For a while, there was a sizable difference between the quality of games on mobile devices and the quality of games on consoles or PC. As technology has progressed and the audience has expanded, the games available on mobile devices have changed and cell phones have become a viable option for gamers. This is partly because major publishers saw an opportunity and decided to squeeze their gigantic franchises into the portable market.
Here are just a handful of the major properties that successfully adapted their IPs for a different kind of gaming experience.
It just makes sense, when you think about it. Pokemon Go may differ greatly from the handheld games that inspired it, but what it gets right is the spirit of Pokemon . The appeal of the series lies in its emphasis on adventure. A game that uses GPS and a camera to deepen the engagement between players and their Pokemon is such a clever use of technology that I almost have to wonder how it didn’t happen sooner. With future compatibility with the Pokemon Let’s Go games on the Nintendo Switch, the move to mobile has come full circle.
The Tomb Raider franchise had some rough years. Before the Crystal Dynamics reboot, it was hard to point to any recent redeeming games in the series. Strangely, the exception to the rule was Lara Croft Go, which originally debuted on mobile devices. This game used turn-based mechanics and puzzles to put players in the shoes of the titular raider of tombs. Being that action games can be a bit tricky on a cell phone, this was a smart choice. The game was later ported to other systems.
The Final Fantasy series is everywhere and, despite being a huge fan, I couldn’t even give you a guess as to how many games there are within that franchise. What is clear is that the games have found some success on mobile devices, and this will hopefully continue to be the case. The older turn-based RPGs are slow enough for players to easily play on their phones, given the inclusion of enough quality of life enhancements. Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition offers players a neat little gateway to enjoy the story and world of the latest main release. Games like Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and Dissidia Omnia Opera are great ways to shine some light on the franchise’s many characters, albeit in a very typical, microtransaction-y fashion.
Animal Crossing on the GameCube was an incredible title that inspired a long series of zen-like town simulators. There is nothing about the experience that is demanding on hardware, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp shows just how well the experience can be distilled into smaller interactions with virtual animals. The personalities are gigantic, as is the amount of content a player can collect. With patience and a focus on relaxation, gamers can get quite a bit from the free download without ever having to pay a dime.
Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series took a very long time to find its footing in the United States. Most exposure to its characters came from the Super Smash Bros. games, which originally only had a couple of characters. Nowadays, a sizable chunk of the roster consists of these characters! There have been a handful of popular, and sometimes rare, Fire Emblem games to release on consoles and handhelds.
But perhaps one of the biggest ways gamers are enjoying the series is through the free-to-play Fire Emblem Heroes . The title is in no way a radical departure from the series that inspired it, although the combat has been simplified and there are stamina limits in place to impede progress and inspire microtransactions. The intensity of these limitations has decreased since launch, though.