Turn-based RPG Shining Force a welcome blast from the past

Aug 2, 2010
Games

Sega’s Shining Force ($2.99) is the latest in what’s becoming a long line of Genesis ports, joining games such as Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2, as well as – more recently – Ecco the Dolphin and Space Harrier II. I can make this easy for many of you; for those who enjoyed those Genesis […]

Sega’s Shining Force ($2.99) is the latest in what’s becoming a long line of Genesis ports, joining games such as Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2, as well as – more recently – Ecco the Dolphin and Space Harrier II.

I can make this easy for many of you; for those who enjoyed those Genesis remakes or remember Shining Force fondly from (nearly) 20 years ago, I strongly recommend the iPhone version. The same also goes for RPG fans who missed this title the first time around.

The game opens by giving you the basic storyline. Set in a land called Rune, an evil force that was banished 1,000 years ago has returned and assembled an army that you must battle. The game’s main character is a young warrior fresh out of training, and the team you assemble is known as the Shining Force.

While this story may not be the most compelling one for modern gamers, it’s certainly effective. But what any gamer will appreciate most is the game’s unique, turn-based battles that will provide hours of fun.

The battles take place on a sort of game board and require you to strategically place your units to achieve victory. Each character has distinct abilities, so some will be able to move more spaces each turn, while others will be able to attack from farther distances.

It’s sort of like Final Fantasy mixed with chess, and the battles can be surprisingly difficult and lengthy. It’s also a refreshing twist on the genre and a great selling point for the game.

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Aside from that, Shining Force is your typical RPG. You gain experience points through fighting and are able to use magic and items to restore hit points, in addition to other features.

Like Sega’s previous ports, the game includes a d-pad and buttons that are replicas of the Genesis controller. The game is presented in full-screen mode and the buttons are opaque, so there’s no wasted space on your iPhone’s screen.

The original game from 1992 was nothing special in terms of graphics and sound, and this being a port, the same holds true for the app. While purists will certainly be grateful these things have been left the same, others should know the presentation leaves something to be desired.

But that kind of stuff has never been the most important part of RPG games, and fortunately just about everything else in Shining Force scream, “Awesome!” For $3, this app is a no-brainer for ex-Genesis users and RPG fans alike, and here’s hoping that Sega keeps them coming.

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