A promising for what could be, a new series.

User Rating: 8.5 | Chaos Rings IOS
So my first iPhone game (Resident Evil: Degeneration) wasn't a huge success… But I didn't let that knock me out, so it was back to the internet to see if there are any good iPhone games, with the exception of Angry Birds. This is where I hear an awful lot about infinity Blade. How it's supposed to be really good and really beautiful. So I… didn't buy it. No instead, I went with Chaos Rings, a JRPG that is supposed to be really good, even better than Final Fantasy 13. Being surprised over the fact that there's actually a well-reviewed JRPG out there (and FF13 was a disappointment), I dived in to Chaos Rings.

Chaos Rings follows four couples: Escher & Musiea, Eluca & Zhamo, Ayuta & Princess Mana and Olgar & Vhati (there's also a fifth couple, but they aren't playable). They've all been mysteriously transported to the Ark Arena. Here, they are told by a mysterious being called "The Agent," that they must go out and collect Chaos Rings, then pair the couples against each other in tournament based fights. They aren't doing this for nothing however. The winning couple receives immortality and eternal youth.

The story is told from each couple's perspective, and each couple has their own stories. They aren't intertwined as you might think. Rather the game has you play through the game has each couple, focusing on their story alone. This is a good thing, because it keeps the story from becoming too complicated and confusing. Most of the characters do have some good personalities and some great background stories. That being said though, not all of the characters are likeable, like Escher. The mystery behind the Ark Arena is also pretty intriguing.

Another problem with the story is consistency. For example, in Escher & Musiea's story, she's after Escher because he killed the people at her orphanage. Yet in other stories, they act like there isn't any problem between them at all. Another example is the Ayuta & Princess Mana couple. Here, Olgar & Vhati taunts Ayuta about the "last time", yet in Olgar's story it's completely vice versa. Though it can be somewhat explained, the lack of character consistency is notably weird. There are some interesting twists in some of the stories, but they get resolved in a very clichéd way.

Despite this though, the game does have an enjoyable and satisfying story. It also helps that the game's writing isn't too bad. Okay, it's nothing special or anything, but it does help you get invested in the game's universe. Sure the translation might have one or two iffy moments, but it's still a surprisingly good translation.


The game is a JRPG, almost in the traditional sense. There's random encounters and turn-based combat. It does try and bring something new to the genre. Firstly, you can fight each battle either solo, where you decide what each person shall do, or as a couple, where you only get one turn, but everything they do is twice as powerful. While the game does encourage using both options, I have a hard time seeing why. Sure if you get attacked as a couple, both characters receive damages. Yet if you also heal as couple, you usually get all your health back, since everything you do as a couple is twice as powerful.

The game also throws in a changing elemental system. Basically, both your characters and the monster change their elemental status, depending on what kind of magic they use. This results in almost constant changes among the elemental strengths and weakness. While I like it, it does require a bit of luck sometimes, as the enemies (whom later on will always have a turn before you) almost does nothing but use different elemental attacks, making it difficult to use their weakness.

The game also has a break meter. Basically the more attacks one of the couples do, the more of an initiative that side have. When someone has the initiative, they deal more damage to the enemy, and have a higher chance of having completely resisting the enemies attack. It actually works really well, and it often makes fights tenser, as each battle can shift completely.
As you proceed through each environment, the game will make you solve different puzzles. These all range about getting from Point A to Point B, though by various and limited means. They aren't that particular clever, and they do slow down the game when they appear, but they do create variety.

Each couple itself should take around 5 hours to complete each. While it seems short, there is an awful lot to unlock in the game. Once you finish the game for the first time, you can reload that save and gain access to an entirely new arena, complete with a new ending. Do this for every character and you unlock yet another part of the game, which also poses its own ending. In short, there are around 8 endings to uncover in the game, and getting to the ultimate ending should take around 25-30 hours.

Surprisingly, the game never got boring, despite the huge amount of times I had to replay the game. Each couple does have some special moments that do things a bit differently from the others. And as said, their personal issues and dramas are good enough to keep you invested into the characters. It might have some weaker things, but it's a game that manages to keep you invested and interested, meaning there's hardly a dull moment in the game.


Graphics & Sound
For an iPhone game, it looks stunning. The characters and monster design are great. But it's the art direction that really steals the show. You wouldn't think it would be possible for an iPhone game to render all of this, but it is possible, and by god does it look amazing.

The music sounds similar to many Squaresoft RPG's from the 90's, which isn't a bad thing. Though granted this is a game for a phone, you'll likely end up playing through most of the game, with the sound off. The game added voice acting as part of the later patches (it weren't available originally). The voices are Japanese only, and while the acting isn't the best, it's not bad either. It's kind of impressive to have voice acting for this kind of game on iPhone.


While I wouldn't say the game is better than Final Fantasy 13 necessarily, it is still a good iPhone game. It's backed up by an interesting concept. It shows promise of a new and interesting RPG series, which I might just become a huge fan of, if it continues to improve from here on. It's not a perfect game, but it's an interesting one never the less.