Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is the reason I bought a Sony Playstation so many years ago. Having read about Lunar: Silver Star on Sega CD for so many years in what eventually became a very beat-up copy of Diehard GAMEFAN, I jumped at the chance of picking up a modernized take on a supposed classic. On a system known for many great roleplaying games, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete stood above the rest.
Sadly, in a pinch years ago, I parted with my copy of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and Lunar: Eternal Blue, amongst other treasured games. I thought I would never see them again.
Enter SoMoGa, the team that ported Vay, the only other Sega CD game I wanted but never played, to the App Store a few years ago. Back in April 2011, Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch was announced for the App Store. Finally, Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch is here.
Let’s address the elephant in the room for people who have played the game on PSX. The voice acting was taken directly from XSEED’s Lunar: Silver Star Harmony on PSP. Only Jenny Stigile, Luna’s singing voice, makes a return. Purists may disappointed. There’s no getting around Ghaleon’s decidedly less “flavorful,” but it still sounds great all around. Moreover, the remastered soundtrack is a change that we can put in the improvement category.
Being a port to iOS means some control issues come with it. There are three methods of movement, none of which are particularly strong. When played in vertical orientation, you get a miniature gamepad. However, the actual game gets squashed onto the top half of the screen making it difficult to see on iPhone and iPod Touch. In landscape orientation, you can choose to tap to move or use a virtual analog. None of them work perfectly, though a mixture of tap to move and virtual analog seems to work pretty well.
Combat takes place on a regular 2D sideview plane, but characters and enemies move around within that space. These spacial concerns can really make or break your battle. Lunar takes something so familiar and makes it feel unique. Considering the combat is turn-based, rather than real-time or speed-based, this is an accomplishment.
The touch controls in combat are solid overall. You may make slight mistakes when enemies are clustered, but I haven’t had too many problems. There is also an auto-battle mode, but it’s too liberal with its skill usage to suit me. The controls feel intuitive and, though they didn’t explain it, swiping left to cancel the previous action feels like second nature.
Boss battles are difficult, which seems like something that should be said about every game but just isn’t the standard. Unless you manage to severely over-level your characters, you’re going to have a hard time through most of the game.
For everything that Lunar does right, however, it seems to botch another.
Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch has modern RPG conventions, such as the ability to avoid enemy encounters by evading monsters on the map. However, you need to grind out levels, thus negating that convenience. While experience grinding was standard twenty years ago when Lunar: Silver Star was released on Sega CD, it slows the narrative to a crawl.
When you reach a cut scene, though, it feels like you are rewarded for all your troubles. There is nearly an hour’s worth of animation to be seen, and it looks great on smaller iOS devices. There is a slight hitch for people playing in landscape mode as all videos begin in vertical orientation before turning and scaling, but it’s not a big deal.
Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch remains lighthearted for far longer than most roleplaying games of that era. That lighthearted nature, along with the aforementioned cut scenes, goes a long way to fleshing out the characters. Moreover, it adds levity to the situation when things go awry for Alex and the gang. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Lunar’s ending is heart-wrenching and heartwarming at the same time. It perfectly closes one of the greatest stories in any RPG.
SoMoGa’s added the ability to save anywhere to Lunar: SSST. While this seems like a great idea considering the platform, I worry that some hapless players may save in a dungeon and get stuck in a game-breaking situation with low hp and mp and no way to recover. I’d highly suggest creating a save file for when drudging through dungeons and another one for navigating the overworld to avoid ruining an otherwise excellent experience.
Many people believe the Japanese RPG is a dying breed, left languishing and outdated, surpassed by its Western counterparts. They think JRPGs are a relic of the past that simply have no place in modern gaming. Those people need a refresher in just why Japanese role-playing games once ruled the gaming world. Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch is a perfect reminder of how a strong narrative and stellar presentation can turn an average game into something truly great.
(Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch is universal and available in the App Store for $6.99. It is GameCenter-compatible and features achievements, but they don’t appear to be working properly at the time of this writing. We did have two random crashes, once when opening a treasure chest and once right before a cut scene, but nothing horrible. The default iPhone overlay cannot be toggled off, but SoMoGa stated it will be removable in a future update.)Tweet
About the Author
|Fade to Slack is a founding member of Delta Attack, an American expatriate in South Korea, and a true believer in the legitimacy of mobile gaming.
Keep up with him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Fade2Slack so he can justify having a Twitter account.
Fade to Slack has written 308 posts on Delta Attack.