Slip on those nostalgia goggles because it's time to celebrate 25 glorious years of iconic roleplaying yumminess in the diminutive shape of Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy for the 3DS...
A quarter of a century; dozens of core games and spin-offs and ties-ins; running times of hundreds of hours - and the makers of Final Fantasy decide to celebrate all this with... a rhythm game? But hold on, it does actually begin to make sense once you sit back and start playing, slowly remembering a vital cornerstone of the FF experience - its music.
From sweeping orchestral pieces to pop songs of such pungent cheesiness that they make a ten-day old brie smell as fresh as a new-born baby, the music has been imperative to the iconic series. So hey, why not take over 40 songs from across the game series and slap them into a rhythm game? With knobs on. Very big knobs in fact.
Featuring a cast plucked and 'chibi-fied' from across the 13 core games, you can take part in three styles of play. First up is 'Battle' that sees you frenziedly tapping and sliding to the onscreen triggers, trying to (MC) hammer bosses into the ground. 'Field' takes things more gently as you trace your stylus along flowing lines to move across familiar landscapes. Finally, 'Event' plays out pivotal cutscenes and action from across the eras as you try to hit your marks.
The RPG aspects of Final Fantasy haven't been forgotten either with players in 'Battle' mode able to choose a party of up to four, take HP hits if they stuff up and also enjoy the opportunity to discover and use special items. Characters too can be levelled up and new music, movie scenes and more unlocked, surely much to the delight of Final Fantasy fetishists, sorry, 'completists' everywhere.
Dedicated fans then will find themselves on a tour of treasured gaming memories, relishing key music and scenes that have defined a genre; while the rest of us will simply enjoy a polished, imaginative and highly rewarding beat game. The best of both worlds then, we reckon - so Happy Birthday, Final Fantasy. Here's to another 25 years of gaming magic. And gorgonzola-pungent pop songs.