Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Saganuchi's studio is called Mistwalker. It created the Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey RPGs for the Xbox 360 a few years ago. But the studio's latest direction, like a lot of big studios lately, is to create some smaller mobile games, and Party Wave, Mistwalker's first iOS title, has just arrived on the App Store.
Party Wave is described as an "action surfing" game, but it's much simpler than a surfing simulation. Each stage in the game (there are quite a few to play through) has two phases. In the first, you use line-drawing to guide a group of surfers around obstacles to an oncoming wave. And once the wave appears, you need to juggle the various surfers involved by tapping them. dodging various obstacles and keeping them afloat.
The game is fun, though it's clearly a first title. It's not very focused, and some of the polish isn't quite there. The aesthetic is surprisingly calm: The music is nice and tropical, even when the action gets a little nuts. It's not entirely clear what you need to do all the time -- some obstacles are invisible, so you need to remember where they are to keep from hitting them -- but once you figure it out, there's a nice strong game to play.
Party Wave is available for $1.99 as a universal app. It's an interesting experiment for Mistwalker, and I hope it works. But it would be nice to see Saganuchi return to his RPG roots, instead building an original Final Fantasy-style game for the modern iOS platform.