iOS And Android Wish List: Einhander
This mostly forgotten Square Enix shooter deserves another chance, with mobile being an ideal landing spot.
Over the past couple of years, we've seen Square Enix release a slew of classic games from its celebrated catalogue, such hits as the original Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger, all three of which are RPGs. Although we expected as much (the company practically defined the role-playing genre), there's more to Square Enix than health potions and job systems. That said, it would be great to see the publisher dig a little deeper and bring some of the more obscure games to iOS and Android, and today, we request Einhander.
Released in Japan and the U.S. in 1997 and 1998, respectively, Einhander was Square Enix's first foray into the shooting genre. Its arrival was somewhat of a surprise to players, simply because they had never seen something like this from the house that Final Fantasy built. It was a huge departure from the norm, but with Final Fantasy VII firmly under its belt (another 97 release) and a strong foothold on Sony's PlayStation, we couldn't help but applaud the company's decision to dabble.
Thing is, Einhander was surprisingly good, with furious arcade-style blasting, a neat weapon system and quality pulse-pounding music. It was a refreshing change of pace from turn-based battles, and we immediately snagged it on launch day.
Thankfully, it didn't disappoint. Featuring 2.5D graphics and a horizontal perspective, Einhander plunged fans into a war between the Earth and the Moon, as they (on the Moon's side) guided a spacecraft on a kamikaze mission to basically tear the planet to pieces before meeting an explosive end. The first mission is especially cool, with the spacecraft blasting through neon signs while speeding past skyscrapers at night.
As for the arsenal, blowing up enemies resulted in weapons temporarily floating around, and picking one up automatically imbued the player with a Vulcan, beam sword and more; ships come equipped with gunpods to hold these weapons, with a manipulator device snagging them from the sky. On top of that, multi-tiered bosses slowly came apart during combat.
Last, but certainly not least, is the soundtrack by Kenichiro Fukui, who also worked on Project Sylpheed, Lord of Arcana and, oddly enough, Lethal Enforcers. The thumping beat fits the game's overall mood, giving us something to nod our heads to while causing destruction.
As much as we'd love to revisit Einhander on mobile, it remains to be seen whether Square Enix could even bring the game to the U.S., since Sony published it in North America. Regardless, it's been far too long since we've played this PSOne shoot-em-up, and a reunion is definitely in order, preferably on smartphones and tablets.