Two amnesiacs, apparently orphaned, on a journey to dethrone tyrants, reconcile kingdoms and suffer the niggling indignity of random battles. World of Final Fantasy, a game that heralds the beginning of a year of 30th Anniversary celebrations for Square Enix’s flagship series, trembles with nostalgic resonance. Billed as a return to Final Fantasy’s formative style (just as the company readies itself for reactions to the 15th and least conventional game in the series to date), the game revives Koichi Ishii’s line-dancing, turn-based battles, as well as the careers of numerous heroes, brought out of retirement for the Disney-esque parade.
As you might expect, it’s a game of cutesy nods and winks, a warm soup of fan-service, lumpy with chocobos, moogles, cactuars and all the rest. But for all the predictability, it’s also a game that, at its core, answers an entirely unexpected question: would Pokémon be a better game if you could stack the monsters into a weaponised tower?
Lann and Reynn, sibling baristas who work in an abandoned (yet curiously pristine) city, soon discover that they’re able to trap the local monsters, known as Mirages, in Prismariums – a kind of snow globe able to miniaturise and hoover up a creature sufficiently weakened to be ‘imprismed’. Mirages prove loyal to their captors; once caught they willingly fight to enslave other fauna. World of Final Fantasy’s novelty is that a Mirage can be placed on Lann and Reynn’s heads, and another, smaller Mirage on top of that. In keeping with Donald Trump’s guiding creed, as a tower grows in height so its maker grows in power. Each Mirage’s hit points, defensive capabilities and even spells combine when stacked – until, that is, the tower is toppled, at which point its constituent elements scatter to the ground.