Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy

Key events

Nintendo announces Sparkle Snapshots 3D for 3DS eShop

Nintendo announces Sparkle Snapshots 3D for 3DS eShop

Photo-editing software costs 4.50, with paid DLC.

Nintendo will launch 3DS photo-editing software Sparkle Snapshots this week as a paid download from the eShop.

You might picture such software would come free. Well, you'd be painting the wrong impression for yourself. Nintendo has designs to charge 4.50 for this latest masterpiece.

And, confusingly, photos taken with the software will not display in 3D. That's despite saying "3D" in the software's name.

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Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy Review

At first glance, Square Enix's decision to celebrate its treasured fantasy series' 25th birthday with a rhythm action game appears a curious one. The company has no experience making music games, while Final Fantasy itself, in its heft and epic sprawl, has nothing in common with a genre built upon three-and-a-half-minute pop foundations and an absence, rather than a surplus, of dialogue.

Beyond that, the collapse of the music game market following Rock Band's plastic oversaturation makes this an unfashionable choice as well as a disharmonious one. Final Fantasy may be a series filled with heroes, but not one has ever wielded a guitar.

Play it, however, and the choice begins to make some sense. Nobuo Uematsu's melodies have anchored the series - from the tinkling arpeggio of the original's signature theme to the orchestral sweep and swagger of his most famous pieces, such as One-Winged Angel. If each Final Fantasy game is tethered to the brand by little more than a random collection of motifs - crystals, chocobos, a man named Cid - it's fitting, perhaps, that a celebration of the series should focus upon its strongest, most consistent unifying motif: its music.

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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Preview: The Best Final Fantasy on Nintendo in Years

Final Fantasy has had a troubled relationship with recent Nintendo platforms. The slightly lacklustre Crystal Chronicles subseries was always a sideshow to the franchises' main offerings, never available on Nintendo consoles. No wonder then that the barely-pronounceable reveal of Theatrhythm, a rhythm-based Final Fantasy spin-off, did nothing to reassure fans that Square Enix saw the 3DS as anything more than another proving ground for more derivative experiments.

But Theatrhythm, perhaps tellingly, makes no mention of the series' Crystal Chronicles days. The game's jukebox proudly blasts remixes from the main Final Fantasy canon, with every core numbered release represented. Starting at the 8-bit chiptunes of Final Fantasy 1 and finishing with the orchestral masterpieces of Final Fantasy 13, this is the first time you'll ever hear Final Fantasy 7's 'One Winged Angel' on a Nintendo system.

Theatrhythm keeps a familiar dosage of RPG elements despite its musical focus and ignorable story. You recruit a four-man party from the game's huge cast of fan favourite characters, each redrawn in the game's chibi style. Each begins the game as a grumpy level 1 novice. "Get lost," berates pink haired Final Fantasy 13 heroine Lightning. "I'm no hero!" whines Final Fantasy 7's Cloud. Luckily these weaklings can be levelled up, increasing their stats and unlocking gameplay-aiding abilities.

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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy release date, pre-order bonuses announced

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy release date, pre-order bonuses announced

Game-themed stylus, Final Fantasy stickers available.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy launches in Europe on 6th July, Square Enix has announced.

Pre-order the Nintendo 3DS Final Fantasy spin-off from Amazon.co.uk and you get one game-themed stylus, while supplies last. You can customise the stylus with 17 stickers that feature the Japanese role-playing franchise's most popular characters, including Cloud, Moogle, Lightning, Chocobo, Tidus, Cecil, Terra and Squall.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy pits the gods Chaos and Cosmos against each other, and you help by tapping the screen in time to music. The game features 70 themes from throughout the Final Fantasy series' 25 year history. Tapping correctly helps your characters progress through the field and defeat foes in battle. You can even ride Chocobos.

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Bizarre Final Fantasy music spin-off confirmed for Europe

Bizarre Final Fantasy music spin-off confirmed for Europe

Electroplankton dev's Theatrhythm due this summer.

Oddball rhythm-based Final Fantasy 3DS spin-off Theatrhythm launches in Europe this summer, publisher Square Enix has announced.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy pits the gods Chaos and Cosmos against each other. You must help in the only way you can - by tapping the screen in time to music.

The game features 70 themes from throughout the Final Fantasy series' 25 year history. Tapping correctly will help your characters progress through the field and defeat foes in battle. You can even ride Chocobos.

Read more

FeatureThe 3DS games of TGS

Hands-on with Rhythm Thief, Bravely Default, Kingdom Hearts, Rocket Slime 3 and more.

Given the number of delightful oddities that came out of Japan when the DS first launched, it's been rather sad to see such a conservative first wave of 3DS software. With that in mind, not to mention the relative paucity of announcements at E3 a few months back, this year's Tokyo Games Show was an important week for the handheld. Would developers finally step up with some serious support for the system, or would the industry place all its chips on Vita?