With its cute art style, bright vibrant colours and accessible story, you’d be forgiven for thinking World Of Final Fantasy is a game for kids. Despite its joke-filled script and cliched plot about saving the world, the game play and battle system are surprisingly deep and robust. The welcome return of a turn based battle system requires some tactical planning to maximise its efficiency and although it becomes a lot easier to plow your way through the game with the same monsters toward the end of the game, this is vintage Final Fantasy and an ode to fans of the series.
The story follows two teens, Reynn and Lann, as they’re whisked away from their home into the land of Grymoire to save the world. As the fabled jiants of the land, a prophecy foretells that the two characters will end the darkness of the Bahamutian Army that’s sweeping across the land. While the enemy forces grow in power, you take control of the two teens simultaneously, switching on the fly, while you scour the land for creatures called mirages to add to your roster and help destroy the darkness. It feels like a generic final fantasy story but the added layer of collecting mirages is great fun and coupled with the deep battle system, keeps the game fresh.
Collecting mirages is a one of the best parts of the game
The game feels like fan service on every level, mashing up some of the best elements from different Final Fantasy games into one. Everything from the level design, to the shattering of the screen for the battle starting is deliberately placed to hit those nostalgic buttons. With cameo appearances from most of the series’ iconic characters and the ability to use those as summons, you can’t help but smile as familiar faces like Yuna or Cloud help the heroes out. With 21 chapters, the game can be completed with the help of these heroes in around 25 hours or so but to see everything, including the side quests, collecting all the mirages and the mini games, you’re easily looking at around 50 hours + playtime.
The real meat of the game is with the battle system and its here that World Of Final Fantasy makes a solid case for a deeper, tactical turn based system returning to the series. The level of detail with it is meticulous, right down to the individual mirages and their unique skills. The way battles work seems complicated to begin with but after a little bit of playing, its a simple system to grasp. Much like Pokemon, there’s a team of 6 monsters that can sit on the fringes of your team whilst the main party are “stacked”. In the game, creatures come in 3 formats, S, M and L to correspond to their size. You choose a monster from each size to stack on top of one another to form the team to fight in battles. Reynn and Lann are compulsory additions though and can be changed to either their smaller “M” size or kept as their “L” size but real thought needs to be given in how to stack the monsters to maximise the two character’s full potential. Whereas in games like Pokemon you train them up to evolve, the mirages can do the same but can significantly affect the stats of the party and more importantly, their size. My behemoth could have evolved into a behemonster with signifcantly inflated stats but I held off due to it being the strongest monster for my party.
The cute chibi art style won’t be for everyone but its charming nonetheless
During my time with the game I changed my stack a number of times before falling on a perfect party to suit my play style. This constant tweaking and swapping monsters in and out is made all the better by multiple layers on top of that with the ability to level up each mirage with experience points in battle and in turn upgrade their stats and abilities to further bulk the party out.
World Of Final Fantasy is a lighthearted entry in the series and its humour, whilst fused with some eye rolling jokes and cringey physical humour, definitely grows on you as the story progresses. Of course if hearing the chibi style humour poke fun at the Final Fantasy universe and the characters themselves doesn’t sound like much fun, you’re probably better off missing this one. Whilst this game isn’t necessarily for kids per se, its dark tone is undermined by the levels of humour evident throughout the game. Wisely, the developers have included a fast forward button that skips all the voice acting to allow you to read through the subtitles rather than watch the action unfold in cut scenes and this welcome addition to the game spills over to the battle system that also has a fast forward and an “auto-action” button that, when pressed, just repeats the last action you did in that battle or defaults to attacking if you’ve only just started the fight. Whilst I rarely used the latter, I can see how it would be useful when grinding out the levels late on.
The dungeons are well designed and hold plenty of powerful mirages to capture
On top of the story and deep battle system, the game boasts “intervention” questions which work as sort of side-story driven missions that almost always end in a fight of some description. There’s also a coliseum where you can test out your stack against loads of different teams of monsters and very late on, the ability to play minigames too. There’s a lot to do here and aside some of the connecting dungeons in the game feeling unnecessarily dragged out at times, it never feels like its padding the game out and brings a much needed distraction from the main plotline.
Overall, World Of Final Fantasy is the answer to turn-based battle fans that aren’t enthused with the new real-time battle system the series has opted for. The battle system is deep and with the ability to collect mirages and train them up with a pokemon-inspired system, there’s plenty of reasons to like this game. It won’t be for everyone of course and its cutesy art style might turn some people away but on the whole, World Of Final Fantasy is a solid entry and one that deserves to be checked out if you’re a fan of RPGs.
Verdict - 8/10