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TGS 2005: Ys IV: Mask of the Sun Hands-On

We get our hands on this port of the Super Famicom game at TGS 2005.


TOKYO--Ys IV: Mask of the Sun was originally a Super Famicom game that never saw a release outside of Japan. The port of Mask of the Sun to mobile might suffer the same fate, as there has been no release date, as of yet, scheduled for any other territory. It's too bad, particularly because the Ys franchise is quite popular in Japan, and would probably succeed, at least given its cult popularity, elsewhere. However, aside from the recent Ys VI: Ark of Napishtim, Ys games have not been translated to other regions in quite a long time. For this reason, you might not know that the hero of Mask of Sun, the red-haired Adol Christian, is the protagonist of all the Ys games. Fortunately, you don't need to be familiar with the story to appreciate each individual entry into the series.

We ran around the town and engaged in a few battles with young Adol, and we can report that the game feels very good on the mobile platform. Although the game isn't as smooth as its SNES predecessor, the discrepancy is only noticeable if you directly compare the two, as the mobile version still controls well, especially given the natural difficulties of implementing console-based control schemes on cell phones. It looks good, too--an excellent translation of Ys' artistry into a more limited format. Although the story and appearance of the game are different from other RPGs, the gameplay is traditional in many respects. The objective is to engage in battles, gain experience, progress the story, and continually upgrade your armor and equipment. There are three slots to choose from in Mask of the Sun: one for your weapon, another for shield, and one for armor. In towns, you interact with other characters and spend time in shops.

Ys: Mask of the Sun is a good port of an interesting game that may not revolutionize RPG mechanics, but is a worthy representation of the genre nonetheless. We hope to get the good news that this game will see a North America release, but given the amount of localization that would be necessary, it might not be possible. We'll provide more information on Ys IV: Mask of the Sun as it is made available.

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