Devil May Cry 4 refrain was released for iPhone in all territories on February 3, 2011, and on Android exclusively in Japan through G-Gee on November 1, 2012. Redesigned from the ground up, Refrain makes several concessions to the design of Devil May Cry 4 to better suit the touch-based platform. Level design and enemy encounters are simplified, with small geometrical rooms consisting of only a few enemies at once. The game is played using a virtual analog stick and four virtual buttons: Sword, Gun, Jump and Special. (An optional Simple Buttons option combines the Sword and Gun into one context sensitive attack button) Rather than several timing based combos, hitting the Sword button only results in a single combo regardless of the timing, and variation is instead achieved through the use of special moves. As players progress through the game they unlock special abilities that are done using directional inputs in tandem with the Sword or Gun buttons, or occasionally by holding one of the two buttons for a few moments before releasing. Six of these special abilities can be equipped at once, three on the Sword and three on the Gun. The Exceed and Style systems still work identically to the console version, and a dodge can be performed by double tapping a direction and then tapping the Jump button. A post release update also added the Devil Trigger for both Nero and Dante.
The story is told in static text screens with screencaps taken from cutscenes in the console version, as well as conversations between two on-screen characters using character portraits. The story is condensed and altered to allow Nero to remain the protagonist through the entire game, with a separate Dante campaign added a week after release. The game also offers several difficulty levels and the Bloody Palace mode found in the console and PC versions.