I know I said before that I’m not intending to use my new tablet as a gaming device, but the fact of the matter is that it’s a new toy, and I need to put it through its paces. That and I’d kinda like to have one or two little games I can poke at for a for a few minutes before bed, or when I don’t have enough time left in my lunch break to finish another chapter in a book.
So I browsed whatever it is that they call the Android app store, to see what kind of games are popular with tablet users. As expected, it was pretty much all stuff I’ve never heard of and didn’t look interesting to me. Also there was Minecraft Pocket Edition for $7, which I’m still mulling over (I give it a couple weeks before I give in). I did try to install a free Minecraft clone just to get my fix, but apparently it’s either broken or incompatible with my device because it refused to download.
In the end, I found myself buried in a page full of pricey mobile ports of classic Final Fantasy titles. I kinda want one, but I really don’t want to pay $16. Then I noticed that one was listed as free. That game is Final Fantasy: All The Bravest. And I’ll tell you right now, that it’s not even worth your zero dollars. If I had a dime for every free mobile game I’ve said that about…
I guess it came out some time ago, but never caught my attention since, as I’ve mentioned many many times, I don’t really use my phone for games. Also it’s a freemium game and I try to stay away from those as much as possible because I hate that model more than anything. I’m not the kind of person who doesn’t want to pay for video games, but I’d much rather pay upfront than play a “free” game and then get shaken down over and over if I want to enjoy the game to its fullest. Just call it a freaking demo already!
The idea of the game is that you have a legion of little dudes based on the myriad of Final Fantasy jobs. You know, knights, monks, mages of all colours. Anyhow, you start with four, and as you level up, your squad will get bigger and bigger until you’re rocking a troupe of 32 guys. You can even bump it up to 40 if you send out a few tweets through the game. So you have this weird thing where it’s a classic FF battle screen, but your side is just swarming with party members instead of having the nice clean lineup of four or five.
The entire game is battling monsters and bosses. The way battles are fought is that you tap on your dudes and they do an attack. Then you wait for their ATB gauge to fill and then tap them again. Do this until the enemy dies. That is literally all there is. Different job do different attack animations, but they all simply attack. It’s mindless and repetitive, not even giving you the satisfaction of feeling like you’re the one who led your team to victory.
So all you do is swipe around the screen and watch as your guys just keep attacking over and over. Until they die, at least, which is often, because every guy on your team dies in a single hit from an enemy. If your team wipes, you have two options. You can wait, as one guy will regenerate every three minutes, so you can just flip over to a book and read for a bit while you wait for your team to recover. The best thing about the game is that when your squad is ready to go again, the alert sound is a little 16-bit chocobo wark.
The other way to recover your team is to use a gold hourglass, which is where things take a sharp turn for the worse. Gold hourglasses, you see, cost real dollars. And they’re only the tip of that iceberg.
While you recruit the 25 generic job class characters as you play through the game, you can also have actual legacy characters join up with you. There are a total of 35 premium characters to buy, but they cost $1.06 each and are handed out randomly. So if you want to have a cute little Rinoa sprite in your party, you might have to pay upwards of $35 before she shows up. It’s terrible.
There are also a few world packs that cost like $4 or something each, which give you a little bang for your buck, since they give you a whole new set of levels, enemies and weapons, rather than just plunking in one random character who may or may not show up in your randomly-selected party.
So if there isn’t anything to the gameplay and the microtransactions are useless and exploitative, what is the appeal of this game? Honestly, I don’t really know. The only thing close to actual FF gameplay is farming enemies for rare weapon drops. I suppose it’s trying to coast on nostalgia, but it does a pretty bad job at that. You can’t see any of the beloved characters without paying out the nose, and even the overworld maps are incredibly generic and lazy. There is a catalog of all the characters, weapons, and enemies you’ve seen that has humorous descriptions to read, but that’s really not enough.
The music is good. There’s that, I guess. It’s all from past FF games, as it should be.
The bottom line is that if you’re looking at the Final Fantasy: All The Bravest page in an app store of some sort, it’s not worth your time. I played through it (and didn’t spend a cent) and I strongly regret the time I spent with it. I could have been doing anything else and been more satisfied. I could have been playing an incomplete, poorly-controlling version of Minecraft instead. You know, that actually sounds pretty good right now…