Release Date: December 11, 2012
Publisher: Square Enix
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone (10+)
After its rather successful debut on the 3DS, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy has now found a new home on iOS devices and maintains its core gameplay very nicely. This is a simple yet fun action rhythm game that — despite a few issues — may be worth checking out.
Presentation & Core Gameplay:
The main premise within Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is simple: players must tap anywhere on the screen to play each of the notes that appear, allowing for the utmost comfort when playing. This will include Touch Triggers, Slide Triggers and Hold Triggers, each of which must be executed the way their names suggest. Within the game are two types of gameplay modes: Battle Music Stages (BMS) and Field Music Stages (FMS). BMS stages are more fast-paced and intense whereas FMS stages are slower and relaxing. In BMS stages, four characters from various Final Fantasy titles can be randomly selected and will each have their own row on the screen. Members of your party will even have stats and abilities, though admittedly it's somewhat of a less prominent element as it can often go unnoticed and is rather superfluous. As you hit a note, the row's respectful character will attack the enemy that appears on-screen. FMS stages allow players to use Hold Lines in which they must slide their finger corresponding to the line's format. In both modes, party members will lose HP when notes are missed. Lose too much HP and it's a game over. Depending on how well notes are chained and timed, players will be able to initiate Summon Attacks in BMS stages and call fourth chocobos to increase the character's speed and to slightly change the sound of notes when hit in FMS stages through what is known as the Feature Zone. Seeing some of the stuff that appears on-screen as you vigorously tap about is a nice touch to the action.
The game does feature a fair amount of mode types, but in the end players will mostly find themselves doing the same general thing. Quest Mode, for instance, isn't substantially all that different from playing a song normally, but there is an acceptable amount of minor differences to keep players interested. One of the more interesting modes allows players to create their own layout for songs, though some players (specifically those who aren't familiar with creating music) may find this rather convoluted.
One of the major negatives within the game is its loading times, which are nothing like those of the 3DS version. Players may oftentimes find themselves waiting for 10-20 seconds between a lot of menus. Messed up on a song? You'll have to wait a while just to have another shot at it. Besides that, the game only comes with two songs, thereby encouraging players to purchase more. Thankfully though, they are reasonably priced, and die-hard Final Fantasy fans will likely end up buying a ton of them.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is somewhat of an unusual entry in the series, but as a means to celebrate its 25th anniversary, it without a doubt achieves that goal nicely. The game doesn't do much for the genre (though not necessarily a bad thing) and has some rather bothersome loading times, but die-hard fans will surely have a blast. The game has a nice presentation and some truly astounding music that will bless the ears of Final Fantasy fans. Those who have played few or no games in the series will still enjoy this one.
S&S Rating: 7.5/10.0