Lunar
Lunar: Silver Star Story was originally released on the Sega Saturn in 1996

Key Features:

  • Developer - SoMoGa Inc.
  • Release - Out Now
  • Format - iOS
  • Device tested - iPhone 4
  • Price - £4.99

Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch

Dragons, swords, magic and teenagers - the set up for Lunar: Silver Star Story is standard fantasy. Back in 1996, when the game originally launched on the Sega Saturn, the premise seemed weak; in today's post-Final Fantasy world, it can barely hold itself up. But with the iPhone's touch controls thrown into the mix, even this very old dog seems capable of new tricks.

SoMoGa's iOS adaptation of Game Arts' RPG classic is nostalgia with a twist.

Alex, a young boy from a small, forest settlement, sets off with his pals to fight monsters, cast spells and eventually become a Dragon Master, just like his mythical idol, Dyne. Combat is turn-based, and the world itself is navigated in 2D - lustrous, colourful 2D.

Lunar looks great: The graphics haven't changed that much since its Saturn heyday, but SoMoGa has spat and polished the cutesy pixels to warrant a 2012 release.

And this isn't your usual mobile game, where you can pick it up, put it down and finish it off in just a few hours. Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch is a console RPG, with an average playtime of about 25 hours. For some, that'll be a turn off; mobile games are built around the morning commute, where sitting down and getting inside a fantasy world are hardly priorities.

lunar fight

But for the kind of person who bought GTA III Mobile this year - who uses their iPhone to play Sword and Sworcery at lunchtime, or Waking Mars in bed - Lunar has staying power.

So, the controls. Though a bit fiddly to begin with, the virtual d-pad and touch sensitivity are welcome shortcuts around the RPG genre's cumbersome, complex menu screens. Equipment can be chopped and changed on-the-fly; tap the screen, tap the character and then tap whatever item or weapon you want them to use - easy.

Combat, too, has been touch-streamlined: Instead of manually moving a cursor over which character to use and which enemy to attack, again, you just need to tap. Lunar is still a sucker for micro-management, but the iPhone's screen helps out with at least some of the work.

Nevertheless, this is still a nostalgia trip, and if you aren't acquainted with Lunar already you might struggle to fall for its Super-Nintendo looks and throwback gameplay. We'd encourage you to give it a try, but at £4.99 this isn't a mobile game you can just fritter away.

As the iOS platform goes, Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch is an epic-novel; for those not already used to its nineties quirks, it could be difficult to get into.

For everybody else, this is essential. Neat graphics, revamped combat and a story that's at least half-baked make Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch the best mobile game of this week. A 2D stroll down memory lane, Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch is available on iOS, now.

Overall Score: 8/10