Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding Hands-On

The chocobo song's back, and so are Cloud's crazy bumps and tricks.

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SAN FRANCISCO--Square Enix, which has been regarded as one of the US mobile games scene's slumbering giants, is officially out of its bed and trundling toward the shower. The Japanese firm is on the verge of releasing two brand-new games on an as-yet unannounced handset...and one of them is sure to stoke the eternal flame of Final Fantasy fan sentiment to a roaring bonfire. Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding looks like a solid re-creation of the snowboarding minigame from the seminal PlayStation game's "Golden Saucer" casino area.

Oh, he's gellin'.
Oh, he's gellin'.
Like the minigame that inspired it, Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding challenges players to race down an icy track while collecting balloons and dodging hapless moogles in the process. Once again, you'll be able to choose from three difficulty settings, each more moogle-ridden than the last. The games controls are handled entirely by the navigation bar, but they don't seem much less fluid than they were on the old digital PlayStation controller.

Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding's simply textured 3D graphics animate at a respectable 15-plus frames per second. For a racing minigame, speed is all that's truly essential. Cloud's character model is less detailed than his PlayStation counterpart, but his spiky hair is in full effect.

Giant moogles, kupo!
Giant moogles, kupo!
However, the game's graphics are nothing compared to its background music track, which is a mobile mix of the series' infectious chocobo race tune. And it's still just as evocative of the game's heartwarmingly goofy animals as it ever was. Call it Square Enix's Baby Elephant Walk.

While the appeal of a minigame doesn't last forever, mobile gaming is about compromise. Besides, if you've got spiky hair and speedy gameplay, what more do you need? Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding is a game that will most assuredly appeal to a wide audience.

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