It’s time for a wave of nostalgia, as all of your Final Fantasy memories gets jump started by Final Fantasy Record Keeper.
Developer: Square Enix, DeNA
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Android, iOS
Release: September 24, 2014
Final Fantasy Record Keeper is, well, exactly what the title implies. It stars you and your mentor Dr. Mog as you work to piece together all of the lost records of all of the Final Fantasy worlds. You do so by gathering a party of iconic Final Fantasy characters and jumping into the paintings of the past Super Mario style and reliving the major battles that took place.
Record Keepers plays loosely like the older Final Fantasy games, meaning a turn-based combat system with timer bars that fills up before each character can make a move. Mechanically, the combat is actually pretty decent, as tapping the enemies and then your attacks feels fluid and organic.
Unfortunately, the actual fights are extremely easy and short, leaving the game with little more depth than constantly tapping the attack buttons. The boss battles that the over-simplified warm up fights lead up to are much more engaging, and a lot of them come with their own complicated strategies. Sadly, Record Keeper also gives you the option to summon another player’s character to do an insane amount of damage for you who usually just one-shots the boss anyway. I suppose you can just ignore that option and fight the boss normally, but the difficulty of a game really shouldn’t be based on the decision of the players to not use one of their tools.
When you’re not in combat, Record Keeper is a series of menus. You can change up your party’s roster as well as their equipment and spells, and you can pick up quests which usually entail leveling up certain characters or spells. The user interface feels a little slow, and there’s a short loading time between pretty much everything you do, which gets annoying quickly.
One other fault this game has is that it tries to limit the player’s ability to actually play the game using a stamina system. Each encounter requires stamina to attempt, and if you run out of stamina, then you have to wait a few hours to play the game again. It’s a common problem among mobile games, and it’s a trap that Record Keeper fails to avoid.
Graphically, Record Keeper looks very much like the original Final Fantasy games. The battlefield and the characters are presented in a retro 8-bit-ish style, while the main screen and menus look more modern. It’s actually kind of fun to see characters like Lightning, Tidus, and the enemies from their respective games presented in retro fashion.
The music comes directly from each respective game, and it all sounds just as awesome as ever. Hearing the Final Fantasy X music contrast with the retro art style is a nice touch. Even the victory music is tailored to each individual game. Overall the music does a fantastic job of bringing out that nostalgic feel, which is really the purpose of this game.
Overall, bringing the stories of each of the classic Final Fantasy games together, piece by piece, is kind of fun. It’s a nice concept that Record Keeper just barely fails to make engaging. The combat is fun to do the motions for, but at the same time, it’s shallow. The menus are a hassle to navigate because of constant loading screens. The music is great, and the nostalgia is there, but it doesn’t quite carry the game through enough. It might be fun to pick up and play once in a while, but it’s just too clunky to play through consistently.
+Fun battle system
+Interesting story presentation
-Gameplay restricted by stamina system.
Score: 2 / 5