Chocobos? Check. Epic storyline with more twists and turns than a Tonberry could poke a knife at? Check. Monsters so cute that even the most cynical player might find it hard to suppress an “awwww”? Check!
Welcome to World of Final Fantasy, a JRPG by Square Enix. While a part of the Final Fantasy franchise, this game is not a “numbered” entry (the latest of which is Final Fantasy XV, also reviewed here on GvP). Instead, WOFF takes an interesting side-step, aiming to spread the appeal of this lately increasingly dark and serious fantasy series to a wider and also younger audience by taking the player on a more light-hearted adventure.
World of Final Fantasy follows the journey of Reynn and Lann, young twins who travel to the magical realm of Grymoire. Suffering from amnesia, they slowly learn about themselves and their awesome powers as Mirage Keepers, with the ability to catch and then re-summon a huge range of monsters called — you guessed it — mirages! Joined by a fox-like mirage named Tama, they must travel the lands, learning about their past, finding new mirages to enhance their powers, and trying to stop the evil Bahamutian army from taking over the world.
An immediately striking feature of WOFF is the loving detail with which everything is rendered. The cute design elements permeate the game, from the encountered creatures, all the way through to the game’s “loading” icons. Our heroes Reynn and Lann can freely shift between “Jiant” and “Lilikin” forms, the former rendered as more realistic-styled humans, and the latter blending in with the rest of Grymoire’s inhabitants, rendered in chibi style.
Combat is turn-based, and hearkens back to earlier entries in the main FF series, with actions such as “attack”, “ability” or “defend” being selected from a menu. The novelty of WOFF’s gameplay comes through the use of captured mirages, which can be combined into two “stacks”, one for each of our heroes. Mirages come in three sizes, small, medium and large, and can be combined into stacks that include one of each size, with Reynn and Lann making up either the large (when in Jiant form) or medium (when in Lilikin form) element of the stack. This means that you can, for example, have a large-sized Lann with a Spark Dragon and a Black Chocochick balancing on his head, together with a medium-sized Reynn riding on a Red Dragon and carrying a Bablizz on her own head. The choice of mirages determines what special abilities are available in combat (for example, a Red Dragon bestows abilities such as Fire Breath, while a Moogle grants access to a healing Forest Nocturne). Despite sounding a bit silly, like everything else in the game these stacks look incredibly cute. What’s more, as the stacks take damage they become unstable, and can eventually even topple over!
WOFF makes great use of lore from previous entries in the Final Fantasy series, and includes everything from FF staple creatures (Cactuars, Tonberries, Moogles and many more can be found in Grymoire), to powerful “ESPers” such as Shiva and Ifrit, through to heroes from previous games including unforgettable characters like Lightning, Tidus, and Terra, who themselves become summonable to aid Lann and Reynn on their quest.
Also in common with other FF games is the incredible variety of things to do, including hundreds of mirages to collect, myriad different special abilities to unlock (each individual mirage can gain experience, unlocking further special abilities though a talent tree called a “mirage board”), an engaging storyline, and puzzles to solve.
Of course, some of this expansiveness can at times also feel a bit exhausting. For example, after several hours of gameplay, it got difficult to keep my many mirages skilled up. Only ten can be “active” at any time, while the others are kept in a trans-dimensional storage area called the Prism Case, where they don’t gain any experience points. Some of the dungeon level designs also started to feel a little familiar, although the puzzles continued to increase in complexity, which helped to compensate. And the “charm” of Tama’s speech impediment — inserting “the” in grammatically inappropriate places — was wearing a bit thin. (But then Serafie, the grumpy mirage who looks after the Prism Case, made up for all that by unexpectedly getting out her watering-can and watering Tama’s head! Seems I wasn’t the only one who was getting the-tired of Tama’s rambling the-discourse!)
These minor gripes aside, I’m certainly looking forward to continuing my explorations of Grymoire. There are many, many things left to do, including finding out the Reynn and Lann’s true history and connection to the world, many more mirages to capture and heroes to summon, and further abilities to unlock. And did I mention, everything is really, really cute?
The reviewed version of World of Final Fantasy was played on a PS4 console. Screen captures taken by Games vs Play for the purposes of review. To find out more about the latest reviews, stories and other cool things in the world of games, like us on Facebook. And remember – if you’re game, we’ll play!