Game: “Final Fantasy Theatrhythm” (3DS)

Poor Professor Layton. I was all psyched up to play his 3rd game (I can’t remember the name, something about tea and being a gentleman, presumably). That was about December, and while there was nothing wrong with the game at all, I am easily distracted. I wasted the best part of this year pretending to complete Final Fantasy IV on DS, in my ongoing quest to finish all the main Final Fantasy games. To force myself to finish that, I renounced all other games until I finished, but all that achieved was me playing nothing for about 6 months. I WILL finish it one day…

Professor Layton was about to get a look in as I put FFIV away again, but I had a rare 3DS shopping spree last month, and picked up two games: the rather disappointing and non-addictive New Super Mario Bros 2, and on a whim Final Fantasy Theatrhythm. Fortunately that’s a lot easier to play than it is to spell (Theatrhythm?!).

To celebrate 25 years of Final Fantasy, Square Enix created this for the fans of the musical scores contained in the main Final Fantasy series. Much like those rhythm games like Dance Dance Revolution and Tap Tap Revenge etc, you use the stylus to tap, flick and drag the rhythm according to on-screen prompts, along to selected tunes from the Final Fantasy series.

Each entry in the series has 3 different tunes, covering the 3 types of course in the game: fast-paced battle music, chilled-out field music and … twirly event music. You can play tracks individually or all three of a game’s tracks (plus some opening and closing music in a weird non-game setup) in a set.

Replay value is based on you wanting to get high scores at all skill levels, on all tracks, on all play modes. There are also tons of collectables and unlockables, like info cards and unlockable characters. Nothing too compelling really, apart from the unlockable videos perhaps.

It feels like it should get repetitive really quickly, but it’s just difficult enough for me to want to keep trying. Perfection is achievable, at least on the basic and expert modes. Ultimate mode is a bit much at the moment … and yet I feel I haven’t used a lot of the options in this game. I’ve stuck to my core group of my favourite characters (Cloud, Tidus Lightning and … well Zidane’s making up the numbers a bit), and not really touched the older ones. I’m keen to unlock more characters, but will I use them?

Even as a keen FF player, I’m not really that familiar with the music on a lot of them, I tended to have my own music on instead, so I thought the whole premise might be a bit lost on me, but the game itself is addictive, and totally cute. I love playing the songs I do remember though, so I imagine hardened FF music fans will love this.

Only down-side I think is that there are so many songs available as downloadable paid content. Sure, they’re only 90p each, but considering the amount of unlockables, it really is a bit tight of them not to have any unlockable music. As it stands I’d have to pay £36 to buy all the additional content, more than the game itself!

Fans of the series should really consider this, even if it’s just to shore up the still disappointingly thin 3DS library. Now we just need the first 6 FF games to be put on the e-Shop, you teases!

Anyway, 3DS owners can download a free demo from e-Shop. The video below I think is one of the expert levels (i.e. the middle difficulty)

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