Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Impressions

I’m a sucker for music games. Anything having to do with tapping strings of notes in sync with the music often gives me a warm fuzzy feeling of knowing a song down to its meter and beat. So when Square-Enix invited me to try out their newest 3DS rhythm game: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, my fingers were already itching to tap some classic FF tunes. Recently, Square-Enix was able to let us have a little sample of the fun. Is Square’s signature franchaise also an addicting note  Check out my impressions below.

Disclaimer: These impression reflect off an early build of the North American version and may not be an accurate representation of the final product.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is much in the same ballpark as Ouendan or Elite Beat Agents. Tap or Flick the bottom screen as a circle on the top screen follows a line of notes and at the end you get a grade. Simple as that. Theatrhythm takes it one step further by incorporating it into a mini-RPG. Much like Dissidia, accompanying your musical journey are four members at your selection from various FF titles. Your lifebar is represented by the amount of HP your party has and subsquently play will level up your party, thereby giving you a better chance against some of the harder songs. The “story” mode of the game allows you to pick a title and play through each of its most memorable songs. There are 3 stages in each title, the first one is simply a single lane walk in the forest where your party leader casually scroll across a field. The notes comes at you ala Taiko Drum Master Style. The second one takes you across a memorable FMV cutscene. (My personal favorite from the preview was FFVIII’s Waltz of the Moon). Watching the FMV may be a problem if you are trying to the best score possible. Lastly, the final stage plays out like a traditional FF battle sequence against a boss. Your note tracks are lined up in 4 rows. Successfully hitting the notes will allow your party members to attack. There are also “bonus” segments of songs where if performed well, will extends the duration of the song and increase your score even further. While ultimately, the spectacle serves as merely eye candy, what matters is your performance.

Multiplayer comes in the form of cooperating with your friends to tackle songs together. Each person’s party leader are gathered into a new party. The better record out of the group is used and everyone will be rewarded the same. This allows lesser skilled players to be “carried” through harder songs and obtain the same chance at new items and unlocks. What I didn’t notice were other than being connected, there was no visible competition between each other. You can see the progress on your screen but it is mostly information on how well they’re doing. Definitely much more lacking than the single-player affair given its portability.

After playing Theatrhythm for a little bit, I definitely like the way the game retains a lot of elements from Final Fantasy. Each of the chibified characters were adorable and add a lot to the whimsical nature of the title.  The 3D wasn’t much of a problem (The tracks and notes pop out.) while playing but for a game that requires pinpoint accuracy I opted to play the game mostly without it. The full version is slated to be released with over 70 tracks and more after that via DLC. That’s a lot of songs for a portable title. Wait for the full release on July 3rd.

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