I reviewed Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc ($ 15.99) back in June. This is the first entry into Spike Chunsoft’s beloved Danganronpa franchise. It debuted in the West on PS Vita, and was followed in 2014 by Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair ($ 15.99), which also ran on PS Vita. Both games have since been ported to PC and eventually PS4, before finally being available as anniversary editions for iOS and Android on mobile.
If you’ve never heard of this franchise, the main games combine exploration, mini-games, puzzles, murders, riddles, and great music with excellent cast of unforgettable characters. Over time, for me, Danganronpa has shot way above Ace Attorney and Zero Escape, which for many people are the highlights of the genre. It’s something that no franchise has managed to combine visual, novel storytelling, exploration and different genres of puzzle with investigation. While I love Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is my favorite on the trilogy, and it was an absolute joy to play it for the fourth time on iPhone and iPad for review.
The basic gameplay here is the same as in the original game, which includes some interactions with stories and characters, followed by a crime fiction segment that leads to adrenaline-pumping trials that are full of mini-games that involve courtroom segments and more. In between attempts, you’ll have free time to connect with the performers or just explore the island. In many ways, the minigames in the trials here still feel tied to the experience, but they never get as annoying as they are in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. These attempts are followed by a unique execution event, and be prepared to see the characters you grow and love to be killed like in the first game.
I won’t get into the spoilers for any Danganronpa game, but the cast of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is my favorite with the highlights of Ibuki Mioda and Nagito Komaeda. In this game, you play the role of Hajime Hinata and instead of playing in a school, it takes place on a tropical island and has one of the best opening segments ever. I hope everyone who is interested can get through the opening without reading any spoilers because it’s still amazing six years after playing through the full game on PS Vita for the first time and this game remains the top games of all time.
While Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair was brought to iOS and Android, the user interface for touch screens was revised. Movement is very fluid on modern devices like my iPhone 11 and the camera feels awful compared to the new mobile port in previous versions of the game. You did a fantastic job and the camera feels responsive and overall great. However, there are some problems. In the main menu, tap an item and then have to tap a “GO” button again, just like in the original game. I thought the experience of porting the first game would fix some of the little UI issues, but this version has a few more issues for many modern iPhones.
When you start the game it won’t be apparent, but once you get to the main menu before loading a save, part of the user interface is behind the notch. The only solution is to turn the phone so that the notch is on the right. This is a bigger issue during the free exploration game and dialogue because the speaker’s name is shown on the left and is completely obscured by the notch if you play it with the notch on the left (default). Hopefully this can be fixed in a future update as this is an issue with modern iPhones.
Attempts have many back and forth sections where you go over collected evidence and throw it at characters to disagree or agree with what they are presenting on a case. The mini-games here play well and I had no issues with them as the touch controls are fully responsive. However, the rhythm mini-game might be tricky for some on a touchscreen.
The improvements to Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair on iOS are the same as in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc over the other versions. The Steam version had a performance upgrade over the PS Vita original, but had UI and font issues. The PS4 version, which was included in a collection with Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, improved the PC port, but it was still not perfect. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair on iOS is the best-looking and feeling version of the game, provided you’re okay with touch controls. I am very disappointed that there is no controller support for this game and the original game on iOS.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair was originally developed for 16: 9 displays and there are black bars for pre-rendered cutscenes and CG elements on both the iPhone 11 and the iPad Air 2. The gameplay in the engine looks great with its full screen display excellent on both of the above devices. There are a few low resolution textures here and there, like the monobeasts that appear at the beginning, but the developers of this port have done a good job making Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair feel and look great on iOS.
For performance, I had no issues with the iPhone 11 at all. Everything went smoothly and the load times were very fast. The camera movement was great too. It feels perfect on the iPhone 11 except for the notch. On the iPad Air 2, performance is not perfect with multiple frame drop instances. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is very noticeable compared to the solid iPhone 11 experience. Thankfully, it looks great on the iPad Air 2.
In terms of content, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair on iOS offers everything that previous versions have, including the new additional gallery with images from the artbook for the game. For language support, it includes both English and Japanese language options like the first game, plus support for English, Japanese, and Chinese text.
The lack of controller and iCloud storage support for the first game on iOS has still not been fixed, and unfortunately these bugs are also present in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair on iOS. In this version, the multitasking or home menu bar is still visible at all times. Despite the 3.9GB download size, you will still need to download a little more in-game after reaching a certain point. So keep that in mind. There’s no mention of it on the App Store page or in the in-game menus. Keep that in mind if you want to play this on iOS for an extended period of time without internet.
Overall, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is a must for iOS with a few restrictions. The game itself is the superlative, but the port leaves a few things to be desired. Hopefully the notch issues can be fixed in an update as from now on you will have to play with the notch on the right so you don’t miss any parts of the user interface. The lack of cloud storage also remains annoying. Just like the first game, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Anniversary Edition is the one I will recommend to new gamers looking to see what platform the best version of Danganronpa 2 can currently be played on, despite the issues as an iOS port. With the two original Danganronpa games now running on iOS, I can’t wait to see what the final main game will feel like on iOS when it comes out later this year.