Guardian Cross iOS

Apparently the old Final Fantasy games have been making it to mobile devices, along with other Squeenix properties. They’re all reasonably pricey for the platform, which I don’t usually mind if the game is good enough, but I just don’t have the time to play a story-based JRPG for hours at a sitting. Even finishing FF13 when I was less busy was difficult.

So I recently picked up the free Guardian Cross by Squeenix – it borrows from Warstorm the deterministic non-interactive battles, and Pokemon for the importance of elemental strength/weaknesses. Your lineup is actually pretty long – 10 cards, selected from those you’ve collected via a “hunting” reaction/accuracy mini-game.

At my current levels, all the creatures have just one move (some cast another move when they enter the battlefield) so their roles are generally defined by their elemental attack and defence. A major issue is that you have little idea what you’re going to face and in what order, making your lineup a bit of a toss-up.

Additionally the levelling is a bit strange: you sacrifice cards plus points to give other cards more experience. You can get cards via hunting (one free hunt a day, plus reasonably generous tickets gained through battles) and copious points via battles; however battles cannot be refought, and enemies ramp up levels pretty quickly. So while Squeenix is very generous with tickets and points and so on, you can’t grind levels, and spend most of your time fighting vastly higher-level enemies with a larger number of low-level but rarer creatures. The elemental aspect is strong enough to force you to bring a mix of creatures – even a strong one will be brought down if the elemental matchup is wrong.

I’ve found the Coliseum hit-and-miss – either I walkover my opposition, or I’m utterly destroyed. It comes down to levels and rarities, as the lineup is reasonably random. (Some opponents order their creatures so that the next one beats the element that would defeat the previous one, but that’s too much for me.)

Anyway, Guardian Cross is a nice, free game that you can “play” (engage in battles and let things fall as they may, or do upgrades and reorganisation) for a few minutes at a time. The production values are pretty high (especially the card art and the music – a few creatures from Final Fantasy cameo), though the story is very simple (and you’re not going to find any semblance of character depth here).

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