Back during Tennocon 2021, Warframe developer Digital Extremes unveiled that not only is Warframe soon going to have crossplay but also that they have a mobile port for Warframe in the works. With Warframe getting both crossplay and a mobile port this year, 2022 is shaping up to be the year of our Tenno overlords. That sounds great, right? It is, but a few things are going to happen with a mobile port, and those aren’t great. While I think Warframe Mobile, in theory, is a good idea, it certainly isn’t a good idea for everybody.
Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of half-decent uses for a mobile port. For starters, it will be great for doing all the small things that are part of the Warframe experience. Maybe you can get a bit of low-level idle farming done on your commute. Maybe even get some market trades done in your off time. The mobile app could be great for handling all the little micromanagement aspects of Warframe. Check on your clan, mod some weapons and Warframes, go and say hi to Baro Ki’Teer.
On top of that, you could do some chatting with your friends, clanmates and more. Check around the relays, with your syndicates, and plan out things to do for yourself for later. You know, when you get back to a different platform. Of course, if you don’t have another platform to play Warframe on, this could also be a great way to get yourself started in the Warframe universe. At the higher levels though, I can players start to struggle – at least a little bit. Doing some low-level tasks and missions at the lower levels? Great! But doing things like Sorties and survivals? I don’t think so. Can you even imagine trying to scan a Synthesis Target for Cephalon Simaris? Jeez.
That’s it really, unless…
I just don’t see players doing anything that much more intensive honestly. Truthfully, I would probably just use this for trading or checking on my foundry – the latter of which I can already do with the Warframe Companion App. Thinking about it… how useful would the companion app even be to mobile players anyway? Why use a companion app to check news, alerts, and your foundry when you can just log on and check your foundry. So I suppose that’s another use for it – if you want to go through the login process and stuff every time.
Let’s say you have something like the Asus ROG 5 – or any other gaming phone, really. In that case I think Warframe Mobile would be great for you! I mean, you’ve already dedicated yourself to mobile gaming at that point. Plus, if you’ve got a gaming phone I’m also assuming you’re more than comfortable with bringing a controller or using on-screen controls. In theory, the ability to jump from PC or console to mobile at the snap of a finger is great. If you’re addicted to Warframe (like the rest of us) then Warframe Mobile is really just what you needed, isn’t it?
The cons – graphics
So for starters, your graphics – and your phone – will die. I mean that literally by the way. Your phone is going to drain like crazy – which I suppose is to be expected. Phones nowadays are powerful, and to some extent are made to at least be able to run your games. But most games people play are made specifically for mobile. There are ports of games like Runescape and GTA: San Andreas that work and run swimmingly on mobile, but those games are older and have the graphics to match. It’s a lot easier to run a bunch of low-res shapes, but high-res mech suits, magic, hordes, and more? That’s where it gets a little trickier.
Jeez, I can only imagine what the open-world gameplay must be like on mobile. Maybe that’s why they never leave the exit gate area in the Plains of Eidolon.
Warframe is a game about ninja mech suits with magic powers, and those magic powers are extravagant, to say the least. Not to mention how detailed and intense some of the powers can be. This means that the game on PCs and consoles looks great – you can use your powers and fill the screen with as many particles and polygons as you want. On mobile though… well you may have a teeny tiny bit of a hard time. Your game will look a lot worse to compensate for the sheer amount of s**t on your screen at any given time. The powers that make you feel cool, will suddenly become really uncool to use – at least from your point of view.
Gameplay obviously takes a major hit too
First off, the gameplay isn’t going to hold up. I know it would be unrealistic to expect it to hold up to the PC or console version, but it’s worth comparing. If you’ve played Warframe, you’ll know that Warframe’s gameplay is two things the majority of the time: fast, and hectic.
Of course, there are some modes like Defense that will be slower, but even there you’ll have problems. Most of the time it’ll be difficult to keep up with your fellow ninjas at the very least. Can you imagine even trying to bullet jump, aim, and fire at the same time? You’d need like four fingers on the screen at once! You’ll be stuck holding your phone with your ring fingers and pinkies. Is that what you want? Do you want to look like a crab trying not to fumble their phone on a crowded train? Didn’t think so.
You’ll likely have to spend extra money on accessories
Looking at the footage, we can see that the UI has been adapted for mobile. That’s great of course – but the more you have to put on the screen, the harder the game is to play, and the more your quality of life goes down. That being said, you could always go out and buy one of those mobile gaming controllers. That being said, you would kind of need the controller – so be sure to factor in that extra cost.
On top of that, you’ll likely need a portable power bank – I have a bad feeling this may drain your battery more than usual. Plus if you’re using a controller wirelessly, you’re going to have a constant Bluetooth running on top of an intensive game like Warframe.
All in all, Warframe really just isn’t built for mobile platforms. I mean, getting a fancy controller attachment makes it look like a Switch anyway. Maybe just play it on the Switch if you have one or want another reason to get one – but then I guess you need a mobile data connection anyway? I don’t know, if you’re into it then you’re into it I guess.
So, should you play it?
Listen, I know I’ve ragged on it a lot, but Warframe to me just seems like one of those games only suited for the larger gaming platforms. Don’t get me wrong, I love this game – It’s nothing against the platform or the players – I just think you’re better off playing Warframe on a platform made to handle it – like the Nintendo Switch, for instance, a mobile platform that can actually handle it.
It’s admirable what Digital Extremes is doing, and it gives mobile players a chance to try out the game. If those new players want the full experience though, they’ll have to move to a different platform anyway. I guess it’s a good thing we’re getting cross-play then, huh? Yes, it’s what the community wanted, but even then the mobile version of Warframe will be objectively inferior. But hey, if it comes out and does well, I’ll donate all my plat and prime parts. I just have a bad feeling Warframe Mobile isn’t going to be that great.