Final Fantasy is a franchise fans go crazy over. While the numbered games are typically the most anticipated, spin-off games are also beloved and often show a lot more fan service than the main entries. World of Final Fantasy appeared to be exactly that – a fan service title that allows players to run around as full-size or chibi characters. The trailers already showed that it was absolutely adorable, but the recently released demo let us actually try out the combat and mechanics for ourselves.
The chapter in the demo is clearly an artificially created dungeon thats sole purpose is to be used as a demo. There are plenty of recognizable characters from previous Final Fantasy games in chibi form scattered around the map. Talking to them will make fans ooh and aah, but they don’t actually do much in the demo except for hand you an item as you move along your way. I can only assume that their roles will be enhanced and more interesting in the actual game.
As you wander around the world, you can choose to do so in large or chibi form. I was confused about why you might do this – you can even split your party so one is in chibi form and one is in “jiant” form. However, once you start to unpack the combat, it makes a whole lot more sense.
World of Final Fantasy has a lot in common with Pokémon. As you travel the world and encounter new creatures, you can capture them after fulfilling certain requirements. While some requirements might simply be attacking them enough, certain enemies can only become your friends if you use fire, or heal, or any number of other prerequisites. Once they are captured, you can have them fight alongside you (or on top of you, considering the stacking mechanic), level up and customize their skills and abilities.
The main mechanic for combat is centered around stacking. When you enter battle, your companions are stacked on your head. You can use their abilities and pool health and strength to deal some serious damage. Alternatively, you can unstack and each use your own action bar to make more attacks and skills but be more vulnerable to enemy attacks. Beyond voluntarily stacking or unstacking your companions, you can also be attacked in ways that can make you unstable, falling over and unstacking all your companions; similarly, you can attack your enemies in a way that makes them fall over, too.
There is the potential for some deep strategy in the combat, something that belies the cutesy appearance of the game. However, in the demo, this is really poorly explained. It is only through trial and error and experimentation that I even found some of these options.
Also hidden are the differences in the control scheme. I thought one was a quick version of the other, but actually the “old school” version of controls hid a plethora of extra commands and abilities that weren’t visible with the quick options. There was even a really cool summon ability based around blitz ball that fans are sure to adore. I hope the full game includes some control scheme customization options. I often found myself inputting the wrong commands, pressing X to confirm which actually meant defend instead of the triangle or square buttons that would actually initiate my intended actions.
The World of Final Fantasy demo is clearly meant as a tiny slice of the game. I wouldn’t even call it a vertical slice of the game because it’s apparent that this isn’t an actual section of the game but a curated experience designed to give players a feel of the game without the potential for spoilers. Unfortunately, there is also the potential for a ton of typos, so be prepared for some less-than-excellent translation and localization. Rather, playing this demo lets us try out the combat and understand the character designs, levels and certain gameplay elements. If you are at all curious about the game, I’d recommend downloading the demo for yourself – at a little over 1GB download, it won’t eat all your data for the month and if you are a fan of the franchise it will probably leave you wanting to play more.
Last Updated: October 18, 2016