Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call Review – Virtuoso
My favorite video games always seem to blend different genres and mechanics in a novel way. In the case of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, it’s the clever combining of visuals with music in a entertainment-rich cocktail not too dissimilar to music and words that makes it unlike anything else on the market. When you consider that this is a game that is responsible for addressing over two decades of rich franchise history, it’s astounding that it performs so well.
In the world of Final Fantasy, a little goes a long way. That’s why Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, has such a gripping gameplay loop and the kind of charm that keeps you coming back for more. It’s relentless with its stylistic visual flair and gripping rhythm gameplay. If you can commit to an entire hour of gameplay, you’ll likely get 20 to 30 musical pieces in, relive some of your best JRPG memories, and hope to level up your selected cast of Final Fantasy characters.
I’ve reviewed Theatrhythm before as it’s been released on both 3DS and iOS in slightly different forms, and while the core gameplay remains the same in Curtain Call, it is probably the most feature-complete release in the entire franchise. This game exhausts the tapping, swiping, and quick stylus-maneuvering that games like Elite Beat Agents made a hit on the original DS platform. Although, you can choose to play with the left analog stick, which makes it easier to achieve high scores.
There are three modes that provide some variety in how you enjoy Curtain Call: Battle, Field, and Event. Battle is more traditional, placing your four-man roster face-to-face with recognizable Final Fantasy foes as you pummel them with each musical input. Meanwhile, Field has one character traveling through iconic areas of the franchise, with a slight variation on gameplay. Event songs seem to wait beyond your first playthroughs of many different Field and Battle songs.
Curtain Call always drives you into a ‘just-one-more-song’ mentality, as it usually gives you at least one new item, one level up, one new character, one “shard” adding up to new characters, and new songs. If you’re more engaged by longer portable play, curl up with your 3DS because Quest Medleys offer anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes of straight gameplay with high-level skills, items, characters, shards, and a relatively entertaining difficulty curve.
If dancing to music alone isn’t for you, you’ll find pleasure in the multiplayer delivery of Curtain Call. You can play locally, or compete online against other players with some additional gameplay elements thrown in to add unpredictability to the mix. With profiles to share, levels to be gained, and cards to be earned, the online hub could become your permanent residence in Curtain Call.
The only reason you might drop out of Theatrhythm’s brand of interacting with music is that playing through each Final Fantasy game’s tracks will get boring. It’s hard to say exactly when I couldn’t keep up with Expert Scores on my first copy of the game, though Quest Medleys have given me cause to take a leap of faith on certain difficulties. I absolutely love games that do that as well as Square Enix has here.
Curtain Call doesn’t really leave the player guessing as to what’s about to happen in any of its levels. I wouldn’t expect anything less as the user interface, varied control options, and wealth of tutorials keep this Nintendo 3DS game welcoming to anyone willing to try the demo. You may very well discover that the gameplay isn’t for you. You’ll find your touchscreen may take a beating and more deliberate gamers without a focus on truly rhythmic input can falter easily. Still, sticking with a track, trying the practice version, and learning the more difficult sequences gets tracked and the feedback only drives more unlocks.
Square Enix and Final Fantasy enthusiasts have had a long-standing relationship with the franchise’s music as it represents so many different games in a singular identity. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is an excellent compilation of its works that brings the visual and audio experiences of Final Fantasy games back to life.
Copy provided by publisher. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is exclusive to the 3DS.