Lunar: Silver Star Story was one of the most memorable RPG experiences I’ve ever had. Perhaps I’m chalking that up to the fact that it’s one of the first games I felt any sort of drive to complete 100%, special items and all. Or maybe it’s the fact that I played it at such a young and impressionable age. Whatever the case, the tale of young aspiring Dragonmaster Alex and his childhood friend Luna resonated with me. It felt like one of the most fantastic tales I had played in quite some time, and I will always remember my first brush with it. My delight upon learning of the mobile port for iPad and iOS devices was nearly unmatched – finally, I could share the game I loved so much in my youth with the friends without a PSP or means of playing the game otherwise. Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch was my answer.
The latest port (which does not draw from the recent PSP iteration or include the extra content) is a straight adaptation of Working Designs’ PlayStation port, and incorporates touch screen controls with the classic RPG exploration mechanics to create a satisfying amalgam that feels quite natural – quite a feat when it comes to mobile gaming today. With turn-based battles, the meat and potatoes of Lunar, this mobile port applies touch control to give speed and organization freaks the upper hand when it comes to assigning attacks and navigating menus. Rather than having to painstakingly move through every selection in battle and assign attacks using a clumsy directional pad, you can click and choose by touch. Easy, simple, and quick. It cuts down on time considerably. It doesn’t seem like such a change would make such a big difference in gameplay, but in a genre like this where games easily take upward of 40 hours to complete, each second saved is always appreciated.
The game has received a noticeable upgrade as far as graphics go as well, with slicker, sleeker sprites that look decidedly more colorful and upscaled gorgeously on the iPad, where I had my playthrough. It’s bright, cheery, and even the text has been given an easier-to-read facelift. This is the best it’s looked since the PSP iteration, as far as an HD update from the original game.
The changes are purely aesthetic, but they improve the already fantastic adventure dramatically, cleaning up the pixilated text and nameplates of old and polishing up a beloved adventure that like many of its peers seems to be losing steam as the years pass. The tale of Alex, Luna, and the rest of the gang is especially timeless, and it receives the well-deserved update it’s always needed to make it accessible and open to new players.
There aren’t as many bells and whistles in Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch like we saw with the PSP improvement, but it’s a classic game that should definitely be picked up and played. It doesn’t rely on a sandy or rust-grey color palette or DLC or some two-dimensional plot regarding an alien invasion, but it does pack a lot of heart. The rise of a young boy to legendary status and the bittersweet tale of young lovers endeavoring to protect the world they love is one you shouldn’t miss, traditional JRPG trappings aside. There’s plenty to see, collectibles to snap up, and gorgeous anime cut scenes to take in, and now that it’s gone portable across iOS devices, now’s the best time to take the plunge.
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