When one thinks of the Final Fantasy games two things come to mind – epic RPGs and spectacular soundtracks. The Final Fantasy scores are so renowned that concerts performing their songs manage to attract sell out crowds across the globe. Composer Nobuo Uematsu even managed to claim a top three spot on the BBC classical music charts for his work on the series (in your face Beethoven.) Due to the franchise’s acoustic pedigree I was excited to try out Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, which on paper sounds like an inspired idea. A rhythm game packed with tunes from Square-Enix’s flagship series? Awesome. Sign me up.
Curtain Call is a follow-up to Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, which appeared on the Nintendo 3DS and iOS platforms back in 2012. At its core both games are exactly the same. Players listen to Final Fantasy melodies whilst racking up points by pressing the button prompts indicated on screen. Curtain Call is however superior to its predecessor thanks to its greater selection of songs and support for multiple control schemes. If you ask me rhythm games and touch screen interfaces are a match made in heaven, but for anyone with a stylus phobia (if such a condition exists) fear not because Curtain Call also allows you to play using the D-Pad and face buttons.
The songs on offer are broken down into Event, Battle and Field music stages. Battle and Field levels have you assembling a quartet of Final Fantasy Characters to smack waves of enemies or set off on a lengthy hike. In either case the aim is to survive until the song’s fruition, which is accomplished by tapping/swiping the touchscreen in harmony with the icons scrolling across the 3DS display. Perfect timing earns you points whilst fumbling your inputs will result in damage from enemies or painful trips (akin to a jogger who has forgotten to tie their laces.) The more rare Event stages play a memorable tune whilst displaying vintage cut scenes that veteran FF players will recognise. I dare Square-Enix aficionados to tackle those stages without drowning in a wave of nostalgia.
My rating for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call is a four out of five. I’m not normally a fan of rhythm games, but I managed to enjoy this one thanks to the stellar Final Fantasy music on offer. Curtain Call’s library boasts over two hundred songs so you won’t feel compelled to buy additional DLC tracks, as was the case with the original game. On the visual side of things I also dug the game’s graphics, which transform the roster of sixty plus characters into adorable hobbits with oversized cartoony heads. Perhaps my midget fetish is showing, but don’t you think that miniature Rinoa looks cute?
Curtain Call is an ideal handheld game as it’s the sort of title you can pick up, play for a few minutes and then put down. Aside from retrying songs, to best your high scores, the game motivates you to keep on playing by regularly rewarding you with unlockable goodies. Some new features added to this sequel include a Versus mode, were you can challenge friends or AI opponents to a match, and Quest Medley were your party advances through dungeons made up of numerous songs (in search of treasure such as stat boosting collectable cards.) Regardless of your skill level I can highly recommend Curtain Call. I’m terrible at these type of games but still managed to do well on easy and normal. I wouldn’t recommend hard mode though, unless you have the digit dexterity of a harpist jacked up on Red Bull.