It’s not easy to build a critically successful series around fan service, but that’s exactly what Square Enix has done with the Theatrhythm games. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy was a well-received rhythm game for the Nintendo 3DS that featured dozens of songs to play along to and plenty of characters to level up from the entirety of the Final Fantasy series. Curtain Call is it sequel, and although not much has changed, the additions should be more than enough to entice fans of the original.
In typical Final Fantasy fashion, your first objective in Curtain Call is to put together a party of four characters. You can choose characters from the original Final Fantasy all the way up through Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the most recent title in the series. After you’ve assembled your party, you’ll be presented with a single button on the main menu: Music Stages. All the other modes and options are greyed out until you unlock them.
Within the Music Stages menu, you’ll have the ability to choose any of the 200+ songs featured in Curtain Call — more than twice as many as in the prequel. Once you pick a track, your characters will begin their trek and the music will begin to play.
As the music starts up, icons will begin to scroll across the screen. It’s your job to tap, swipe or hold when the icons hit the mark on the right side of the screen. If you tap right as the icon is centered over the mark, the game will register a critical hit, which becomes increasingly important to perfect as you work your way through the game.
There are three different types of songs in Curtain Call: Field Music Sequences, Battle Music Sequences and Event Music Sequences. Field music is typically clam and upbeat, battle music is fast and frantic and event music puts scenes from the actual game in the background while you play. The approach of the icons changes depending on the sequence.
Once you’ve played through a few Music Stages, other modes will begin to unlock. This was one of the most interesting aspects of the game — the only way to access the entirety of Curtain Call is to continue playing through tracks. Button by button, the main menu slowly began to fill out as I unlocked Versus Mode, Quest Medleys, the ability to turn on StreetPass, the Museum full of all my accomplishments and even the settings menu.
All three play modes have something to offer, but the mode that kept tempting me to return even after I’d worked my way through all of my favorite Final Fantasy songs was the Quest Medley. Quest Medley are as close as Theatrhythm gets to classic Final Fantasy: once you pick a quest (short, medium or long), your characters will appear on a map with branching paths. Depending on which path you take, there will be items to collect and monsters to battle. At the end of the quest, a final boss will appear.
Quest Medleys are a great way to discover new music, as each stop will feature a random song from the collection. I’ve found several new favorites during my quests.
Versus Mode is the third play mode in Curtain Call. You can either play locally against a friend, over the Internet or against AI opponents. As you play through a song, both you and your opponent will hurl negative status effects at each other, causing the icons to spin or speed up or become indecipherable until right before they reach the mark.
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is a game primarily intended for Final Fantasy fanatics, without a doubt, but if you can appreciate stellar music and addictive rhythm-based gameplay, you’ll find plenty to enjoy. There’s some real depth contained within a game that appears relatively simplistic on the surface — enough to keep me coming back even in spite of the inevitable repetitive nature of a rhythm game.
Square Enix provided BGR with a digital copy of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call for this review.