Final Fantasy Theatrhythm Hands-On Preview

Final Fantasy Theatrhythm is a music rhythm game, developed by indieszero and published by Square Enix for the 3DS. Players take control of four Final Fantasy characters, and play through songs from each of the thirteen numbered Final Fantasy games.

There are three tracks for each game, based on field music, battle music and event music. Each type of track features different gameplay and completing them well will cause the characters to gain experience and level up.

The Opening and Ending Themes involve tapping the screen in time with music notes as they move into the centre of a crystal.

Field music is a side-scrolling rhythm game where the player must either tap a note, slide the stylus in a direction, or hold the stylus down while following a waving line on the touch screen. There is also an opportunity to ride a Chocobo in each level for a speed boost and extra points.

Battle Music requires you to take on a Final Fantasy style battle, tapping notes in order to attack enemies. You battle a series of enemies followed by a boss and have an HP gauge which is depleted if you miss notes. You also get the chance to perform a summon once per battle.

There are also Event levels in which you tap the screen in time with the music, and the top screen shows cutscenes from the relevant Final Fantasy game.

The game uses a “Chibi” art style, which really looks crisp and bright on the 3DS screen. The visuals work equally well for all the playable characters and the 3D effect really helped differentiate between the background layer and the notes flying in front.

The demo has huge selection of tracks, and from the looks of things the full track list. In my hour with the title I found that there was a great variety to choose from and each song felt unique in its gameplay. I was desperate to play more, but had to force myself away to try some of the other titles available on the show floor.

The game is hugely addictive and does a fantastic job of causing time to fly by without you realising where it’s gone. I brought a friend of mine along for a second opinion of the title and she spent 45 minutes playing the demo. When asked, she thought she had only been there for around 20!

I would really recommend playing Final Fantasy Theatrhythm if you get a chance, but only if you have a lot of time to burn. It’s a great rhythm game, with a huge amount to do, and a great example of how to reinvigorate a fairly stagnant genre.

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