I am a huge fan of miniaturized objects. I once bought a six-pack of Coca Cola because the teeny, six ounce cans were just precious. So, when I first saw the trailer to World of Final Fantasy, above and fresh out of Tokyo Game Show (TGS), it took every fiber of my being not to gush out loud. I mean, how do you not “aww” at a Chibi Cloud?
World of Final Fantasy is a more playful take on the franchise, and a breath of fresh air. WoFF averts from the more serious tone of its brethren, looking to be a colorful romp through the Final Fantasy universe.
World of Final Fantasy stars twins Reynn and her brother Lann. The two are trying to recover their lost memories when they journey into a mysterious world. The game play is a mix of classic Final Fantasy exploration with a bit of Pokémon thrown in. If that sounds strange now, wait until you see it in action.
The battles are your traditional turn based affairs, but Square Enix put an interesting spin on the ATB system.
On the left side of the screen images of the characters and enemies move up a bar that represents the time until they can take their next turn. Spells like Haste and Slow will change the speed at which you advance. It’s a mechanic similar to the one used in JRPGs like Grandia.
Something else you may notice in the image above is that the main characters have monsters, Mirages as they’re known in World of Final Fantasy’s case, stacked on their heads. This is where the game’s Pokémon elements come into play. Throughout their journey Reynn and Lann will be able to capture mirages and, by stacking them on their heads, be able to tap into special abilities. The capture method is call Imprism—eerily close to imprison. When you Imprism a mirage, Final Fantasy‘s version of a Pokéball is deployed.
Apart from stacking the Mirages on your head, you will also be able to ride them.
Therein lies another game mechanic. During the course of their journey Reynn and Lann will be able to transform to and from regular and chibi sizes. Not only will their avatars change on the world map, but in battle as well. The form you enter battle with determines what creatures you can stack on your head or ride, among other things. The size variants will also play a roll while traversing the world.
The Mirages captured will be able to level up and “evolve” into various forms during their growth. Through a system heavily reminiscent of Final Fantasy X‘s Sphere Grid, a mechanic Square Enix is clearly fond of, you will level up your Imprismed creatures and teach them new abilities.
It wouldn’t be a Final Fantasy without some form of summoning, and World of Final Fantasy doesn’t disappoint in this regard. In WoFF, Reynn and Lann can call on help from some of the series’ most iconic heroes and villains. Through the use of medals you will be able to summon characters like the Chibi Cloud above, or Tidus.
The summons are lengthy and over-the-top, like all good FF summons are, not to mention how cute the characters look while performing their unique signature attacks. It is worth a mention that the option to fast forward battles and their animations is available from the outset of the game, should you want to.
It’s all so damned adorable. Best of all it actually looks like a very fun game with a lot of heart. Just watching the trailers of this game puts a smile on my face and elates my gaming soul.
Will you geeks be joining Reynn and Lann on October 25th when World of Final Fantasy releases? Let us know in the comments, and check out this cutesy “Collectors Edition.” It comes with a freaking pop-up book!