Final Fantasy: All The Bravest was destroyed by critics when it came out. I mean, demolished. IGN actually told their readers to avoid the game. Most critics saw the micro-transactions in this game as a money grab, where the player would have to spend well over $50 to unlock everything within the game with no option of earning the things in-game. The critics also attacked the gameplay, calling it overly simplistic. Both of these combined makes this game an insult to the Final Fantasy name.
I tend to hate micro-transactions on principle, and dislike companies that try to milk their fans for every penny, so I tried to avoid this game. For some reason, on a whim, I was looking through the Apple Store to see what free games I could download for my iPhone. I saw Final Fantasy: All The Bravest. So I figured… what the hell, right?
And you know what? I kind of liked the game.
Gameplay – 6 out of 10
The game is simple by design. The player is only supposed to play this in short spurts, like maybe 15-20 minutes at a time. They start off with a small handful of Fighters from Final Fantasy I and are put in a fight against a weak monster. The player needs to either tap the Fighter or stroke his/her finger back and forth over the Fighters to get them to attack. And that’s as complicated as the interaction gets. As the player levels up, the player can have more and more heroes fighting for them. Right now, I have 34 heroes. The battles resemble organizing muggings rather than traditional Final Fantasy combat. Obviously, the more characters you have, the more damage you can do.
Each character on the screen dies if they are hit. So the player’s hit points are the amount of characters that are on the screen. If all the characters die, the player has to wait for them to regenerate. It’s roughly a couple of minutes per character. I just put my phone away and do something else. It’s not exactly a long wait.
On the downside, the player has no control over what the many characters do. The combat is very fast paced, so it’s not too noticeable. Despite that, this is supposed to be a Final Fantasy game. The player should expect some control over how the battle plays out, the equipment that the characters use, the ability to heal, and so on. None of that is present.
There’s a leveling up system that doesn’t make too much sense. It’s not clear what the levels do other than make more slots available. After a certain point, the player cannot get any more additional characters on the screen. But the player can still gain levels. I don’t see the point of it. Do the characters do more damage?
The one thing about the gameplay I truly, truly, truly hate is the gil (Gold). It serves zero function in the game. Everything in the game costs real money. So collecting the gil after every battle serves no functional purpose like it did with every other Final Fantasy.
Story 2 out of 10
There’s no story really. The loading screen gives an excuse for the organized beatings that the player dishes out to the various enemies. Something evil is attacking every Final Fantasy universe, so every hero has to join forces to beat the hell out of it.
Features 2 out of 10
After the battles, sometimes the player receives a weapon that increases one of their character’s attack power. There doesn’t seem to be any rationalization other than it is a random item drop.
Through normal gameplay, 20 characters are unlocked. These are generic characters, though recognizable ones. Like Thief, Fighter, Red Mage, and so on. But if you want to get the premium characters like Cloud, Kain, Terra and the like, you have to pay $0.99 to receive a random character. Yes, you cannot pick the character. It’ll be assigned to you.
The player can also pay to unlock other world maps, like Midgar and Zanarkand.
It is possible to enjoy the game without spending any money. So the low ranking isn’t just about most of the features being locked away.
The low score also comes from how intrusive this game is. Unless you shut off the notifications, the game will “remind” you to play it if you walk away from it for more than an hour. That’s annoying as hell. SquareEnix should have given the player a way to customize that from the beginning. I found out about the reminders the hard way and I disabled it.
Graphics and Sound 10 out of 10
They got the Final Fantasy look and sound down. The battle music, victory music, and overworld music comes directly from the series, or is so close to it that you’ll swear it comes from the series. And it graphics come from the games. When I play the game, I get a wonderful sense of nostalgia. So if you loved Final Fantasy as much as I did, you’ll love the look and sound of the game.
Replayability 5 out of 10
The game’s addictive. It’s simple to play, sure. But the fun comes from watching 20 – 40 characters attacking at the same time. It’s chaotic and beautiful. I lost count of the amount of times I watched Garland get destroyed in less than a second. The problem, however, is that there’s not much depth here. Though it’s fun to play the game in short spurts, there’s not enough there to keep the player coming back for an extended period of time.
Total 25 out of 50
Final Fantasy: All the Bravest is the type of game that’s easy to pick up and play. There’s no huge story for the player to remember. It’s meant to be very simple in that way. It is true that this is not an actual Final Fantasy game. It has the look and sound of one, sure. But there are gameplay options and story elements that’s just not there in the game.
The game’s not great, but it did not deserve the horrible reviews that it received. It’s not a game that should be avoided at all costs. It’s a great time waster, if you have a few minutes to kill. If you treat it like that, you’ll end up having a great time with it.