Warframe Mobile is going to be a step in the right direction. New platforms are always good, as they bring in a number of new players and help the game and its community grow. However, mobile is a fundamentally different platform from others and struggles in some aspects. Pair that with Warframe, a complex game that asks of the player to move fast, shoot fast, and do a gazillion mini-tasks in-game, and you start to see how certain platforms might not be able to do certain things as well as others. Here are 5 major differences between Warframe on Mobile vs on PC and console.
Bullet Jumping and movement
Warframe is one of those games that’s: A) fun to play B) fun to watch if you’ve already played it. If you’ve never played it, it doesn’t make sense at all. There’s some weird thing slashing around in a dark indoor map casting bright flashy lights and decimating enemies within microseconds. The movement is one of the most unique aspects of Warframe. Unlike most games where you might be simply running or walking around, Warframe offers you a way to move around faster by doing a specific sequence of jumps, slides, and rolls.
I’m not sure how this movement (dubbed Bullet Jumping) would be possible on mobile, because along with moving around quickly, you also have to shoot, pick up loot and Mods or Ayatan Stars, use your abilities, revive, and switch between weapons. It could be quite annoying and limiting to mobile players if they have to run around the whole time, as that would be several times slower than Bullet Jumping. Along with Bullet-Jumping, you also have to dodge quite a few attacks, which is another aspect of movement mobile could struggle with.
A solution to this would be adding an auto-Bullet-Jump feature (like auto-run), but even that would have its downsides because missions often require you to stop a hundred times while Bullet-Jumping. On PC, your fingers are also doing different things at a time and are well-spaced when you’re spamming Shift + Spacebar + Ctrl, but spamming three parts of a mobile device might just get really awkward.
In other words, Warframe Mobile could benefit from controller support more than your average mobile port.
Game size and performance
Warframe requires over 30 GB on PC itself. While it is one of those games that works on older devices as well, pulling it off on mobile is going to be a task. New players probably won’t be willing to free up that much space on their phones, and the open world maps that Warframe keeps adding to the game isn’t going to make this any better.
Performance is also going to be a big issue. I know, there have been newer games like Fortnite that have worked well on mobile (at least on newer devices), but Warframe has a lot of bright, flashy lights and visual effects. The Warframe Mirage is especially going to be difficult to play with, as it entirely depends on lights and mirrors to spread damage across the map. Pair that with a Simulor or Staticor and things get ten times worse.
For example, check out the visual effects in this one.
Also, Warframe players have the ability to choose their Energy color, meaning they can choose what color those flashy lights are. Most players go for brighter ones, as they look better, and if your teammate is using that there’s nothing you can do other than switch your graphics settings to Low. Performance is also going to be a challenge in open-world areas, especially the ones on Earth and Venus.
Combat in Warframe mobile
Just how difficult is combat going to be on mobile? Warframe often requires you to do multiple things at once. For example, Saryn Prime would have to activate her spores first, then shoot the affected enemy while also dodging other enemies and keeping up her two other abilities. None of these tasks have keybinds in common, and having separate options to do all of these would certainly clutter the UI.
The combat in Warframe is a complex ballet of quick turns, shooting on the move, and gliding in the air (which makes you move in slow-mo). And if we’re talking about movement, how is the game going to work in Spy Missions where you have to carefully move around without alerting enemies? How will players dodge these deadly moving lasers that can fail the mission if triggered?
The combat and in-game objectives are definitely going to be difficult for specific Warframe abilities as well. How about Nova’s bomb, which involves a floating projectile that you have to shoot to charge up? Or Nyx’s mind-controlling ability, with which you have to pick one enemy from a crowd and make them your ally? Or Vauban’s arsenal of little traps that you need to place in specific places to be able to tunnel enemies into them?
If we’re talking about Warframe’s combat, one can argue that it can be easy to use weapons and Warframes that don’t require you to do complex tasks. Sure, you can use a Limbo that essentially has timer-based abilities that don’t require you to aim.
However, there are situations in Warframe where you absolutely have to do certain complex tasks. For example, there are Rivens that ask you to get X headshots while gliding, X headshots in a row, or kill X enemies of a certain kind in three seconds, and so on. That will be a horror on mobile. Simple fishing tasks can also be challenging, given there are some tiny fish that you have to catch with your spear, and there are plenty of larger ones around them.
Modding in Warframe Mobile
Modding is Warframe’s upgrade system, which uses specific Mods to improve what a weapon or Warframe does. Every Mod has its specialty specified in small text on the plate, and there are thousands of Mods to pick from. On PC, you can simply hover your mouse over a Mod to enlarge it and be able to read what it does, but mobiles don’t have that feature. I can only imagine how time-consuming it would be to go through each and every Mod, especially if you’re new to the game and don’t know what most of them do.
The text size can also potentially be an issue. It’s one of the reasons why Pokemon TCG Online never took off on mobile devices because the text on the cards was too small and after a while squinting at your screen does get tiring.
Endnote: Warframe on Mobile vs PC and console
It will be interesting to see how developer Digital Extremes pulls this off. Warframe is pretty complicated in its mechanics and often asks players to multitask all the time. The structure of the game might also be an issue because Warframe never really guides you through the game. You are expected to figure everything on your own, or tab out and refer to the Wiki or Reddit.
The worst outcome of the mobile launch would simply be having mobile players move around slower than everyone else, which would quickly get boring. Warframe’s indoor maps have lots of small spaces and sharp turns that aren’t easy even on PC and console, and they might be even harder on mobile. Warframe on mobile needs to be actually viable, and not just be a way for players to log in and get their daily bonus.
I hope Digital Extremes finds the right solutions to these issues because Warframe is truly an exceptional game, and there are thousands of Warframe veterans who enjoy the process of introducing new players to the game. Speaking of players, here’s another positive: Warframe is also one of the most free-to-play-friendly games out there, which will certainly be refreshing for the mobile crowd.