A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
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What's it about?
Players take on the roles of dozens of their favorite Final Fantasy characters and tap out a beat to a long list of classic Japanese RPG songs in THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY: CURTAIN CALL, the sequel to 2012's Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Play is roughly similar to that of many 3DS rhythm games: Just tap the lower screen in time with icons that scroll along the top display. Colors and arrows indicate whether players need to swipe in a specific direction or hold the stylus down before lifting up again. But there's more to it than that. Three types of music -- battle, field, and event -- alter the way musical cues are presented by showing them moving along multiple lanes, following a single path, or meandering around the entire screen. During some songs, each properly struck beat will damage an enemy character on the left side of the screen, and each missed beat will result in your characters taking damage. Take enough damage, and you'll fail the song. As players progress, their characters will level up, their attributes will grow, and they'll earn items and power-ups that confer various battle advantages. Players also can unlock quest medleys that send parties of characters out on short adventures composed of multiple songs. Hundreds of unlockable songs, cards, videos, items, and modes -- including local and online play -- are designed to keep kids playing for weeks, working to earn it all.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in games. How do you determine the level of violence in media that's appropriate for your kids/family?
Discuss music in games like Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call. Music is a fundamental part of human culture, but it takes many different forms, each of which appeals to different kinds of people. What sort of music most appeals to you? Is there any music that you actively dislike? Why?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Arts: music, rhythm
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release date: September 16, 2014
- Genre: Music and Dance
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Music and Sing-Along
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.