Theatrhythm is not only an endearing nostalgia trip with a killer soundtrack, but a fine rhythm game to boot.
- Great collection of some of the best Final Fantasy tracks
- Charming visuals
- Varying difficulty levels make it easy for anyone to pick up
- Addictive rhythm action.
- No online play.
So much of Theatrhythm comes down to nostalgia: the cutest of chibi-style characters, the squark of a chocobo, the fiery punch of an Ifrit summon. And it would be easy to imagine that there's no more to it than that--a simple sparking of childhood memories that makes for an easy cash-in. But there is more to it. Like all great rhythm games, Theatrhythm forces dexterity upon you. It doesn't make sense at first. It's even a little frustrating. But you learn, and learn quickly. What once was a confusing array of neon circles and blinking arrows becomes a series of addictive taps and swipes that morph themselves effortlessly into the music.
And what glorious music it is too. For all the chocobos, giant swords, spiky haircuts, summons, mogs, and endless corridors that the Final Fantasy series is famed for, it's the music that's often most fondly remembered. There's little that sparks the nostalgic flame better than the swelling arpeggios of the classic prelude or the weary tinkling of a piano in Aerith's theme. And there's something for everyone here, from the classic chiptune soundtracks of the original, all the way through to the majestic orchestral arrangements of XIII. You don't have to be a fan of the series to appreciate the music--it's beautifully composed.
So too is the rhythm game etched into it. Red circles are tapped, green circles are pressed and held, and yellow ones are there to be swiped as they glide across the screen. Sometimes they mimic the melody line. Other times they follow the rhythm. They often syncopate wildly. But they all do so with a pace and arrangement that's sensitive to the original material, while offering up a decent challenge--more so on the higher difficulties, where a barrage of circles come at you thick and fast, requiring precise timing.
Different tracks present different challenges. For World (field) music, notes appear on a single line, with long tracks following green circles for you to trace with the stylus. For Event music like Aerith's theme, notes appear slowly, displaying just enough of the command for you to lose your focus. For Battle music you're treated to four tracks--one for each of your team members--that not only require some wild concentration to read across all of them, but also launch attacks against classic Final Fantasy villains for each well-timed tap.
It's the Battle tracks that prove to be the most enjoyable of the lot: the music is faster, the note charts are denser, and they play a bigger part in the traditional Final Fantasy role-playing elements that are baked into the game. Characters can be levelled up, and items can be equipped for different buffs and status effects. Some items give you more hit points (which depletes each time you miss a note), and others increase your chances of stealing collectible items like character cards. Some even boost statistics such as strength or agility, increasing the power of your attacks in Battle tracks.
Items and buffs are a neat addition, but not a wholly necessary one. It's quite possible to make it through even the toughest of tracks with your rhythmical skill alone--there are even bonus points for doing so. Not much is made of the monsters in battle either. They're nothing more than a visual aid that provides the illusion of success--they could just as well not be there. They flutter in and out of battles with an alarming regularity without so much as a whimper, and even so-called "bosses" are no harder to fight than anyone else--the challenge is based on the note patterns, not an enemy's nonexistent strength.
Fortunately the underlying rhythm game is entertaining enough to hold your attention on its own, particularly when there's so much to explore. Aside from the basic Series mode, which challenges you with three tracks from each Final Fantasy game in turn, there's Challenge mode, which lets you play through tracks individually and at higher difficulty levels. There's also Chaos Shrine mode, which generates an endless list of random two-song sets called Dark Notes for you to play through at higher difficulties and contains hidden tracks that don't make it into either of the two other modes.
You can share your favourites with others via SpotPass, or join up to three other players via a local connection, each taking control of a single line of notes. Sadly, there's no online play, which is a missed opportunity not just for multiplayer, but also for trading Dark Notes and collectible playing cards with fellow players via SpotPass. Theatrhythm's one online function is a download store, which is as yet unpopulated, but there's the promise of more fan-favorite tracks making themselves available postlaunch.
If it sounds like a vital piece of the Final Fantasy puzzle is missing here, then you'd be right: there's not much narrative to speak of. A halfhearted attempt at one has been made, but the only treatment it gets is a paragraph at the start of the game. Like the RPG elements, though, the sparse storytelling matters little. This is a throughly entertaining rhythm game, one that proves itself to be as addictive as greats like Elite Beat Agents and Rhythm Heaven Fever. It has been lovingly put together in a way that pays great tribute to the Final Fantasy series and its music, without ever taking Aitself too seriously--just one look at the squeal-inducing cuteness of the chibi characters is enough to confirm that.
The reviewer totally missed the finer details of the battle and field modes. I wonder if he would've thought even more highly of the game if he had understood them better.
In battle, the enemies aren't just random and a visual aid. The more you kill, the more and better items you get. I haven't been able to kill one of the final bosses of a game yet, but I assume it nets you a pretty good reward.
And the goal of the field mode is to get as far as you can before the song ends. Stats and abilities help tremendously with this, along with doing well at the rhythm part. The farther you get, the more items you acquire.
@lionheartssj1 Not really.
@AQWBlaZer91 How would you know? You said you weren't gonna buy it. A brainless whiner complaining about games you don't even play.
I'm sorry but AQW is right. This game is nothing more than pressing buttons on your 3DS at exactly the right time to "fight". I'm an FF addict myself, having played VII as well as CC and other games that were released after, and I don't find this particular game at all worthy. It's just recycled material we've seen in games like Guitar Hero, DDR, Michael Jackson: The Experience, etc.
And excuse me, $ 40 ???? You're kidding, right?
7.0-7.5: Good A game within this range is good overall, and likely worth playing by fans of the particular genre or by those otherwise interested. While its strengths outweigh its weaknesses, a game that falls in this range tends to have noticeable faults.Gamespot's rating system. Just because the game got a 7.5 doesn't mean it's bad. It's just not an excellent game.
@HonorOfGod Yeah, I was wondering the same... online records are the most I was expecting from this, I wouldnt care for online play
@HonorOfGod they had to give something in the BAD section. since they gave the game a 7.5, he has to explain the reason for that low score. apparently the on-line play is a major issue :-D
I was skeptical when I first heard about this game, however after playing the demo I can see its charm and enjoyment out of the game that is different from the traditional exploration RPG genre, its something to step back and enjoy the music in a nostalgic way, and I got this from a demo! :P, but it looks good, play the trial version and find out yourselves.
So this is what Square-Enix has been busy with instead of, you know... that other game everybody wants them to make but are too afraid to make it.
people aren't understanding the fact that the overall scrore isn't just for things mentioned in "The Bad" , really , i didn't play it yet , maybe it just wasn't fun.
This is why i trust Gamespot. This is an incredibly fair score by this site, as usual. I think IGN gave this game an 8 or an 8.5. You see, when something even halfway decent gets released, IGN gets overly excited and inflates the score. They do it constantly. I even play a little game with these two publications. whenever i read a major review from IGN (theyre usually quicker to review things than this site) I go and check Gamespot afterwards - and almost every single time, the score is a full point lower. Which doesnt sound like a big differential but it can actually mean the difference between a great game and a mediocre one. I just respect their fairness, but I do love both sites. IGN admittedly has more comprehensive coverage but Gamespot is just tougher from a journalistic aspect. And I could care less about the score, a 7.5 is still great and ill buy this anyway because Im a HUGE FF fan.
@THEgodDELUSION1 Overly excited... you mean Audrey Drake?? xD
@THEgodDELUSION1 Haha, i've got a mate who's just like that and he uses IGN, He thinks Gamespot is for kids?
@THEgodDELUSION1 I think 7.5 for a written review that doesn't point any significant flaw is basically rating down a game for its nature. In this case, a rhythm game.A game like this that executes its premise almost flawlessly deserved a 9 or higher.
@Mihael-Keehl ill have to play it before i make that assumption. You dont need some major flaw to lose 2.5 points. Its an accumulative score.. and saying that it executes its premise 'flawlessly' is a matter of opinion on your part, especially since you havent played it yet.
@THEgodDELUSION1 I have played it. I have spent many hours with the demo, which due to the simple nature of the game is an accurate representation of the gameplay in this game.
Not that it is a really bad score, but a 7.5 due to a lack of online play in a game that would never greatly benefit from it? That's like giving a pancake dinner a 7.5 due a lack of tomato sauce.
@Cillah187 who says that just because the score was 7.5, that it got knocked down 2.5 points simply because of a lack of online play - its an overall score and im sure many factor led to it. By your analogy, if it had online play, it would have received a 10. not ragging on u though, i dont see how a lack of online play is a weakness either..
Has it really come to the point that even rhythm games are looked down upon without online play? Did anyone miss online play while they were playing Elite Beat Agents or Rhythm Heaven?What a really weird thing to put on "The Bad".
I had the chance to try it out and it was a lot of fun, indeed filled with a ton of nostalgia. Though it made me sort of sad/mad that the most recent Final Fantasy game which I highly enjoyed was a rhythm game and not a main series one.
I played the demo and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I never played the Final Fantasy games that are deemed 'the best', I've only played the very first one and XIII, so I don't think it's worth my money. The demo was hell'a fun though!
@Defy_The_Fallen If you enjoyed the game then why wouldn't you get it, it might even entice you to play the other final fantasy games.
@bgna8980 I'll probably get it once the price goes down (yes it's a cheap game at the moment but I'm saving for a nexus 7!)
I don't think it will, I don't like the way each game strays from each other and to me don't seem connected in any way. I wasn't really a fan of XIII, although I enjoyed the original (I also played some of III on DS).
@Defy_The_Fallen XIII wasnt that great and the reason why the series is lasting is because there have not been many sequels(excluding 7 spin offs) and thats what sets each game apart and very popular if the stories for each weren't good then im sure the series would go downhill......if you really want to play the best final fantasy games I'd say play 6,7,8,9 & 10 with 9 being my personal favorite
You found it really fun but you won't get the game because you haven't played many of the Final Fantasy series? Theatrhythm is just a rhythm game, and has nothing really to do with the other mainstream games. It's just for fun. You're argument for why it's not worth your money is a little strange.
@Garudyne989 Just the fact that I won't get the main feeling of nostalgia, which is essentially what this game is built around.
@Garudyne989 The main thing you look for in a rhythm game is songs you know, when I hop on Guitar Hero, I want to play the tracks I know rather than grind through songs I've never heard of, for example. In this case, it's a game full of tracks I don't know. Although it's different in the sense that it's a soundtrack rather than actual songs, so it might be enjoyable.
The PS Vita isn't worthy of such a thing. This game isn't about story or the usual FF things. Its big guns are graphics, and music. And they capitalized on that with the 3DS.