hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Chaos Rings

Review: Chaos Rings

2:00 PM on 04.27.2010 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

Square Enix, like many major publishers, has made a nice little wad of cash from re-releasing old games on iTunes for a premium charge. However, the Japanese company has at least gone that little extra mile with Chaos Rings, producing a full and original RPG experience, one that not only deserves the premium asking price, but may actually be a bargain. 

Designed from the ground up as an iPhone/iPod experience, Chaos Rings represents the first serious effort from Square Enix to get into the Apple arena. Has this effort paid off? Read on as we review Chaos Rings!

Chaos Rings (iPhone)
Developer: Media.Vision
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: April 20, 2010
MSRP: $12.99

Chaos Rings revolves around four pairs of mysterious characters who have been summoned by The Agent, a shrouded and sinister figure that is forcing chosen warriors to fight in the Arc Arena. Their reward is eternal life, but it comes at the cost of killing others or facing certain death themselves.

Not the most philosophical and introspective plot on the market, but the light narrative suits the handheld experience and the script is, at the very least, nicely put together with a few cool twists and turns and a cast of strong, well defined characters. You have the smirking and callous mercenary, the noble prince who wants to return to his people, and the solemn warrior who fights side by side with his devoted wife. Not the standard "brooding emo" fare that Square Enix regularly casts, and all the more welcome for it. 

The game allows players to step into the shoes of each of these paired characters, and while you won't squeeze eighty hours from each chapter, there is plenty of gameplay to be had for the money, and nearly all the depth you'd expect from a JRPG has been condensed onto the iPhone for your portable pleasure. Players can return to previously conquered dungeons at higher levels for tougher challenges and better equipment, they can shop for weapons, they can customize their characters, and generally put in plenty of hardcore effort and get rewarded for their trouble. The sheer amount of content squashed into a humble iPhone game is impressive, to say the least. 

The gameplay itself keeps things strictly traditional, with random encounters and turn-based battles. Taking a "not broke, won't fix" approach, the combat is rock solid and will be familiar to any RPG fan. One unique twist is that characters can fight individually or pair up for stronger attacks, the trade-off being that paired characters share the attacks of enemy monsters. There is also a "break" system represented by a circular gauge at the top of the screen. When the gauge is blue, allied characters have a battle advantage, but when it's red, monsters are the ones with the stronger attacks and better defenses. It's an interesting tug-of-war system that lends a little extra depth to the battle. 

Characters can be customized with the use of Gene Plates, which are earned by defeating different types of monsters. For example, killing a spider will earn the Insect Plate. These Plates house various passive or active abilities and spells, all of which are earned by continuing to beat monsters of the corresponding Gene type. Mastering these Gene abilities can create absolutely devastating characters, although magic spells themselves never feel particularly useful apart from during boss encounters, especially with regular attacks being as strong as they are. 

That's one of the major issues with Chaos Rings, and one that may put some players off -- after some dedicated grinding, enemies become an absolute joke. While it's certainly gratifying to see hard work pay off, the game becomes a cakewalk even on the highest level dungeons once good Gene Plates are equipped and higher level weapons have been found. It's still lots of fun, and the game can feel incredibly empowering, but some players may be disappointed by how easy the game becomes. 

Another low point comes from, ironically, the game's biggest challenge -- the puzzles. During the course of each dungeon, players will encounter puzzle rooms that force them to play around with blocks to collect gems before proceeding. These puzzle sections really threaten to kill the pace of the game and can get rather frustrating, especially because they seem to needlessly tossed into the game. These puzzles somehow seem to get easier the longer the game goes on, but the early ones definitely do their best to ruin the opening hours of the title. 

These thorns, however, are minor niggles compared to the overall package. Chaos Rings is a fantastic handheld RPG that evokes the feeling of an old PlayStation classic. The presentation is really sleek, with fantastic graphics, a great art style courtesy of Yusuke Naora, and some decent touch screen controls (although the character navigation could do with a little tightening). Special mention must be made of the absolutely incredible soundtrack. There are plenty of gorgeous tunes on display, with music that shames the aural presentation found in most console RPGs. 

Chaos Rings isn't just a superb iPhone RPG, it's a truly terrific RPG in its own right. Better than Square Enix's recent console output, this title outclasses many recent JRPG experiences and easily takes pride of place among the very best iTunes offerings. At $12.99, it's more than worth the cost of downloading, and if you love JRPGs, you really do need to check it out. Simple as that.

9.5 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)



THE VERDICT

9.5

Chaos Rings - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

nanashi avatarnanashi
PStoid #30 records today, you still have a little time to ask questions!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I can now play the first 20 measures of Little Trinketry at full speed. It ends when you start playing chords with the right hand. Also something about carts #passdatgas [youtube]http://youtu.be/40fulS_olU8[/youtube]
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
According to fart scientists, the rate of intestinal gas escaping through the anus increases when regular sleep patterns are not observed.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
I farted a lot during Mad Max Fury Road. I blamed them on the engines.
Dreggsao avatarDreggsao
A fart says more than a thousand words.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
A fart a day keeps the doctor away.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Why can't we have more Lovecraftian horror games? It's such a great setting, but nobody ever uses it.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Best purchase I've made in a long time. This little remote controlled BB-8 robot by Sphero is amazing. [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/bb8%202.jpg~original[/IMG]
gajknight avatargajknight
I fart, therefore I am.
extatix avatarextatix
Working on my next collection blog and holy shit, I should sell some stuff already.
Myles Cox avatarMyles Cox
My first word was "fart".
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Philosophical question: if the only way to get Batman: Arkham Knight to run decently on my laptop is to lower all the settings and have it run windowed, am I really playing it?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm farting right now.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I farted in Gamestop today and wasn't blamed!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
I have never farted. #TrueLies
From Must Git Gud avatarFrom Must Git Gud
Getting banned soon!
VIRGO avatarVIRGO
Here's to hoping Nintendo makes mobile games as compelling as Pac-Man 256...
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I hate when a new game comes out and D-toid gets flooded with stuff about a game I don't know anything about and I'm just stuck here, sitting with myself and my freeware games...
Dreggsao avatarDreggsao
It is the middle of the night and Yu-Gi-OH is on TV. Are children with insomnia so common these days?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
My hair's done did and my Teddie cosplay is officially ready for next weekend's Comic-Con! Do I impress you, Sensei? [img]http://i.imgur.com/ZNlOmMf.jpg[/img]
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Chaos Rings


  Jul 24

Chaos Rings now available on PS Vita, PS Mobile

Quietly available in North America as we speak


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -