After I basically gave up hope that they’d update them, Square Enix finally pushed out major updates for the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series on mobile and Steam bringing in features from last year’s console releases. Not all platforms were treated equally though, but a lot has changed for the better if you own or are looking to buy the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster games on iOS, Android, and Steam. Last year, I compared the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster across console, mobile, and PC to help people decide which version they should play, and also to find out which version I considered the best overall. This new Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster platform comparison in 2024 aims to help you decide which platform is the best version specifically for you, and also to showcase any improvements since launch across the board while covering the state of the games today. I will compare features, performance, convenience, price, and more for the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series on Nintendo Switch, iPhone, iPad, and PS5 here.
Note that while the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster games are PS4 games, they run via backward compatibility on PS5, and that’s how I’ve tested them for this article. The Switch versions have been tested on Nintendo Switch OLED and Nintendo Switch Lite. I’ve also detailed what the current and existing issues are in these ports in the visuals and performance section of this article. The iPhone versions have been played on iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 14 Plus, and iPhone 12. The iPad versions have been played on iPad Pro (2020).
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series explained
If you’re completely new to the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series, it brought the first six Final Fantasy mainline games to iOS, Android, and Steam. These releases aimed to bring the gorgeous pixel aesthetic of the original games to modern displays with quality of life improvements, new arranged music, and more. The classic Final Fantasy games have hit mobile and some have even been on PC before, but we’ve never had 2D versions of Final Fantasy III or Final Fantasy IV on mobile or PC before and PC never saw any version of the first two main games before this set of releases.
When the games were brought over to console, Square Enix released the collection on PS4 and Nintendo Switch with a slew of improvements and updates making those versions the best. Back then, I played the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series on my PS5 through backward compatibility and also my Nintendo Switch OLED model and Switch Lite. The new console versions debuted with a pixel font option, the ability to use the original soundtrack in addition to the new arrangements, many difficulty modifiers, and more.
As of last week, Square Enix updated the Steam and mobile versions of the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series. The Steam version got all of the improvements and new options, but the mobile version didn’t end up getting everything.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster on iOS and Android got the in-game boosts like the experience gain modifiers, no encounter toggle, and more. The highlight was also controller support finally being added into the mobile versions of the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series. Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series on Steam got the fixes and updates mobile received, but also had a classic font and alternate music option. For some reason Square Enix didn’t add these to mobile, which is very disappointing. I can’t imagine it is too much of a file size increase to warrant them being afraid, but I’d love for this to be added. Right now, Square Enix is treating the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series on mobile as a lesser version despite the high asking price.
Shaun reviewed the complete Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster collection on Switch here. You can also read his detailed reviews of the individual games. Check out his review of Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster here, Final Fantasy 2 Pixel Remaster here, Final Fantasy 3 Pixel Remaster here, Final Fantasy 4 Pixel Remaster here, Final Fantasy 5 Pixel Remaster here, and Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Remaster here on iOS. He also did a special RPG Reload on them here.
Now let’s get into the comparisons and differences.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster features by platform
As of the first week of February 2024, there are no major differences in features between PS5 (PS4), Nintendo Switch, and Steam. The mobile versions are lacking the new music and font options, but barring that, all versions have the important features included now. To reiterate, the mobile versions were updated with controller support, boosts, game-specific fixes, and more.
The boosts or difficulty modifiers on all platforms let you adjust a few gameplay elements like experience from 0 to 4x, turn off random encounters, and more.
The new option to let PlayStation, Switch, and Steam owners use the original soundtrack means the in-game music player on those versions lets you listen to both the new arrangements for the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster and the original soundtracks. The PS4 version includes trophy support as well with each game having its own platinum trophy if that matters to you. All versions also have the ability to skip some cut-scenes which previously could not be skipped on PC and mobile versions.
On paper, the console and Steam versions are easily the way to go for the new font and soundtrack options included, but what about performance and price?
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster price on Switch, PS4, PC, and mobile
All six games are available separately or in a Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster I – VI Bundle on iOS, Switch, PS4, and Steam. Buying the games individually ends up costing a lot more so keep that in mind before you make your purchase. You cannot upgrade to the bundle for a discount. Currently, the bundle is priced at approximately $65 on iOS, $75 on PS4(PS5 backward compatibility), $75 on Switch, and $75 on Steam. There is no bundle for Google Play as of this writing. Square Enix also discounted the games recently for a limited time.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster font – which version has the font fixed?
On PS4/PS5, Steam, and Nintendo Switch, you can use the new Pixel Font which isn’t perfect, but a massive improvement over the original font. This option is not present on mobile sadly, and is the only major flaw left in the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster on mobile.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster – visuals and performance
All versions look the same outside of the font options. Performance is where things differ. The Switch version and mobile devices have similar additional performance issues due to poor frame pacing. Note that on the iOS side of things, this isn’t consistent and will vary by device. These frame pacing issues are not present to the same degree in the PC version and some mobile devices, and the PS4 version (on PS5) in my testing. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but it is noticeable enough to annoy me until I get used to it in an hour or so. Load times are also where things differ. PS4 on PS5 and PC on an SSD offer the fastest loading. Switch is slower than most mobile devices as well. On iPhone 15 Pro, I had no issues with the mobile versions load times.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster scrolling issues and performance issues explained
There are two major issues in the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series across platforms right now. The first is the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster scrolling issue that affects every version on every platform regardless of your hardware. This is the persistent feel of judder or what makes the game not have smooth movement. This happens because the characters move at 80 px/sec which is faster than the game’s own frame rate. The solution to this would be Square Enix patching the games to have movement at 60 px/sec or 120 px/sec to be double the target. You could also try and uncap it to 80 on PC, but I didn’t try any mods here.
One easy way to notice this is when you move diagonally compared to horizontally. The movement speed lines up better there. You can also see how smooth movement should feel in the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster by playing Final Fantasy V and moving on a Chocobo on PS4 / PS5. This is also a good place to perfectly see the second performance issue the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster features on some platforms. The video below from AustinSV on YouTube (one of my favorite channels for games) timestamped does a fantastic job of showcasing the technical issues:
On Switch and some mobile devices, in addition to the scrolling issues, the games feature some noticeable frame pacing issues. Digital Foundry has covered frame pacing issues quite a bit, but what basically happens especially on Switch, is an additional feeling of choppy animations or stutter when it isn’t actually dropping frames, but not being able to display frames at a constant pace. As an example, a game running at 60fps should display each frame at 16.67 milliseconds. If that doesn’t happen, you will no longer feel like the game is running smoothly despite it actually still reporting 60fps as the frame rate.
This is where the frame time graph comes into the picture. I realize I’ve gone quite a bit off topic to try and explain these two issues, but I hope to help you understand that the issues in the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series’ performance are not just “low frame rate” like I’ve seen mentioned online in places.
Right now, the only way to fix this is Square Enix patching the movement speed or player mods on the PC version. There is no other solution. If you play the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster and don’t notice any of these issues or aren’t bothered by them, that’s fine as well. For those who haven’t bought the games yet or are sensitive to specific scrolling and performance issues, I wanted to try and be as clear as possible. I’ve dropped games that have awful frame pacing at 60fps before, and would’ve loved to have not wasted money on them had I known the technical issues. The Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster games are not cheap, and the bundle costs as much as a full priced modern game so I hope this article helped explain the current technical issues present years later.
If you didn’t want to get into the details of these issues, let me summarize them for you:
- iOS: Scrolling issues but no major frame pacing issues on newer devices.
- PS4 (on PS5): Scrolling issues but no major frame pacing issues.
- Switch (on OLED and Lite): Scrolling issues and frame pacing issues.
- Steam (on Steam Deck): Scrolling issues but no major frame pacing issues.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster – controller support
As of this writing, all versions of the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster offer controller support. Previously only PS4, Switch, and Steam versions had it, but the iOS and Android versions received it in last week’s update. I tested this with multiple controllers on iPhone and iPad, and had no issues. You need to enable the controller support as shown in the image above. This is only possible when you have a controller paired or attached to your device.
Which version of Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster is the best? – PC, mobile, Switch, or PS5
In its current state, the objectively best versions are on PC and the PS4 version played on PS5. This is because they offer the smoothest experience despite suffering from a few issues that all versions have. With the additional font and soundtrack options, all versions barring mobile offer the most complete and polished experience.
If you don’t have a problem with the font and don’t care about the classic soundtrack option, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series on mobile has enough fixed and updated now to warrant it being a worthy consideration. The technical improvements over Switch already make it better on that front.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster – Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch for the best portable version
The Switch version even with the performance issues was previously better than the Steam Deck version thanks to all the additional features included. These have since been patched into the Steam version making the Steam Deck the best portable way to play the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series across the board.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster physical release
If you, like me, enjoy owning physical games, the only version available is the Asia physical release on Switch which I recently bought. The North American and European PS4/Switch physicals are long sold out. I hope Square Enix re-releases the physical in the future. Right now, the only way to get a physical release is the Asia Switch version. The version I own from Asia is pictured above.
Which version of Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster should you buy?
If you value portability above all and have access to multiple platforms, the Steam Deck is the best place to get the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series right now. While the Switch version has the font and music options that aren’t on mobile, it suffers from added performance and technical issues. These might not be as big of a problem for you as they were for me, but it is unfortunate that Square Enix is yet to fix any of the poor scrolling issues since launch on all platforms.
If you don’t care about portability, the PS4 version on PS5 or the PC version will be the best version of the game for you. I’d also recommend installing the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster games on your PS5 SSD for the best experience.
If the font doesn’t bother you and you don’t care about the classic soundtrack option, the mobile version is at par with the Steam version on Steam Deck on any modern iOS device. The mobile version also has cloud saves across devices.
Once the font is fixed, I will likely make the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series on mobile the go to way for me to replay these games.
Hopefully my new Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster 2024 platform comparison helped you decide where to buy the newest release of the classic Final Fantasy games. I’m hoping Square Enix eventually patches mobile versions to get the font and music options, because right now the iOS and Android versions are lacking on that front.
Right now, the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series is available on iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, Steam, and PS4 (playable on PS5 through backward compatibility).
If Square Enix patches the mobile versions, I’ll update this feature.