Written by Iris the Keyblade Master
The Theatrhythm Final Fantasy games celebrate one of the best aspects of the series: the music. Both rhythm games are available for the Nintendo 3DS. Although if you’re interested in giving Theatrhythm a try, don’t waste your money purchasing both of them. The sequel, Curtain Call, has all of the same songs and lots more.
I debated with myself about whether to get the original Theatrhythm when it was first released on the Nintendo 3DS. Having gotten booed out of levels of Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution, and surviving the infamous Little Mermaid sidequest in Kingdom Hearts 2…my experiences with rhythm games weren’t very good ones. But someone at GameStop encouraged me to give it a try, and that’s how I ended up losing countless hours of my life to this game. I have no regrets.
The gameplay’s divided into three types of stages: Field, Battle, and Event. Field songs consist of tracks like “Terra’s Theme” from Final Fantasy VI, the main theme from VII, and “A Place to Call Home” from IX. An adorable chibi Final Fantasy character of your choosing strolls along a path to the music, while you try to hit as many notes correctly as possible. Although the notes can come across the screen quickly, depending on the song and the difficulty level, Field Stages are generally slower in pace than their Battle counterparts.
In Battle, you create a party of four chibi characters who fight different monsters and villains who have appeared throughout the Final Fantasy series. When you hit the right notes, their attacks are successful. If you miss a note, they lose health. (This actually applies to the Field and Event stages too, except you’re not attacking anything. You’re just trying to keep the character’s health bar full.) The songs you can choose from include the always classic “One-Winged Angel,” as well as “Dancing Mad,” “The Man With the Machine Gun,” and “Battle on the Big Bridge.”
Last, but not least, we have the Event stages. These stages were more prevalent in the original game, because every entry from the series had one. In Curtain Call, all of the songs that originally appeared as Event stages got turned into Field or Battle stages instead. It’s a shame, because even if they’re difficult to play, they’re beautiful to watch. Instead of battling enemies or walking through a field, you watch a video that highlights the most memorable moments from the featured Final Fantasy game. The selected songs are popular themes from the game that people tend to think about when they think of that particular entry, i.e. “Sutaki da ne,” “Aerith’s Theme,” and “Answers” from Final Fantasy XIV. The best, by far, appears in Curtain Call. It’s a gorgeous medley of Final Fantasy themes played over highlights from the entire franchise. If you’re a fan of any Final Fantasy games, I dare you not to cry while watching it.
It’s worth mentioning that the way you progress through the game changed in a few significant ways from the first Theatrhythm to Curtain Call. In the original game, you could select any of the main musical stages for each of the games featured in Theatrhythm, from the original Final Fantasy to XIII. However, once you committed yourself to one of the entries, i.e. Final Fantasy IX, you had to play through all three musical stages before being allowed to go back and play whichever one you wanted.