A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn a bit about music in this rhythm game inspired by and featuring the music of a popular, long-running Japanese role-playing game franchise. Players will experience music and feel like they're participating in its creation -- albeit in a relatively minor way -- by tapping out rhythms according to on-screen cues. In doing so, they'll get a feel for its structure, though it's worth noting the game stops well short of providing anything resembling formal musical instruction. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call doesn't claim to be an educational music game, but it might help foster kids' interest in the musical arts.
Violence plays a role, but this game's focus is set squarely on music. Its tracks, many of which are beloved by Final Fantasy fans, may foster kids' interest in music and could help develop their sense of rhythm.
Positive Role Models
The slight narrative doesn't really delve into its many playable characters' backgrounds or personalities, but it does encourage players to think of them as altruistic heroes who are working to save the world from evil forces.
Ease of Play
Dozens of pages of text instruction provide players with everything they need to know about various mechanics and systems, and they can be accessed at any time. All songs can be played on three difficulty levels, ranging from pretty easy to pretty hard, though it should never become impossibly challenging for practiced players.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoonish monsters take damage as players tap notes, causing them to be struck by arrows and swords. They flash when hit and disappear when defeated. Unlockable video clips from previous Final Fantasy games show more graphic battles in which lifelike human characters appear injured or dead, sometimes with blood on the ground.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several female characters wear skimpy outfits, including micro skirts and tops that reveal deep cleavage. The word "panty" appears in text dialogue.
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The words "damn" and "hell" appear infrequently in text dialogue.
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Products & Purchases
Music and clips from dozens of other Final Fantasy games make this game feel a bit like an ad for the franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is a role-playing rhythm game in which players tap out beats to memorable songs from dozens of classic Final Fantasy games. Players tap the screen (or press a button) according to on-screen cues, which often results in fantastical enemy monsters taking damage. These hits are depicted as flashes of light, followed by the monster disappearing. The game also includes several unlockable, non-interactive videos that show realistic-looking human characters injured or dead, occasionally with mild blood effects. Female characters are sometimes scantily clad, though never nude. Occasional profanity includes words such as "hell" and "damn." There also are some privacy concerns if your kids have StreetPass enabled on the 3DS that could trade some personal information with passersby. But the overall vibe is upbeat, and the rhythm-based play and memorable songs could help develop kids' interest in music in general -- and rhythm in particular.
Is It Any Good?
There are two likely requisites for enjoying Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call. The first is to have an appreciation for the curious pleasures of Japanese role-playing games (and Final Fantasy games in particular). The second is the ability to enjoy relatively simply rhythm-based music games. Kids possessing only one or the other of these traits may still have an OK time with Square Enix's latest musical adventure, but those who appreciate both just might find it a little slice of Japanese rhythm gaming heaven.
The recognizable songs -- which should satisfy most Final Fantasy fans on a gut, emotional level -- will bring about memories of the games from which they originated, summoning images of riding chocobos through green fields and battling epic bosses. And the light RPG-style setup, complete with character growth and seemingly endless unlockables, will keep completionists glued to their consoles for weeks. Some songs end a bit too abruptly and will leave fans wishing for more, and the online arena seems packed with expert players against whom rookies don't stand much of a chance, but this terrific little rhythm game still earns an enthusiastic recommendation, especially for anyone with fond memories of this series' classic battle ballads and majestic field scores.
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