You have to play the cutest rhythm game ever

From the opening’s vibrant symphonic scene, it’s clear that Theatryhthm Final Barline celebrates the legacy of the Final Fantasy series, and it does it well. final bar it’s absolutely packed with content to play, and it’s all accentuated by a lovely art style that practically makes the game jump off the screen. Your mileage with the game will obviously vary depending on how much Final Fantasy nostalgia you have, but even if you’re simply a fan of rhythm games, final bar is easily one of the most ambitious ever made.

final bar is technically the fifth theater game, following two 3DS entries, a Dragon Quest spinoff, and a Japan-only arcade game in 2016. It’s hard to imagine the series going anywhere from here, however, as final bar essentially perfects the formula for high shine.

Like most rhythm games, the core gameplay of theater revolves around pushing buttons in time with the music, while icons run along a track. Previous games in the series used completely touch-based control schemes, but final bar changes things to a button interface, and overall it’s great. The controls take a little getting used to, but before long you’ll be using the control sticks to hit slide and directional notes without a second thought. Square Enix has clearly put a lot of thought into how final bar plays with one controller and there are a variety of customization options for players of all skill sets.

Theatryhthm’s colorful art style instantly catches the eye and is very helpful in giving each song even more personality.

Square Enix

Each song has three or four different difficulty modes that control the number of notes you need to hit, and there are three control options on top of that. The pair allows two players to make the same music with two controllers, the single simplifies things where you only use a single button and defaults to exactly what it sounds like. All these options let you adjust the difficulty to be as hard or easy as you want, so you never feel the pressure of not being good enough at the pace.

The number of songs offered in final bar hits an impressive 385, split across all mainline entries and a handful of spinoffs. It’s a tremendous offering that can keep you busy for hours on end, but you won’t get everything unlocked at first.

final barThe game’s main new mode is Series Quests, where you play through each series and “relive” the game through its music. Initially it might be a little disappointing that you don’t have everything unlocked from the start, but final barThe incredible attention to detail more than makes up for it.

Each game’s amount of unique areas, enemies, and animations is a huge step up from previous entries.

Square Enix

The song is divided into Field Tracks, which see your cute little chibi characters running around the world, and Battle Tracks, which has your party fighting a series of enemies. Notably, each Battle Track features a different background environment from its game and typically also features enemies unique to said game. Field Tracks occasionally reuses environments, but also brings a lot of visual variety. The sheer visual variety is impressive and it’s a lot of fun to see all these iconic areas from across the Final Fantasy series.

Equally impressive is the thought put into its chibi characters, all of whom look exceptionally detailed and different. Playing upbeat music while Squall scowls is hilarious, especially when you leave Seifer and his cocky grin behind. Characters gain experience from songs and unlock abilities they can use, all related to their respective games. Leveling them up enough unlocks flashy special attacks like Cloud’s Omnislash or Noctis’ Armiger. There are over 100 characters to choose from, each with their own special moves, which creates a second sense of progression as you unlock new songs.

Additionally, each of the pre-selected parts can equip a summon, aircraft, and moogle, and you’ll unlock more of them by earning Rythmia points by playing songs. All of these little cosmetics add a lot of flair to Theatrhythm’s visual experience, and each character has catchphrases that they throw out occasionally, which can lead to some hilarious moments.

End slash lines the new multiplayer mode is absolute chaos, in a good way.

Square Enix

For example, I finished playing a happy Chocobo theme only to have Vincent Final Fantasy VII exclaim “Let me sleep…” Another moment saw Noctis release his special move just as the song ended, with my Vivi uttering an awkward “Um…” as if he was commenting on the weather. Intentional or not, these lines lead to great humor emerging.

final bar it also features a new mode called Multi Battle where you face off against another player. In this mode, you have a meter that fills up as you do well, and when it’s full, it’s used to unleash special attacks against your opponent, like filling their screen with Fat Chocobos that make it hard to see. This multiplayer mode adds to the chaos of some already intense songs and puts a fun spin on the core formula of theater.

What is truly impressive about final bar it’s the thought and care put into every aspect. The gameplay has been tweaked to appeal to newcomers and veterans alike, and Final Fantasy fans will find numerous small references and references from across the series. The amount of detail put into music from even newer games like stranger from paradise, is impressive and ultimately creates one of the most robust rhythm game experiences ever made. All about Theatrical end bar line creates a joyous experience that can melt the hearts of even the most staunch cynics.

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