Theatrhythm Final Bar Line Review – A Rhythm Game Love Letter to Final Fantasy Fans
Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is a noteworthy addition to the Final Fantasy rhythm game series, offering improved gameplay modes and an extensive selection of songs. Originally a handheld release, Final Bar Line now caters to the big screen, and the transition has done wonders for the game.
With Final Fantasy’s 35th anniversary this year, the timing of the game’s release seems fitting as it pays homage to the franchise’s storied history and legendary soundtrack. Theatrhythm Final Bar Line not only provides an abundance of content but also delivers a fun and engaging gameplay experience, serving as a love letter to fans.
Despite not being a fan of most rhythm-based games, I felt at home playing Theatrhythm Final Bar Line. The game has an easy learning curve, and the introduction tutorials provide all the necessary information. Timing and reaction time is crucial to success, and the game’s appeal stems from its classic Final Fantasy games and sublime soundtrack. The chibi-style artwork of the characters and enemies, coupled with the impressive visuals, is another highlight.
Gameplay is straightforward, requiring players to press the right button at the right time. The game comprises three music stages: Battle Music Stages (BMS), Field Music Stages (FMS), and Event Music Stages (EMS), each providing some variation to the gameplay. Players can perform four different actions during the songs, including a simple button click, a directional button, a long-press button, and a special move that involves following long notes up and down the screen.
While touchscreen gameplay is optimal, The game’s controls are competent with a controller, and the tutorials and practice mode facilitate players’ adjustment to a larger screen. It is unfortunate that the Nintendo Switch version lacks touch control support, which could have differentiated it from other platforms. This decision may stem from designing the gameplay and controls specifically for a controller. However, if touch controls were included as a bonus feature, it would undoubtedly enhance the definitive experience on the Nintendo Switch.
The Nintendo Switch version boasts an advantage with its co-op support through Joy-Con controllers, enabling two players to collaborate and tackle classic Final Fantasy tracks together. Furthermore, the game presents a broad array of customization options for the controls, allowing for calibration adjustments that can facilitate effortless play or increase the level of difficulty. The beginner-friendly gameplay style strengthens the game’s status as one of the best entries in the franchise.
The game covers over 350 songs from the Final Fantasy series, including numerous spin-offs, offering an extensive selection to choose from. While some songs may be missed, the game’s vast library ensures that no stone is left unturned.
The main attraction of Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is the ‘Series Quest’ mode, where most of the unlockables are available. There are over 100 characters to choose from, and although some lack balance, the game provides a good balance for beginners and experienced players alike. RPG mechanics are tied to the button-mashing rhythm, with each character having stats that determine the amount of damage they can inflict on the enemies. It is essential to have a well-organized party with a healer and an attacker to meet the requirements demanded in each stage. The game offers plenty of unlockables, some tied to specific quests in stages and others to reaching milestones in a song, providing an unlimited amount of replay value.
Let us now delve into the constraints of the Nintendo Switch version. Aside from the regrettable absence of touch controls, the game is marred by numerous loading screens, which diminish the overall experience offered by the platform. While it is unclear whether other platforms perform better in this regard, it is still a limiting factor for the Nintendo Switch. Furthermore, the choppy cinematics that features during the Event Music Stage mode poses another problem. Although these sequences primarily serve as fan service, they do not offer the most optimal way to experience the classic songs.
In conclusion, Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is a worthy entry in the Final Fantasy rhythm game series, offering improved gameplay, an extensive selection of songs, and an engaging gameplay experience. Despite some minor flaws, it is a love letter to fans that captures the essence of Final Fantasy’s storied history and legendary soundtrack, providing an unlimited amount of replay value.
Theatrhythm Final Bar Line Game Information
- Price: $49.99
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix
- Platform: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher