as prevalent an issue.

Works Cited:

[1] "Chrono Trigger." Apple App Store. Square Enix, 08 Dec. 2011. Web. 06 Aug. 2015.

[2] Matar, Joe. "Chrono Trigger Review: The Best RPG of the Past, Present, and Possibly Future." Hardcore Droid. Vandelay Industries, n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2015.

[3] Haske, Steve. "Chrono Trigger Review." Mac Life. Future US, 01 Sept. 2012. Web. 06 Aug. 2015.

[4] "Bad App Reviews for Chrono Trigger." Bad App Reviews. Andy McSherry, 09 Nov. 2012. Web. 06 Aug. 2015.

[5] "Chrono Trigger Review." Slide to Play. TrouserMac Industries, 12 Dec. 2011. Web. 06 Aug. 2015.

[6] "Bad App Reviews for Chrono Trigger." Bad App Reviews. Andy McSherry, 26 April. 2013. Web. 06 Aug. 2015.

[7] Villhaver. "Square Enix's Android Software Failure." Giant Bomb. GameSpot, 5 Jan. 2014. Web. 6 Aug. 2015.

[8] "Chrono Trigger." Google Play. Google, 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 06 Aug. 2015.

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