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‘Final Fantasy: Record Keeper’ is a fun (and free!) dose of nostalgia

‘Final Fantasy: Record Keeper’ is a fun (and free!) dose of nostalgia

final-fantasy-record-keeper

Final Fantasy: Record Keeper
Developed and published by Square-Enix
Available on iOS, Android

Final Fantasy: Record Keeper launched quietly last week, but as a mobile-only title in a long-standing series that focuses primarily on console releases, that’s hardly a surprise. However, there are definitely a few reasons you should check out this title, even if you’re adamantly against the typical free-to-play model of mobile gaming.

If you don’t know what I mean by that, let me clarify: the game is free, that much is true. However, there is a the little, tiny, insignificant, and totally ignorable fact that this game includes microstransactions. Sorry to anyone who thought Square-Enix was performing a charity service to their fans with this title but alas, revenue must be generated somehow off of a product bearing the flagship Final Fantasy moniker. On the plus side though, there is not a single ad to be found. No pop-ups to X out of, no sidebars to ignore, and no pleas between rounds for you to purchase the “Premium Edition” (i.e. the exact same game but without ads).

In fact this title can be literally enjoyed for hours on end daily without a single purchase being made. As of this review, I’m 10 hours into this sprawling epic and I haven’t ran out of things to do once. As daily battles use up Stamina, you would expect a game that, like many mobile dungeon crawlers, quickly uses up your free turns before asking you for some dough. Not so here, as your Stamina regenerates every two minutes, allowing you to play for as much as an hour straight, depending on missions, without taking a single break.

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The plot is pretty simplistic, and borderline completely skipable, as it basically just amounts to a so-called Record Keeper being tasked by a moogle with retrieving some disappearing records of the great heroes. What this really means is the player gets to play through classic and modern Final Fantasy scenarios, using a dream team of popular characters (each of whom receives a bonus in their home world). Its pretty much just digital fan service, to be frank, but in a series so rich with epic stories and memorable heroes, it’s hard to argue with the idea. Think Kingdom Hearts, only in mobile form, and sans the Disney elements.

The gameplay, like the plot, is pretty straightforward, but with a mobile platform like this, it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to go through a Junction system or Gambit setup. You select from an ever-growing roster of characters, assign them to your team based on your needs, and then choose their equipment and abilities. Though it often seems like blasphemy to use the age-old Optimize command in an RPG, this is one Final Fantasy where you won’t really feel guilty for doing so. From here you’re basically on-rails as you go through a collection of classic FFIV-FFVI style sprite-based battles until you eventually face a boss. For brevity and clarity, the events are book-ended with brief scenes that contextualize them into the story for those who may be unfamiliar with a certain title.

Square-Enix has pulled off a marketing and PR master-stroke here, as players who stick with the free model will find themselves filled with joy and memories for a series they’ve long felt attached too, while anyone who chooses to spend to get ahead is doing so of their own free will. It’s pretty much win-win for the Square-Enix brand.

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Though simplistic, and lacking narratively, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is a fun and nostalgic trip down memory lane for series fans, and one that’s not much of a gamble to take a chance on, provided you have basic self control.