Slightly cheesy dialogue! Slashing! Chests popping open to reveal treasure! Magic attacks! You can now experience a whole new set of these things on Android and iOS by picking up the free Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, now available in all regions. Square Enix is calling this “a new kind of smartphone RPG”… so what’s new about it? I checked it out today and have some hasty thoughts.

The native-to-smartphone ‘swipe and tap’ mechanics feel real good. Much better than playing a clunkily-ported game that was originally developed for a controller (I’m looking at you, other Final Fantasy games on mobile). That’s not the only thing that’s changed: you no longer ‘walk around the world’ in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. Progress is made by tapping on the next location on the map, and then fighting a series of battles with cutscenes placed between them. So that’s different. Certainly less exploration in this new format. Then there’s the way Final Fantasy Brave Exvius requires an internet connection to play. Nothing new for a Free to Play game, but this one seems to be downloading new zones as you choose to explore them. So that’s… new.

“A crystal vagina appears in the sky and a girl is trapped inside it.”

What’s not new, as far as I can tell, is the plot. So far it’s about two dudes. One is emotional and brash (Rain) and the other is experienced and wise (Lasswell). They’re old buddies with a troubled relationship due to their differing personality types. Then a crystal vagina appears in the sky and a girl is trapped inside it (Fina). She explains to them that the world needs saving. Monsters, etc. So yeah. Same old. Maybe it gets more original later?

To be honest, I haven’t played enough of the game to truly judge Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. I know it has microtransactions. I wonder if those will ruin it in the long run. Or maybe they won’t. What do you guys think?