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Chances are, if you grew up playing Final Fantasy in the ‘90s, you’ve probably got a soft spot for at least one of the old-school entries in the venerable RPG series. Assuming that’s true, Square Enix’s latest iOS spin-off is aimed squarely at you. Don't believe the hype.
On paper, the premise behind Final Fantasy All the Bravest sounds interesting, to say the least. Take the series’ famous Active Time Battle turn-based combat, up the insanity quotient significantly, and watch the results as 30-something fighters join forces at a breakneck speed to beat the tar out of classic monsters and villains. There’s no story or towns, and hardly even any leveling to speak of; expendable party members die off in one hit, and you can’t use special items, abilities. or tactics at all whatsoever.
So, without strategy or customization, is there a point to All the Bravest? Not really. The "gameplay” is stripped down to making your party attack by mindlessly tapping or swiping over them. Repeat this ad nauseam until everything on the screen is dead, and you’ve basically seen the game’s entire design. Of course, there is the illusion of progress: you move point-to-point over a 16-bit world map fighting various franchise bosses, unlocking new job classes, and occasionally finding stat-boosting weapons that are auto-equipped to applicable combatants.
It might have even been a decent experiment, if reviving your party didn’t cost actual money to avoid obnoxious real-world waits between battles. Though you can somewhat offset the distaste of any borderline-necessary in-app purchases by grinding to gain levels, there’s no escaping such a transparent agenda. Whether you want access to a randomized Final Fantasy hero in your party or wish to visit a different series locale, it’s going to cost you; ironically, you can't spend any of the in-game cash gained after enemy encounters. Rather than offering fun fan service, All the Bravest is little more than an insidious attempt to prey on nostalgia — and waste your time doing it.
The bottom line. If you’re craving old-school Final Fantasy, seek out the originals instead.
iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone running iOS 4.3 or later. (Optimized for iPhone 5.)
Classic Final Fantasy music and sprite artwork. An interesting take on the franchise formula. You can run from any battle.
Reviving your party costs actual money, otherwise you must wait to play. Mindless gameplay with cheap difficulty on the additional premium maps. Shamelessly preys on nostalgia.