I think you just limit broke my credit card.
For a while now, Square Enix has been making increasingly bold attempts at raiding gamers’ wallets. Most gamers, myself included, have been willing to pay a premium for the implied quality of a pricier Square Enix title. Their games have always cost more, be it on iOS or any other portable gaming platform, but their move to the In App Purchase model has allowed them to further push the boundaries of how much they can potentially charge the player to the point where there is no meaningful limit.
It is a sad truth that many paid iOS games feature a secondary currency that pressures the player into investing further in the game. This currency is usually a tradeoff for the player’s time. FF All the Bravest presents players with frequent death, and paying real-world money lets you revive more speedily. Players can also “play” the same battles until they level up enough to continue. Not only is it a malicious move to put this kind of mechanic in a paid game, Square Enix makes it so that players will die frequently.
Battles in FF All the Bravest take place in a similar setting to a traditional Final Fantasy game, with enemies lined up on the left side of the screen, and your party of warriors on the right. FF ATB places more characters under control of the player than any Final Fantasy to date, but it is all for naught. Players don’t choose who attacks which enemy, they don’t choose between a list of attacks, nor are there healing spells, buffs, or items. The core interaction is swiping, tapping, or jamming your finger to touch as many characters as possible and at the greatest speed possible. Once a character has been activated, they will attack and enter a cooldown mode, after which they can be tapped again. Enemies attack at intervals, and each attack from an enemy is a one-hit KO. This cycle of swiping only ends when your party or the enemy is dead, and of course you have the option to pay to revive.
This system could have almost worked. If there was an element of planning, and a diversity of character actions, having a large hand-picked party could be a good substitute for digging through menus to pick the one spell you want. Tapping an enemy so that the next chosen character would attack them could add further player choice. But FF ATB isn’t about player choice, it is about getting straight into the player’s wallet.
I’ve had my rants about abusive IAP, but I feel that everyone can rally against the use of IAP in this title. FF ATB highlights a platform-wide problem, and if it isn’t preying on your desire to continue, it is taxing you for your nostalgic desire to play with its large character cast pulled from the Final Fantasy universe.
What could have been a pleasant trip down memory lane is merely a facade, and I have a hard time calling it a game at all. How does the same company that gave us Chaos Rings II give us this?
Final Fantasy All the Bravest is available for $3.99 as a Universal download