Final Fantasy has been around for twenty five years and is known for its great stories, characters and music. Theatrhythm incorporates the characters and music really well, but the story is a bit on the weak side. The gods Chaos and Cosmos are separated by rhythm and the crystal between them has been corrupted by Chaos. It’s your job to restore it by producing rhythmia.
Like the title suggests, this is a rhythm game and your timing will make or break your score. Each mode has a different game style but the main objective is to tap, slash, or hold in time with the notes as they slide across the screen. You will get awarded with bad, good, or critical depending on your timing. The final scores range from SS to F if you fail. The rhythmia awarded varies on your party, chain, rank, and tactics. You’ll also get a bonus if you have a character from the game song in your party.
You must build up your party and explore the music from various Final Fantasy titles. Each game has its own Opening Theme, Field Music, Battle Music, Event Music, and Ending Credits. Once you pass all of the songs for a particular game they become unlocked in the Challenge Mode area where you can play the songs individually instead of the whole set. There are three different difficulty levels Basic, Expert, and Ultimate. In order to unlock the next difficulty level you must ace it on the current level. I didn’t find basic or expert challenging, but ultimate humbled me.
There’s a Chaos Shrine area where you can earn dark notes by completing 2-3 random songs on expert difficulty. In order to earn more dark notes you have to either complete them yourself, with a friend or collect new ones via spot pass. I was not able to test out the multiplayer as of this review. I did however, earn a dark note through spotpass. There are ninety-nine dark notes all together. Not only are they good for a challenge, but you can earn a lot of rhythmia and equipment by playing them. Since the songs are random, you might see enemies from games you have not played yet. In the series mode I only played songs from the FF games I’ve completed. If you don’t want to see movie sequences from games you have not played yet, you may want to do the same.
Needless to say the movies have excellent CGI and look great in 3D. The older Final Fantasy movies often show the text in Japanese which can be good for not spoiling anything (Unless you know Japanese). On the other hand, boss battles are shown in their full glory. The movies are in the background as you play, but you can unlock them to be playable in the movie gallery. The Final fantasy characters in your party and the bosses and enemies you’ll encounter are drawn in Chibi (little person) style. The Final Fantasy DS remakes often had an anime look to them but this art style is completely different from that. I thought it was cute but it didn’t make my party or enemies look very intimidating.
The music quality and song selection are fantastic. I’m sure any Final Fantasy fan will enjoy this game. The original game songs sound 8-bit since that’s the era they originated from. While I’m not familiar with the newer Final Fantasy games, the songs vary from rock battle music to soothing field music with female vocals. Many more songs can be unlocked by collecting rhythmia or by purchasing add on songs through the store for .99 apiece. It’s a shame that the purchases are console specific as my husband can’t enjoy the songs I bought on his system.
Morally I don't have many complaints with this game. You can add a custom tagline on your street pass card so some people may ruin the fun for everyone there. Some of the female characters and bosses have skimpy clothing. One feature that I wish would have been added is a countdown to resume your game mid-song. There have been times where I needed to close my system half way through a song and resuming on the fly is hard to do.
Overall my experience with this game has been a pleasant one. Even though I’ve played roughly a third of the Final Fantasy games out there, I was thoroughly able to enjoy the game and appreciate the music it offered. There’s a ton of songs, movies and characters to unlock and enjoy. There are trophies and collectable character and enemy cards too. The game comes with a long customizable stylus but I still used my built in one. If you like rhythm or Final Fantasy games, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is an excellent addition to your 3DS game library.