ff3-iconHello, and welcome back to the Weekend Games Corner. This is by far our favorite series to write here at TechNorms. “Research” for this series involves spending some quality time with our phone and iPad trying to find a really cool game to share with you guys. Sometimes this can be a bit difficult, as there are a lot of new mobile games released every day. However, there are plenty of good ones. You just have to find them.

This week, we decided to find some premium games. Usually we feature free and free-to-play titles in the Weekend Games Corner. Most of you who are looking for a weekend entertainment fix probably don’t want to drop a lot of money on an app. However, sometimes it’s worth spending a little cash on a game when it’s good enough. That’s why we’ve brought you three of the best for-pay games for Android, iOS, and Flash. Well, the Flash game is free. But you get the idea. Here’s what we found.

Minecraft Pocket Edition (Android)

We reviewed Minecraft Pocket Edition for Android back when it released to the masses earlier this year. So why revisit it? Minecraft, as every longtime fan knows, is subject to a constant stream of updates and new content to keep players entertained. Mojang has been adding more features to the game since release, enough to merit a second look.

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So, what’s changed or improved this time around? The first improvement we found was the addition of detailed options for the game. Minecraft Pocket Edition can run at three different levels of graphical quality, similar to its PC counterpart.

There are also options for view sensitivity and vibrate feedback. These options help ease the pain of the Pocket Edition’s control scheme, but that hasn’t changed one bit. Minecraft plays much worse without a mouse and keyboard.

The biggest additions come when you go to start a new world, though. Minecraft Pocket Edition now bears some of the cool features available on its PC older brother, stuff like a world generator seed and different gameplay modes.

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The Pocket Edition originally featured a bland mixture of creative and survival mode. These two have been clearly separated into separate games and labeled as such. Now you can fly in creative, and fight mobs in survival.

We appreciate a genuine survival mode the most. To us, that is the closest thing to a traditional “Minecraft experience” that the Pocket Edition has. Even better, survival mode has genuine inventory and crafting systems.

Overall, our original review for Minecraft Pocket Edition still stands, but it stands a little less tall. The Pocket Edition is a drastically improved game. We can’t wait to see what’s in the next update.

Download Minecraft Pocket Edition

Final Fantasy III (iOS)

Remember when we said that some of these games were expensive? Yeah, we really meant this one. Final Fantasy III clocks in at a mind-numbing $17. As far as app go, this is one of the most expensive we’ve ever seen.

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However, after spending some quality time in the game, $17 is actually a total steal. Final Fantasy III is an iOS port of the 2006 Nintendo DS remake of a game that was originally called Final Fantasy VI in Japan. Confused yet?

The bottom line is that this is a remake of Final Fantasy III, one of the best RPGs ever made. As far as classic role playing games go, this is up there with Chrono Trigger. It’s that good. $17 is a small price to pay for an RPG this good.

You get quite a bit of content for your money, too. We put in a good six hours of gameplay for our review and we barely got past the opening credits. This is a very, very long game. Anyone looking for an Angry Birds-type quick fix will not find it in Final Fantasy III.

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The gameplay is rock solid. Taking a team of four characters and outfitting them with gear and magic and formations is a lot more fun than it sounds. Final Fantasy III is all about strategic combat and forcing you to constantly improvise. New enemies, new powers, and new weapons keep things from feeling too staid for too long.

Playing the game is not too complicated, but Final Fantasy III does suffer from a lack of a tutorial. We had never played before and picked up the game quickly enough, but other players might not be so lucky.

Once you figure it out, combat is a blast. Mixing and matching specialties and powers is all part of the fun. Be sure to spend some time in the menu screen mixing and matching- the game gets much easier when your team is properly equipped.

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As far as ports go, this is a pretty good one. Turn-based combat works well on a touch interface. The ability to move by touching anywhere on the screen is a downright brilliant addition. That and the redone graphics show that Square Enix actually put some thought into this version. There’s a reason they expect $17.

We would recommend Final Fantasy III mainly to gamers looking for a more traditional gaming experience on an iPhone or iPad. This is not a casual title in any sense… but it is a damn fun game. We can’t wait to put in another six hours.

Download Final Fantasy III

Jelly Escape (Flash)

Jelly Escape is a great example of how to build a game with a simple and effective theme. You are a small jelly enemy spawned by an arcade machine. You want to escape the machine. That’s it.

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With the story out of the way, gameplay stands front and center. It’s more polished than your typical Flash platformer, although the controls are a little slidey. This isn’t an issue until the game expects you to do precision platforming.

Jelly Escape is a good platformer. The techno soundtrack sounds appealing, the graphics look smooth, and level design is creative. Overall, definitely worth playing.

Play Jelly Escape