Chaos Rings wins the battle for Windows Phone 8 compatibility

We didn’t exactly get a new Xbox Windows Phone release this week, but Windows Phone 8 gamers DO get something new to play. Square Enix’s Chaos Rings, one of the highest profile games on the incompatibility list, is finally Windows Phone 8 compatible!

The game launched only for Windows Phone 7 back in March, hugely disappointing Windows Phone 8 RPG fans. Earlier this week it started showing up in the Store on Windows Phone 8 devices, but couldn’t actually be downloaded by most users. Just an hour or so ago, several of us managed to download it at last. The game's Store web page was down all week and just came back up as well. At last!

Four stories, one huge adventure

The story of Chaos Rings revolves around eight people who must participate in a mysterious tournament against their wills. The winners receive eternal life while the losers unfortunately stop living. Each of the four pairs has their own short playthrough (around six hours), and finishing everyone’s story opens up a conclusion to the entire tale. Plus some equipment earned from enemies carries over between those stories. On the whole it’s a clever way to make the game digestible for mobile audiences.

Graphically, Chaos Rings works much like Final Fantasy VII. In the overworld, backgrounds are pre-rendered and characters are 3D. During battles and cinemas, everything uses 3D graphics. The original game dates back a couple of years, but the character designs still impress. The Windows Phone version gets two black borders on the sides, as opposed to Final Fantasy's single larger border. Chaos Rings also has a fantastic soundtrack (only available on iTunes, argh) and Japanese voice acting (with English text, of course).

Achievement preview

Square Enix’s previous RPG Final Fantasy had nothing but secret Achievements, so nobody could tell what the Achievements actually were without consulting an outside source like our guide. Chaos Rings thankfully has just one secret Achievement and it’s for fighting a boss after completing everything in the game.

The rest of the Achievements come from completing each scenario and maxing a character, which I’m told is relatively painless if you know what to do. Just make sure NOT to go through the Original Door after completing a team’s scenario, as you’ll miss out on that scenario’s Achievement.

We’ll go into more detail in our full review, after I’ve had time to play through everything for myself.

Not for the faint of wallet

Chaos Rings’ new Windows Phone 8 compatibility is nothing but good news for RPG fans. But people who think everything should cost a dollar or less are in for some disappointment with this one, as it’s the single most expensive Xbox Windows Phone game to date.  At $9.99 it actually costs a dollar more than the iOS version, which isn’t too uncommon but still worth noting.

Considering the iOS version launched at $12.99, it could have been worse. We are talking about a big budget RPG that offers more than 30 hours of gameplay and could easily sell for $30 as a 3DS or Vita retail title (but it IS downloadable on Vita). If this one sells well enough, maybe we'll get the prequel Chaos Rings Omega and Chaos Rings II as well. What do the RPG fans in the audience think?

Chaos Rings – Windows Phone 7 or 8 – 775 MB - $9.99 – Store Link

Thanks to EasyPeasyJD, Mark Tepper, and everyone else for the tip!

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • And bought
  • Plants Vs Zombies 2 is also out on app store today
  • Don't think that benefits WP users very much. :(
  • Hey paul, When are we getting plants vs zombies 2. And when is tentacles getting wp8 update?
  • Not sure on Tentacles - I fear it might never get one. Similar answer for PvZ 2. I talked to the devs at E3 and they're not announcing other platforms yet. Gotta give the paid iOS exclusivity time to wear off before they mention new platforms.
  • I love Tentacles :(
  • +920 wish Testacles would come to WP8
  • Uhm, what?
  • I'm really hoping that was some sort of auto-correct blunder ;-)
  • I like that game, wonder why it is v2 rather than an update for the original. Thanks for the info! Doh, not for WP, thanks Paul.
  • Square Enix are the father of my bastard children and the widowless husband of my Batchelor pads previous owner
  • Nice. I've been waiting for this. Thanks for the heads up.
  • Great news! I definitely know a few people that will love this game.
  • Please publish in Indonesia! I NEED to buy this game! :(
  • Agree, Final Fantasy is never released for Indonesia also. I think SE only releases for limited region
  • Switch to US region in settings will work?
  • Nope, because we have to use US Crédit card to purchase the game even after we change the region. Arrgghhhh....
  • It definitely works. First add the Paypal account to your Microsoft account. Then change your phone's region and reboot the phone.
  • PayPal isn't available in Indonesia as well. We have Operator Billing from 3 major operator here in Indonesia. Why the need of credit card or PayPal again? Developers should be aware of this and publish to Indonesia. "Hey we CAN BUY your apps using Operator Billing, so please publish it here!" :)
  • You can use paypal from indonesia..
    i have been buying games on my 920 using paypal..
    register your credit card with paypal and do the verification..
  • Sweeet
  • 8.99€...LOL yeah right. That'd be the day.
  • Yeah like that day it released for $12.99 on iOS....
  • I think you earn a lot
  • Used to have an iPhone, I loved this game! It is finally out for the far superior wp8!
  • I appreciate quality apps and games. Even at its price, I'm going to purchase it. We need more apps/games such as this to help grow the WP Community. These sort of level of quality help entice new users, then more and more publishers/company/devs would develop for WP.
  • Need dodonpachi.... Then my life would be complete. Glad to see more come over.
  • +1 I carry around my old WP7 phone sometimes just to play this game
  • Great news! I have been debating getting this, not from the cost, but from the fact that after trying the demo on my HTC Trophy, it runs a little slow. I am hoping that when I upgrade to WP8 in a few weeks, that it will run more smoothly with a newer phone with more RAM.
  • No worries. Games that were slightly laggy on my Trophy are buttery smooth on my 822. Normally I think the cell phone spec wars are stupid, but that 2nd core really does make a noticeable difference.
  • Graphically, Chaos Rings works much like Final Fantasy VII. In the overworld, backgrounds are pre-rendered and characters are 3D.
    2D? Looking forward to this game. The only reason I was hesitant to unload my LUmia 900. Now I can enjoy this bad boy on my everyday phone! downloading if I can clear enough space from my 1020.
  • A game that practically begs for a SkyDrive backup of save game data. Where is this ability, ms?
  • MS? Why is it up to Microsoft to add this feature? Should ask the game developer for this feature, not the OS maker.
  • Yes developers CAN add cloud functionality on their own accord. But until Microsoft requires it, many will choose not do so. Thus Microsoft really does need to make it a requirement.
  • Not a requirement, but MS must provide an API for cloud storage in their platforms. I mean a system API for owner skydrive account. Just like Xbox 360 cloud storage.
  • If they did that then the devs who have limited resources won't support WP8 because of the requirement.
  • We're specifically talking about Xbox games for WP. It's okay to hold them to a few standards, provided you don't make it prohibitively difficult. A standard API would be a big help.
  • I considered getting this back when I first got my iPad 2. I'm glad I didn't because I can now get it for my phone. Can anyone confirm what resolution this game runs at? 1280x768 or 800x480?
  • It's a Windows Phone 7 game so it runs at 800 x 480. WP7 games can't take advantage of WP8 resolutions.
  • I guess 2D backgrounds are 800x480 upscaled to higher res, but 3D can be rescaled without loss quality, it is 3D
  • Regardless of how good something looks upscaled, it's still only running upscaled at not at a native 1280 x 768 resolution. The higher WP8 screen resolution won't make extra detail come out that the game doesn't produce on its own.
  • "We are talking about a big budget RPG that offers more than 30 hours of gameplay and could easily sell for $30 on 3DS or Vita here."
    The $5 NBA Jam requires at least 30 hours to complete all of the Classic Campaign Achievements. Besides, play time value is greatly affected by replay value as well.
  • NBA Jam takes 30 hours to get the Achievements but it's really a 5 hour game that the developers ask us to beat 6 times. Chaos Rings on the other hand provides 30 hours of unique content.
  • Keith, that's like saying Angry Birds takes 100 hours to complete due to the infamous "destroy a gazillion blocks".
  • This is easily one of the best games on Windows Phones!
  • I been wanting to play this game for SOOOOO ling now I finally can!!
  • such as Chaos Rings, Asphalt 7, Modern Combat 4, NOVA 3, etc. should be on Windows 8/RT as well as Windows Phone.
    I hope Microsoft has Gameloft in line to support Windows Phone with their next set of games, e.g. Asphalt 8, but I also hope they're focused on bringing that gaming goodness to Windows 8/RT as well.
    Seriously, the Windows Phone's gaming catalogue looks amazing compared to Windows 8/RT.
  • Chaos Rings is a native WP7 game, so it couldn't be ported to Windows 8 as easily as WP8 games. But Gameloft definitely should bring all their WP8 games to Windows 8, I agree!
  • What is interesting is that Microsoft ported The Harvest from WP7 to Windows 8/RT but not to WP8.
    I wonder if the reason Chaos Rings launched first for WP7 is because it's from a Japanese developer, aimed at a Japanese audience, and WP8 has not yet been released in Japan (speaking of that, why the hell hasn't WP8 been released in Japan yet? I know that market is tough to get into because of the Japanese government's policies, but geez louise).
  • Chaos Rings would have launched on WP7 and WP8 at the same time but there was a compatibility issue. It took a while but they finally updated the game this week, fixing the issue. It's not a separate WP8 version. Agreed that The Harvest not coming to WP8 was odd.
  • Actually, if you buy asus laptops, you can already download asphalt 7. It seems the game is an asus exclusive, but hopefully only for now.
  • Still playing through spectral souls (amazing game) Wish i had the space to install both.
  • Bought through side loading from web, but even so it fails to install with 1.78gb memory free. Bah, I need to complete Mass Effect first (bonus level needs some strategy). My next phone has got to have at very least 16gb.
  • Finally! I look forward to playing this game on the go.  Thanks for the insight Paul.
  • Hope ya like it. I am digging it so far.
  • Nice!!
    ... But price is so high :(
  • I suppose for casual gamers it may be.  Core gamers would typically buy a game of this caliber for $10 without thinking twice.  This is a long, highly produced Square Enix RPG.  I think $10 is a steal!
  • Well, I am not a casul, since I love Dark Souls, Quake 3, Touhou... But I don't have much money, and 10$ in my country is not so small amount of money. It's around two weeks of my pocket money :/
    But yeah, if people saying that this is great game, I gonna buy it :)
  • Can't even buy it :-(
  • Why not?
  • Not available in my region
  • If you have a PayPal account, you can change your phone's region to the US and buy from the US WP Store.
  • Hmm, I'll try it at once, thanks for the tip
  • Wow, thanks for tip, Paul.
  • The Xbox LIVE gods praise us!
  • Yup! It's raining quality game.
  • We are talking about a big budget RPG that offers more than 30 hours of gameplay and could easily sell for $30 on 3DS or Vita here.
    It is $7.99 on Vita. I'm trying to decide between the two now.
  • It lags really bad on the Vita. I wouldn't get it on there unless it also lags on WP8
  • It's 7.99 on the Vita. Launched a couple months ago. Unfortunately, it lags like no other. Definitely buying this version.
  • Thanks for the heads up on the Vita lag. That makes my decision of which platform to get it on much easier.
  • Good to know! Dang, Square Enix brings their mobile RPGs to the Vita but not XBLA... At least we got it on Windows Phone though.
  • Sony and Square will forever be in bed together.
  • hmm for some reason i cant download it, i get an error code when i click on try or buy and the download says "awaiting attention", i also get an error when trying to view the screenshots too :/
  • Are you on Wi-Fi?
  • I still need to play more Order and Chaos, but....I'm buying this anyways!
  • Same here! Dividing time between them will be a challenge, but a fun one.
  • 920 heat check. Will it burn?
  • 3 hours last night, no heating.
  • hopefully we get another square enix rpg shortly wouldn't mind ff2 or ff3...
  • +1
  • This is the best game out fun playing this on wp7
  • Great news! Thanks!
  • Once again 512mb devices are left in the dark. :'(
  • Achievements should be secret, otherwise they are just tasks (like most "quests" these days)..
  • That's... a very interesting perspective. I don't think 99.9% of Achievement fans would agree.
  • Why doesn't 520 has more RPG games like gta, chaos etc? I meant big games compatible with 512 ram..
  • GTA isn't an RPG
  • Really ms 1Gb ram only :(
  • So what the story on the save system in this game?
    I would hope it's a save anywhere type of game since it's on a mobile device but I also purchased Spectral Souls  where you need to have a 15-30 min chunk of play time and can't save mid battle. 
    Not having frequent check points or save area could be a deal breaker for me.
  • Just rediculous of requires 1GB of ram. They could do it on wp7 device with just 512 ram, but not wp8 device? 
  • Blame, poor ram management. The main reason why Microsoft started to add 1Gb ram requirements for legacy Xbox live phone games is because there's a high chance of the game, locking up the phone.This makes to the phone reboot the os