You regular readers out there know how excited I was for my Square Enix appointment so I could get my hands on Theatrhythm Final Fantasy for the Nintendo 3DS. And luckily, they held their appointments in a suite at the hotel next door to the convention center so I didn't have to try and play a music/rhythm game on the noisy show floor! (Seriously, I played a round of Dance Central 2 there and couldn't even hear the song I was dancing to!)
I still wish I'd had headphones in while demoing the game, because while it was quieter than the chaotic show floor, there was still a lot going on. But I was able to sample each of the game's three main modes, and the special super-challenging extra mode. And what I saw, I loved!
You select a game from the Final Fantasy series and then play the songs from it. The first game mode I played was Field Mode, where your little adorable super-deformed FF character walks along as the music plays and the symbols you have to tap scroll from left to right along the top of the screen. Obviously, you're looking at the 3D top screen of the 3DS and tapping wherever on the bottom screen. Timing is more important than placement of your taps. There are quick taps, flicks in the direction of the arrow on the dot, and then holds where you have to move your stylus up and down on the touch screen so you stay within the lines connecting the two "notes." Then there's Event Mode, where you use the same techniques as you watch cutscenes from the FF game selected while a song plays. Lastly, there's Battle Mode, where your team of warriors faces off against a monster, and you have to get a high enough score to defeat it. (If you do well enough, you even cast a summon!)
While rhythm games of this ilk tend to be kind of easy, there is still a whole lot of content to unlock as you play through the game and amass the points required to do so (it gets harder later on as it takes more points to unlock the later stuff). But Squeenix has also added Chaos Mode, which is designed to challenge even the most hardcore music/rhythm game fan. And I have to admit that the round I demoed... I totally failed out of. But in my defense, as I said, I couldn't really hear the music that well! Plus, being incidental music from Final Fantasy, I'm not as familiar with its structure and rhythm as I would be with a Kylie Minogue pop song!
There are 70 tracks from the Final Fantasy series included with the game, with plans for more to be released via DLC. So even once you've finished the game which, as I've said, will take a while there will be more to play on the horizon! Theatrhythm Final Fantasy looks like a fun music/rhythm game with heaps of FF fan service, and we can all enjoy it when it hits stores on July 3!