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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy review - addictive rhythm action

Square Enix's odd Final Fantasy spin-off is a critical hit

On paper it may not seem that combining Final Fantasy and rhythm action would make for anything approaching a dream team, but once you get stuck into it Theatrhythm Final Fantasy casts those doubts aside. This quirky little number is actually a compelling and challenging rhythm game that should keep you busy for quite a while - as long as you don't mind a little repetition.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is split into three main modes - Series, Challenge and Chaos Shrine. The Series mode lets you choose from any of the 13 main Final Fantasy games and play three to five stages based on the music from those games. Each game has intro and outro themes (which can be skipped), as well as one battle, field and event stage.

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Crystal Method

The intro and outro themes leave us feeling a little cold. They require very little effort - you simply tap the screen as musical notes pass a crystal - and every time you hit a note the crystal chimes out an odd noise that sounds horribly out of tune compared to the rest of the music.

We can't possibly fathom why a game celebrating the music of an esteemed series would make it so that 26 of the tracks sound horrible if you play it properly. Thankfully, these are only bonus stages and you can't fail them, so if you want you can just sit back and enjoy the music without hitting the notes (or simply skip the round to go straight to the first 'proper' song).

Once the game properly gets going in the field, battle and event stages, things pick up. All three types of stage have the same basic principles - as your circle passes over various icons you have to tap, hold or flick the stylus accordingly to the beat of the music. That's literally all there is to it, from the easiest difficulty level right up to the hardest.

Each of the three stages presents this concept in a slightly different way, however, meaning the game at least feels a little more varied even though it may not necessarily be.

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18 comments so far...
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  1. Pyron12 Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 15:12

    Great review ONM. I hoped this would get 80% or above.

  2. master sword Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 15:13

    always loved the music in the final fantasy games, so this'll be a must have for me, especially due to my love of rhythm games

  3. lrwr14 Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 15:17

    Wouldn't mind getting this, the demo was fun to play- it would be nice to relive some ff memories again.

  4. shy guy 64 Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 15:17

    im getting it tomorow

  5. torterratrainer Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 15:20

    after playing the demo i can say it deserves more than ridge racer 3d. (which i have, and completed) but i'm satisfied with its review.


  6. Darkblizz Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 15:25

    The 3DS could well be a natural home for rhythm games if this and Rhythm Thief are anything to go by.

  7. Herbert_Rarr Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 15:26

    I don't really like rhythm games, but I found the demo of this rather enjoyable, and yes, it was a little addictive. I liked the controls and how it used the stylus - it was very intuitive. I'm not going to buy it, but still, I thought it was fun - if the demo's anything to go by.

  8. MartinIsAwesome Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 15:28

    As soon as I saw the trailer for it in one of the Japanese Nintendo Direct broadcasts, and caught sight of those Rhythm Battles I knew I needed to get this game.
    I've only played the eShop demo so far, but the whole package it sounds awesome, even if I can barely complete the Expert difficulty stages. Still from what I have played, it's lot of fun, which is all I really demand from a game.

  9. Xenobladeperson Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 15:39

    Hi Chris, it's nice to see you're still posting reviews.

    Anyway, I want this, but I'm saving up for WiiU.

  10. ledreppe Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 16:13

    My copy should arrive tomorrow, reassuring to see it got a good review too.

  11. superthingymabob Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 17:17

    I got the demo for this and I love it!
    Might consider getting it.

  12. Riverlution Thursday 5th Jul 2012 at 17:27

    Getting this soon, preordered it yesterday :)

  13. imbusydoctorwho Friday 6th Jul 2012 at 08:51

    The Demo was probably the best yet,as I've already used up all 30 uses.
    I hope to get it when it's cheaper.

  14. jonnyjazz Friday 6th Jul 2012 at 13:37

    Loved the demo played it until I S ranked everything so I'm looking forward to getting the full game and it's made me start playing Final Fantasy III on the Virtual Console again.

  15. wilrc6 Monday 9th Jul 2012 at 10:40

    Ive never played a Final Fantasy game but I always download the 3DS demos to give them a go. I didnt think I would like the game but was amazed at how smooth the animation was, how gorgeous the music was (even though I dont know any FF music) and how addictive it was. This has become a title Im definately getting.

    How awesome would a Zelda or general Nintendo version be.

  16. Link9427 Sunday 5th Aug 2012 at 16:27

    I played the demo of this and I actually found it very enjoyable and I'm considering buying the game.

  17. MartinIsAwesome Sunday 5th Aug 2012 at 18:32

    I played the demo of this and I actually found it very enjoyable and I'm considering buying the game.

    I couldn't recommend it highly enough. There's so much content, and cheaper than your average 3DS game.

  18. imbusydoctorwho Monday 6th Aug 2012 at 21:54

    I played the demo of this and I actually found it very enjoyable and I'm considering buying the game.

    I couldn't recommend it highly enough. There's so much content, and cheaper than your average 3DS game.

    I swear I saw it for about Ł15 on Shop-To last week.

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