Pocket Hound: Chocobo Panic is Fast-Fingered Fun

If you’re looking for a game to fill that chocobo-shaped hole in your heart between Final Fantasy XIII and FFXIV, your saving game might just be here. Maybe.

Chocobo Panic, which Square Enix just released last week for the iPad and iPhone, includes some fun innovations that make good use of the touch screen platform. Just don’t expect any story line or RPG action. Read on for the gist of this cute, twister-like game for fingers.

The premise for Chocobo Panic is simple: Catch chocobos. But you can’t do it haphazardly. In the top, left side of the screen, you’re given a target number of chocobos to catch. Target the correct color, and hold them in place by touching and the screen. But don’t let go! Hold your finger on the screen until you’re told to release that chocobo. You’ll eventually work your way up to holding up to six chocobos at once. The harder the level, the more you must catch, and the faster they flap about the screen. Make three mistakes, by either touching or releasing the wrong chocobo, and the game ends.

I found this game to be at its best when playing as co-op. Although it’s the same mode as single player, co-op can be quite fun. Grab a friend (or however many), and take turns touching and releasing the chocobos. Without proper coordination, you’ll soon find that your fingers are wrapping around each other, and you’ll have a hard time seeing the screen to nab the next bird. It’s fun, but playing as a true single-player game seems to be a bit more challenging since you have the task of holding all the chocobos on your own.

The game also includes a fun 2-player versus mode, during which you alternate turns catching and releasing chocobos. Liven up the game by upping the difficulty from easy to normal or hard.

The game is quite cute, the graphics are colorful and sharp, and the chocobos certainly have won me over. For the $3.99 price tag, I’ll get considerable distance in nabbing chocobos while they squeal under my fingers. Before the game came out, I saw a lot of speculation on what the title would bring. It is most definitely not an “RPG about a chocobo uprising” as I saw one site predict. But if you know what you’re getting into, it’s a fun way to kill some time and give us that FF fix.

The best part for me — hearing that telltale fanfare at the end of each game — no matter how good or bad you do.