Reynn and Lann, two teenage siblings awaken one day to find their city of Nine Woods Hill devoid of people. Arriving at work, Lann discovers a strange woman – Enna Kros, who tells the pair that they have amnesia and that by travelling to the mystical world of Grymoire they can recover their memories. Learning that they once controlled armies of monsters known as Mirages, the pair venture through a magical portal and find themselves in a strange land, where the Bahamutian Army seeks to destroy the peace and turn the world upside down. Building their army of Mirages along the way, Reynn and Lann seek out new allies and faces familiar to the lore of Final Fantasy, in order to save the world from chaos.
World of Final Fantasy begins like most other Final Fantasy games – we’re introduced to the two characters, who are strange and mystical, and then all of a sudden they’re in peril (in this case, the brother and sister duo are falling off the rooftop of a skyscraper), and we flash back to the beginning of the story, ready to play right up to that moment. At its core, World of Final Fantasy does what most JRPGs do best – it sets things up well, establishes a decent story base, and allows you to grow and love the characters you’re given to play with. Unlike the last time I attempted a Final Fantasy game (which was X back in 2003), World of Final Fantasy doesn’t throw you in the deep end straight away with complex terminology and massive obscurity – and this is a good thing. Thirteen-year-old me didn’t quite grasp everything that was happening back then, but with WOFF it is clear that the game is designed for newcomers and veterans alike.
Grymoire’s inhabitants all happen to be tiny little people called Lilikins – which is basically another term for what most of us know as ‘chibi’. This art style reflects the game itself being easier and simpler than the traditional games, and while it might seem cute and innocent at first, the style bugged me after a while because I just couldn’t take it seriously. Reynn and Lann have the ability to go between Lilikin form and Jiant form (their standard size), and each form has changes in battle.
The battle system is ridiculously simple – you travel across the lands attempting to capture Mirages (just like Pokemon), and then when you’ve captured them you add them to your team and use them to fight. Except when you do this… you stack them on your head like a balancing act. Mirages come in S, M or L variants, and along with your characters (Lilikins being M and Jiants being L) can be stacked in a tower that buffs bonuses depending on type. Lilikin units can ride on L units with an S unit on their head, and so on so forth. This makes for some interesting gameplay, as during battles some opponents have the ability to topple your stack and remove your bonuses – but don’t worry, you can do it to them (and use items to counter your stack toppling too.) The active-time battle state can be played in two ways – with the time stopping for each turn, or with a continuous flow that keeps battles moving faster (but also means you have to be on the ball when playing). The balance for players is finding the right technique and play style to suit them over the course of the game. The battle system also allows for two modes – a quick-flowing attack and defense system, and a classic mode which includes special attacks and item use.Of course the game plays a lot on fanservice too – the story places several worlds and kingdoms of the Final Fantasy games in one interconnected land, bringing classic characters into the story and giving fans of the series something to get excited about. This is nailed down from not only locations but remixes of classic songs and Lilikin versions of well-known Final Fantasy characters such as Tidus (Final Fantasy X), Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockheart (Final Fantasy VII) and even Lighting (Final Fantasy XIII).
Despite being the first Final Fantasy game I had played in a long time, World of Final Fantasy felt like something new yet quite familiar – and the fact that it was easily accessible and fast to pick up made it all the more fun. While the whole Lillikin/Jiant thing tends to get old pretty fast, some might enjoy the consistent chibi characters and the art style that is bright and has a happy glow to it. The battle mechanics are definitely fun, if not a little crazy, and of course, no Final Fantasy game would be complete without quite an extensive and interesting plot. Definitely a good pickup for fans of the series.
The PS4 version of this game was primarily used for the purpose of this review.