Review by neonreaper
"The IOS game Square should have already made and gotten past."
All The Bravest is two things. One, it's a fun little nostalgia trip for Final Fantasy fans, particularly those from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. Two, it's a good first step into the IOS app world for Square. Too bad they've already put a dozen games onto IOS...
If you haven't already seen a video of the gameplay in ATB, go check one out. It's a crazy field of old Final Fantasy classes/jobs from FF-FFVI, FFXI and FFT on one side, and some old school enemies on the other. You touch your characters to make them attack, and when they are done, the ATB meter starts to run for that character. When it's up, the character can attack again.
That's about the entirety of the gameplay in All The Bravest. The attacks are set in stone, as each character has only one attack. You can't adjust your party's composition at all; at the start of every battle, the characters are randomly picked to fill out the party. It's still a little bit enjoyable at first, and let's face it outside of FFXII this series hasn't had much in the way of deep battle strategy. But not being able to customize your characters gets old quickly, and having a screen full of 30+ characters just makes the game way too crazy to really care about the battles. Novel idea at first, but you eventually just have to wave your fingers on the screen like mad, and the neat idea of having a billion guys attacking just loses its appeal because that's all there ever is to the game.
You follow maps Super Mario World or Final Fantasy Mystic Quest style, dot to dot, fighting groups of enemies at each location. Some dots have bosses. It's kind of cool fighting all these old bosses with all these old classes, it's just too bad they didn't do more with the premise.
Adding a little insult to injury, you can buy a few new map screens (one for FFVII, one for FFX, one for FFXIII) which have enemies and bosses from those games. So if you want to fight 16-bit Sephiroth while One Winged Angel plays, that's $4. That premise alone probably holds great appeal to longtime Final Fantasy fans, again it's just too bad there's not more to it.
If you want any actual characters, those are $1 apiece, for up to 35 of them. Annoyingly, you don't get to pick which character you choose, and some of them are junk like Pig from FFVI, which is somewhat of an insult to anyone who decided to take a chance on grabbing a couple of their old favorites for a few bucks.
I don't have a problem with a weak $4 game or overpriced in-app purchases. My problem is that there's too much focus on customers being "whales" and not supporters. The idea behind many in-app purchase schemes is that a small % of consumers buy stuff in the app, but they buy a lot. So the idea is to charge a lot and offer a lot, and then tack on stuff like achievements to suck those people in. What a company like Square SHOULD be doing, is treating customers like supporters and finding a way to make them want to buy more apps and treat their in-app purchases with some dignity.
For $4, this game is a fun little nostalgia trip. It's overpriced, but as a Final Fantasy fan I'm not put off by the $4. It was a ridiculous little experience, it killed some time, but ultimately this is the sort of game Square should have made and learned from their mistakes a long time ago. It's fine for me to avoid the in-app purchases, and if anyone complains about the cash grab, I can say "well just don't buy it". But it's 2013 and Square should be at the point where they are making IOS games that make me want to buy the in-app purchases. I've skipped out on a lot of Square products in recent years and this ends up being a sore reminder why. Square lost a lot of money last year and it seems like they have once again dropped the ball.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 01/17/13, Updated 01/23/13
Game Release: Final Fantasy: All the Bravest (US, 01/17/13)
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