I have been a fan of Secret of Mana for years. I played it when it first came out for the SNES, and I’ve played most of the sequels that have been released since (none really compare). So when I saw that it was available for the iOS, I jumped on it, and by and large, I’ve been happy. The software itself works very well, it hasn’t crashed on me once, and the gameplay is just as I remember it, with one exception: the iPhone doesn’t have a d-pad.
I don’t know about most people, but my thumb/fingers do not easily glide on the iPhone screen. They kind of “stick” or “drag”. So the fact that this is how you move around the screen, takes some real getting used to. What also takes time is figuring out the wheel interface when you’re used to the SNES controller. It’s not very intuitive for a touch interface, but I’m sure they just wanted to leave the screen nice and simple, rather than adding more buttons.
Is the game what I remember? Yes. Complete with the seemingly endless grinding of weapons and magic. Is it as good as if Square-Enix had ported it to the Nintendo DS? No, no way. Several older Final Fantasy’s, and ChronoTrigger have both been ported to the DS, and vs. the version on iOS, the physical interface of the DS is far superior to the iOS’s virtual interface. Maybe the current generation of gamers will disagree, but if Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft can all weather the storm of “OMG, iPhone/Android gaming!” and continue to release good products/games, I think they’ll be fine. People still play board/card games because the interface is better than a digital version of the same game (Settlers of Catan is a lot easier, more fun, to play on the table top, than on the iOS). Sure, those companies may need a reality check, but the interface that’s BUILT for doing something is always going to win out over the generic interface, virtual or not.
All and all, the game is great. The interface, through very little fault of their own, sucks. I just hope Square-Enix ports the game to an actual gaming device at some point. Maybe I’ll just pick it up through the Virtual Console store.