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Handheld platforms have proven themselves over the past few years to be a good home for JRPGs.
The DS, PSP, 3DS and Vita have all played host to some excellent examples of the genre, and even iOS and Android devices have been getting in on the action to a certain degree. In the latter cases, this is particularly worthy of celebration, given the intentionally rather shallow, quick-hit nature of most mobile titles -- iOS and Android JRPGs offer some very welcome depth of gameplay for those who are tired of the scores of physics puzzles and endless runners available on the platforms.
One series that has done quite well for publisher Square Enix on iOS and Android is Chaos Rings, the brainchild of Wild Arms developer Media.Vision. Now three games strong, the series has an unusual structure, with players taking on the role of several different pairs of characters over the course of each game's story. Each couple's narrative is self-contained, but all come together at each game's conclusion to form a coherent storyline.
The games feature a combination of dungeon crawling represented through polygonal characters on pre-rendered backgrounds (a la PS1-era Final Fantasy), turn-based combat and puzzle sequences in which the couples must make their way through various rooms by manipulating blocks and switches to clear a path through the obstacles. The turn-based combat, meanwhile, features an interesting system of momentum -- keeping a "break" gauge in the player's half by killing enemies allows for additional damage to be inflicted; conversely, taking damage allows the player's opponents to gain the upper hand in the same way.
Siliconera reports that the first game in the series, simply titled Chaos Rings, is making the jump from iOS and Android to Sony's PlayStation Mobile platform next week. This means that it'll be playable on Vita as well as PlayStation-certified Android devices. It'll be a good fit for Vita's physical controls, but the touchscreen puzzles will also be able to remain intact, and an already nice-looking game should look lovely on the Vita's beautifully bright and clear screen. The only downside to the game being a PlayStation Mobile release rather than a standard PSN download is that it won't support trophies or other PSN features, which is a shame, but it's hardly a dealbreaker.
Unfortunately, there's been no confirmation of a North American or European release of the PlayStation Mobile version as yet, but given that the game has already been localized for its standard iOS and Android incarnations, it's not unreasonable to expect it to follow at some point in the near future.
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