My biggest problem with Final Fantasy XV was that it felt like a mess of ideas. Consequentially, it never felt like Final Fantasy to me, which I think was its biggest crime. I downloaded the new mobile game, Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, as a joke. "Maybe this will actually be better than the game itself," was a thought that crossed past in my head. ...It's not. It's somehow worse.
Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire is essentially everything you probably hate about free-to-play mobile games, amped up to a million. It's the antithesis to the charming, freeing, enjoyable Love Nikki Dress Up Queen. It's where mobile games go to fester and die, staring at your screen as you wait twelve real-life minutes as a hammer motions back and forth, waiting for a building to upgrade for no discernible reason. (Defense? Strategy? For something.)
As expected, A New Empire is nothing like the game it's borne from. Noctis pops up to spout tutorials, but he's hardly the grumpy prince that we come to know and hate in Final Fantasy XV. His betrothed Luna even makes an appearance, but she too is peddling mobile game nonsense to the player. A New Empire could serve better to the game it shares a name with if its characters even carried a hint of similarities to their parallel selves in RPG-land.
It seems I'm not alone in my dislike of the incredibly generic A New Empire, a tedious game about building up a city and the fortress surrounding it. After joining an in-game guild, a chat was flooding the bottom of the screen constantly. Every message was some form of "what's the point of this" or the poetic, "I HATE THIS GAME I HATE THIS GAME I HATE THIS..." On the App Store, the user reviews are a blend of overtly positive, probable bots ("One of the best games I've ever played"), to one-star negatives ("Terrible UI and unfun game, would not recommend this to my worst enemy.")
Perhaps A New Empire would feel like a better game if it paid homage more to the game it spawns from. Whether that's in characterization of its familiar heroes, callbacks to the original game in some odd way. Maybe even if the game took place after the events of Final Fantasy XV (ignoring some of its notable, later happenings), focusing on you rebuilding Noctis' home city? Something hopeful and positive for the future, kinda like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's home-building quests. Mobile games don't have to all be bland, lifeless Game of War clones. But I guess Square Enix didn't get the memo.
If for some disturbed reason you're curious about wasting time on your phone, Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire is available for free on iOS and Android. But honestly, Episode Prompto is probably far more worth your time.