Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Available on: Nintendo 3DS
It’s weird that the game that reminds me to finally pick my 3DS up again isn’t one of Nintendo’s epics, but a dinky little rhythm game from Square Enix. Yet as a fan of Final Fantasy’s music and of the first Theatrhythm game, I couldn’t help but do so. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is more of the same, and that is, quite bluntly, a good thing.
I just want to make a note about this MusicRPG’s non-existent story though. The god Chaos has stolen all the Rhythima so the goddess Cosmos assembles the heroes of the Final Fantasy games to get said Rhythima back. You collect it, defeat Chaos, and save the world. The end. That’s as in depth as it’s getting and really all you need to know anyway.
Curtain Call features two hundred and twenty one songs spread across twenty seven different Final Fantasy games. Not only does this include the fourteen main games, but a good chunk of the side games as well. Tactics? It’s here. Type-0? Yep. Crystal Chronicles? Advent Children? Mystic Quest? Lighting Returns? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. If you have a favorite then there’s a good chance it’s here. Not only that, but new DLC songs are getting offered all the time and also include songs from other Square Enix games like Romancing Saga and Bravely Default, so they have a large catalog to pull things from still.
Like last time, Curtain Call isn’t a straight up rhythm game but does have some light RPG elements. You’ll make a party of four characters whom each have different stats. You give them abilities that you can use by fulfilling specific requirements. Abilities range the gauntlet from things like having a chance to avoid damage for missing a note, to passive stat buffs, to dealing direct damage if you hit a specific amount of notes. You can also equip a single item which is shared between your characters. Items can do things like save you if you get low on health, or summon specific summonings rather than whoever the party leader’s default is. Items are also one time use only, so you have to make sure you keep track of them. Still, a lot of the RPG related stuff just feels like fluff and eventually you’ll probably forget about it as you just continue to play songs you enjoy.
Gameplay is broken into three different modes: Music Stages, Quest Medleys, and Versus. Music Stages is the simplest of the three: You just select what song you want to play and you play it from start to finish. How you play each song varies a little, the game still uses the Field/Battle/Event styles that the first game used, but no matter the mode you’ll just be tapping, sliding, and dragging the stylus along with the music. The game actually also supports using the buttons on the 3DS now and honestly I found them so well implemented that I began to use the buttons instead of the touch screen.
The second mode, Quest Medleys, is probably the meatiest part of the game. Here you’ll accept quests that put you on a map. Your goal is to get to the end of the map and defeat the boss. Along the way you’ll either hit travel points (where they play field music) or battles (where they play battle music) that will get you various items so you can take different paths through the map. If you happened to like a specific quest then you can actually attach it to your Spotpass and hand it off to friends you pass by (or to people you play against in Versus mode.) It’s a pretty fun mode, and also where the RPG mechanics actually get their deepest, even if they never are really deep.
The final mode is Versus, which is the game’s online mode. Here you’ll go against another play in a battle song. The goal is simple: get the most points. You can hijack the other player’s progress by hitting special notes that do things like make the monster’s they’re fighting extra strong, make their notes all wibbly wobbly, or other assorted things. It’s a pretty decent mode, though probably won’t keep people around for any extended amount of time. Also Mog’s voiceovers are hilariously awful, but turning them off, while possible, isn’t a good idea because they keep you updated about who’s winning and if bad effects are coming your way. Still, it’s a decent mode that can keep you entertained for a little while.
So while Curtain Call may not bring much new over the first Theatrhythm, it’s still a very solid rhythm game. Anyone who missed the first game should jump right into this one, while people who played the original should just make sure there’s enough new songs they want to play. I said this was the game that reminded me I had a 3DS and I’m really glad it did.