Review | Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy
Even if you hate Final Fantasy you probably can’t doubt that the music is damn good. In fact, it’s probably one of the high points of the series.
So, when Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy was announced to be focusing around the music, I was immediately intrigued. It looked like a light version of Guitar Hero mixed with the music and like it could keep me hooked for a while.
Honestly, I think the game could have kept me hooked for a while. A few design issues will keep this to just being an occasional timewaster for me.
The game does actually try to have a story behind it. Chaos destroyed the crystal that controls music that was made by Rhythm, which is the space between Chaos and Cosmos. To restore the crystal, Cosmos calls in FF heroes to collect Rhythmia. Outside of the beginning of the game, this is never mentioned and never really worried about. It’s just something that’s there and that never gets talked about. Sure, you can eventually unlock a battle against Chaos, but it doesn’t differentiate from the rest of the game.
The game itself features three modes: Series, Challenge and Chaos Tower. Early on, you’ll be spending all the time in Series. All the modes features the same type of buttons: red (just tap), green (tap and hold) and blue (swipe in direction). There are also silver and gold buttons that give special features.
Series mode features FF 1-13, without any of the spin-offs or sequels. Each series features four different types of levels in it: Opening/Ending Music, Field Music, Battle Music and Event Music.
The Opening and Endings can actually be skipped and aren’t scored. All they do, besides give the backstory, is let you collect Rhythmia by tapping the notes in tune with the music.
The Field Music is a scrolling level that tasks players to get to the end of the stage (or as far as possible) before the music ends. The main difference between this mode to the others is that the green hold buttons move up and down, and you have to follow the path to keep combos up. The silver buttons will turn players into a Chocobo if all are hit correctly.
The Battle Music section has your team of four characters facing off against a variety of enemies, including a boss character. Again, the level scrolls. The main difference from the other modes is that each character is shown at once and can attack when buttons are on their row. The silver buttons here will summon a GF (or whatever you want to call it) to do a bigger attack if buttons are hit correctly.
Finally, we have the Event Music. This is actually a scene from whatever game you’re playing at the time. The buttons actually move around the level in this one in what I can only guess is a move to try and make you see the scene behind them. The silver buttons help to extend the scene at the end.
Overall, the Series Mode isn’t bad, but once you beat all the levels you really won’t want to come back here, instead focusing on Challenge Mode and Chaos Tower.
Challenge Mode lets you play any of the songs you unlock in Series Mode at a harder difficulty, and beating all the songs from a game will unlock the harder difficulty in series mode. The harder difficulties are actually what make the game a blast to play, as you’ll quickly sync up to the music and buttons that come flying at you. The interesting feature for this mode is probably the practice option it has for each level to try and get the notes down.
The final mode, Chaos Shrine, is probably the most interesting mode in the game, and also features the biggest disappointment. The mode is all in the highest difficulty, and has two stages, the Field Music and Battle Music. Each Battle section has three different bosses that can possibly be faced, depending on how well the Field section was cleared.
Now to my big problem: the music you get is randomized. There’s 99 levels to this, with two random songs for each card. The mode features a lot of music not in the other modes, such as “JENOVA” or “Mambo de Chocobo,” which I unlocked as my first level. However, getting these rare pieces are sometimes few and far between.
Also, pieces start to get played over and over here because of the random nature. Depending on what song it is, you’ll either love or hate that. Plus, the music only found in this mode can’t be practiced or even played in Challenge mode.
Getting away from the modes, your party of four can be changed within characters from the series, including some you can unlock through crystals. As they level up, new abilities can be equipped that can help in different sections or to help get better items. An item can also be equipped to the party lead that helps guarantee a summon, heal when health is low, learn an ability and more.
The game also features a StreetPass features to trade Dark Notes from Chaos Shrine, but good luck finding people unless you live in a large area. There’s also a museum to see cards collected from different stages, your high scores, scenes unlocked and to listen to unlocked music.
Graphically, it looks cartoony and cutesy throughout the game, but the lighthearted nature lets you enjoy the music more. Plus, I found it interesting to stare at the characters while playing through.
Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy was developed with only fans of the series in mind, and it shows. But, when you build a game around music from only one series, that’s to be expected. What FF fans need to know is that the game is fun, and worth picking up for the music alone. Just be prepared to work for some of the top tunes.