Theatrhythm Final Fantasy – 3DS Review

Title: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy 

Genre: Music

System: 3DS

Developer: indies zero

Publisher: Square Enix

Release Date: February 12th (Japan), July 3rd (US), July 6th (EU) 2012

I am finally rising from my cave with my 3DS and copy of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy in tow. The past week I have been glued to this amazing game which celebrates the 25th anniversary of a treasured franchise.

The light plot follows the events of the Gods, Chaos and Cosmos. The space between the two Gods is called Rhythm, which gives birth to a crystal that controls music. Chaos causes the crystal to become disrupted, and the only way to return it to normal is to increase a music wave known as “Rhythmia”. Rhythmia is the only thing that can restore the radiance of the Crystal, and this is where your journey begins.

Start off your game by creating a party of four characters, made up of the lead characters from each of the Final Fantasy titles. Your party gain experience after each completed song that will boost stats and earn some new skills. Each character can equip certain abilities and items to help the progress through each music stage, such as replenishing health if it falls below a certain percentage, or getting rarer items. Once you level up enough its worth repeating a stage in-case you missed some items you could not get before, particularly in the Chaos Shrine, which I’ll get to later.

The controls are are quite easy to grasp. All you need to do is tap on the bottom screen in time with the guide that scrolls across the top half of the 3DS. The red icons require a simple little tap, the yellow arrows indicate a swipe in the given direction and the green notes are held for a certain amount of time.

There are three modes of play in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Series, Challenge, and Chaos Shrine. Series mode takes you through each of the 13 Final Fantasy games, with each title at five songs apiece. The opening and ending theme segments involve tapping the screen in time with music notes as they move into the center of a crystal on screen. The other songs are separated into three categories: Event Music Stages (EMS), Field Music Stages (FMS) and Battle Music Stages (BMS). Completing songs in Series mode allows you to play them in Challenge mode, which is a “free play” mode which allows the songs to be replayed at higher difficulty levels. A great addition for those of us that aim for perfect scores. I hold my hand up high for this one!

The Chaos Shrine is the last mode to unlock, and is by far the most challenging. It unlocks short sequences of two random songs. In the Chaos Shrine you earn Dark Notes, which are two songs of Expert and Ultimate difficulty. Each movement  contains an FMS and BMS stage, a number of bosses can be challenged, who drop some rare items and shards. Collecting shards allow you to unlock new characters in the game. There are 99 dark notes to get through, each taking a certain level of expertise to get through.

Multiplayer certainly enhances the Chaos Shrine. Dark Notes you collect during the game can be attached to your customisable ProfiCard and swapped through StreetPass. Local multiplayer  allows you to recruit up to three friends to challenge a Dark Note.

Each mode is divided into 3 stages: BMS (Battle Music Stage), FMS (Field Music Stage) and EMS (Event Music Stage). Completing each stage rewards you with Rhythmia and some items you may have picked up throughout the stage. BMS stages focus on a title’s fight songs and act like traditional battle. The more enemies you defeat in BMS, the better your chances are at receiving new items. A Feature Drive during BMS will allow you to unleash a powerful summon attack. FMS is simply side-scrolling rhythm fun, as the screen moves from right-to-left, and a player must either tap a note, slide the stylus in a direction, or hold the stylus down while following a waving line on the touch screen. Like the summon attack in BMS, in FMS you have the opportunity to ride a chocobo in each of the levels for a speed boost.

EMS is my favourite however. Each of the stages are very straightforward, laying the notes over a collection of memorable scenes from each game in the background. EMS stages usually play a slower song which highlight the main feature. Final Fantasy X is my favourite title, so I was lost in ‘Suteki Da Ne’, the song played during that passionate moment with Tidus and Yuna. The only thing about this particular stage, is it is quite easy to get distracted from the task at hand. I found myself missing some notes due to being absorbed in the scene in the background.

If you are a big fan of collecting various bits of junk in a game, then look no further as Theatrhythm Final Fantasy will keep you busy for hours. As well as unlocking new characters, completing stages award you with CollectaCards. These cards detail characters and monsters from the series, which can also be leveled up as by gathering multiple copies of the same card, adding a “holofoil” version. Trophies are achieved upon completing certain tasks, such as getting your first character to level 99 or clearing all the Final Fantasy titles. With 64 trophies to collect, theres plenty to keep you occupied.


If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy, you definitely need to check out Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. A fantastic collection of songs from a brilliant series. Even if you’re not a big fan of the franchise, it is a fantastic music game which will have you humming along to its catchy tunes for hours. There’s a lot of content featured in the game and you’ll find it very hard to put the game down. A must buy.

Orla’s Score: 9/10

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