I’m usually not a port beggar as I tend to look forward to newer releases rather than yearning for re-releases of older titles. Of course, that isn’t to say I never desire re-releases since I still yearn for modern ports of the older Tales titles as well as other games. Still, one particular game that I’ve been hoping to see brought over to modern platforms, most notably the Switch, is Theatrhythm Final Fantasy.
Final Fantasy spinoffs tend to be courageously experimental for the sake of appealing to specific niches of fans, and I find Theatrhythm Final Fantasy to encapsulate that notion undeniably strongly. It is a rhythm game, but what makes this experience distinct from the genre’s norms are the title’s RPG systems and multiple control methods. Players can unlock iconic playable characters from progressing on rhythmic adventures and achieving feats while also leveling them up and equipping the varied cast with items and skills.
It is, in all honesty, probably the game I’ve become the most addicted to. I should specify that the Curtain Call release is the version I played, essentially an updated iteration of the original game, including several more songs. I think even non-rhythm gamers could get into Theatrhythm Final Fantasy from the amount of player customization and the splendid tracks it houses. It’s a love letter to the music of Final Fantasy, and that is one general aspect of the games universally agreed upon to be qualitative.
In a similar vein to the recently released Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, the franchise’s first rhythm outing, many series fans who never cared about the genre found themselves hooked on this unexpected sleeper hit. Unfortunately, however, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is shackled to the 3DS, so a re-release would be ideal in amassing a significant amount of new fans.
One main collective caveat with potentially re-releasing Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, though, is its control schemes. So, in addition to the obvious button play style where players must simply time their presses in accordance with the songs’ rhythm, there is also a stylus play style. This has players move their stylus with the lines of rhythm that come by.
The beauty of these control schemes is not only the fact that the preferred method varies from person to person, making neither style objectively better than the other, but also that this choice added unprecedented gameplay depth. Each song could be played in multiple ways, which granted absurd layers of replayability alongside the RPG systems and numerous tracks. Now, rhythm games boast replayability. It is, of course, their honed focus above all else. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy utilized the touchscreen smartly, granting it an instilled sense of identity.
However, I did mention that the multiple control schemes are a collective caveat, the reason being that the only console that could actually use touchscreen functionality now is the Switch in its handheld mode. So, as much as I would like to see this game ported to PlayStation, Xbox, and hell, maybe even PC somehow, a considerable degree of Theatrhythm’s identity would have to be sacrificed to make this idea remotely feasible. I guess the touchpad on the DualShock 4 and DualSense controllers could possibly act as a touchscreen control style, but that’s obviously far less accurate than using an actual touchscreen. So, again, the Switch is the only platform that could use this control method.
Still, I’d rather have Theatrhythm Final Fantasy be brought back than not at all, and if only the Switch can properly house it, then so be it. There’s a vastly untapped contemporary market for this title to thrive once more, and I believe that it’s inevitable with the popularity of the Switch. This all depends on what Square decides, though. Regrettably, there’s been no word on such a re-release occurring, but hey, a gamer can dream.
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