Before the arrival of the next mainline title in the Final Fantasy series comes World of Final Fantasy, a chibi-inspired, light-hearted romp that celebrates everything Final Fantasy. Bringing together iconic characters from the series and gameplay options both traditional and modern, it’s easy to fall in love with the game.
World of Final Fantasy follows twin siblins Lann and Reynn as their ordinary, peaceful life is turned upside down when they take up one morning and everyone in their town has disappeared. They’re visited by Enna Kross who tells them that they were powerful Mirage Masters who’ve since been struck with amnesia, and they’re set out to remember who they are and to build a Mirage army once again to fend off invading forces in the lands of Grymoire – they’re kind people who lust for adventure, and I quickly fell for the main characters charms, body gags and relationships.
A chibi-inspired, light-hearted romp that celebrates everything Final Fantasy.
World of Final Fantasy, which celebrates the series’ 30th anniversary, really evokes nostalgia with popular characters used as summons with their own animations, a choice to use a simplistic gameplay menu and a story brimming with fantasy elements. The story is packed with mystery as a quickly growing cast try and help Reynn and Lann on their journey, and those who were yearning for Final Fantasy to return to its magical, fairy-tale like worlds will be very pleased with it and it makes for a nice alternative to the more modern-day Final Fantasy XV, and between the two I believe you have the best of both worlds. With questions to be answered and a colourful, engaging cast, World of Final Fantasy pushes you to continue and whisk you away with its wonder.
Square Enix have gone to great lengths to make World of Final Fantasy appeal to fans both old and new, and they’ve succeeded. You can play traditionally turn-based or use the more modern day active time battle systems where battles are constantly moving and are faster, and you can even change the menus to be a simple menu like in Final Fantasy IX, etc, or a menu that’s far more colourful and can be edited, but you can’t use items in this menu – I personally prefer the classic menu. If you’re a long-time fan or familiar with JRPG’s when you know what you’re getting into here, and the difficulty level provides for challenging battles without the need to grind often.
A big gameplay mechanic here is to ability to catch Mirages and then use them in battle, and you can stack them together to create the ultimate team. Reynn and Lann can switch between their Liliken and Jiant forms on the fly and this also has an effect on how they battle – their chibi forms are ‘S’, whilst their Jiant forms are ‘M’. The Mirages you catch will have a size associated with them and this gives you options in your stack where you can take 2 Mirages into battle, one of each size ranging from small to large, who’ll all have different abilities.
Once stacked, your HP becomes one but if you take enough damage then your stack will fall apart and you and your Mirages will battle separately until you re-stack them – some stacks will fall quicker than others, so keep an eye out when arranging them! It’s simple and fun, and I liked fighting alongside some of my favourite Final Fantasy creatures.
This is Final Fantasy, through and through.
This isn’t the first Final Fantasy title to adopt a chibi-style (looking at you, Theatrhythm!) and it works wonderfully here. The characters who don’t get the chibi treatment look like they’ve walked straight out of a Kingdom Hearts game (they share similar eye styles for sure) and the art in general made me feel all warm and whimsical! Seeing so many great characters get the adorable chibi treatment has been fantastic, and it’s funny to see someone like Lightning become cute whilst being voiced again by Ali Hillis and her familiar stoic voice. World of Final Fantasy brims with magic, dozens of locales ranging from lush forests to snowy mountains, and the cities make you yearn to want to visit them yourselves as they’re so lovely and homely. This is Final Fantasy, through and through.
As I mentioned earlier, many voice-actors and actresses have returned to voice their roles once again and I couldn’t be happier to hear from them again. Masashi Hamauzu has returned to compose another Final Fantasy title and it’s packed with plenty of remixes of familiar tunes along with many new, memorable tunes. The main menu theme in particular is breathtaking and I’ve left the menu running for long periods of time just to listen to it, and it’s quickly become one of my favourite Final Fantasy songs. The voice-acting and soundtrack are both top-notch here and have done the series justice – this is no small feat considering that the series is known for its high production values which extend to its audio, which has always received high praise.
One of the most memorable gaming experiences of the year.
I was always excited for World of Final Fantasy and it’s lived up to my expectations, proving to be one of the most memorable gaming experiences of the year. I’m a huge Final Fantasy fan and I definitely got more out of the game in being one, especially as it’s a love letter to fans that evokes nostalgia, but your experience with the game can be just as good even if this is your first title in the series. World of Final Fantasy is a delightful adventure that’ll keep you busy for dozens of hours, and I recommend that you get started soon!
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