Developer: Square Enix 1st Production Dept. / indieszero
Theatrhythm plays similarly to Elite Beat Agents and other stylus-controlled rhythm games on the DS. However, the notes appear on the top screen while you react on the bottom. This is strange, but serviceable. Gameplay is divided into 4 styles, across 3 modes. In all of these you tap notes, hold notes, and slide the stylus in various directions.
The Series mode has song sets for each of the games, I through XIII. The opening and ending songs are simply bonus stages where you tap the screen as notes pass over a crystal. Relevant dialogue from the games scrolls on top. This is entirely inappropriate as each song deserved to be fully playable. The other three songs in each set are a Field theme, an Event theme, and a Battle theme. Notes in Field themes move across the screen horizontally over animated backgrounds of game locations. Event theme notes dance around the screen in patterns, while gameplay footage plays behind it. Finally, Battle theme notes come across in four rows simultaneously.
It should be noted that you aren’t playing the full songs and this is jarring and inexcusable for Event themes, especially those with lyrics.
The Challenge mode allows you to play songs on higher difficulties. The Chaos Shrine mode is mostly where you amass items and the crystals needed to unlock characters. Speaking of characters, it’s worth noting that each game’s lead (as [sometimes incorrectly] designated by Squeenix) is available from the start so you can construct a party of four. At least one additional character from each game is unlockable.
Here’s the rub: unlocking them takes a decent amount of effort and they start at LEVEL 1. It was bullshit in Tactics and it’s bullshit here. I wanted two additional characters. I threw the first into my party as I started to work on getting the second and it ruined me. So, I would have been stuck with the party I leveled (to 50, mind you) until Snow arrived. Then what? I’d be burnt out and have no desire to play casually using those characters, negating the point of busting my ass entirely.
There’s a multiplayer function to the Chaos Shrine, but there was no reason for me to check it out. If you really like Elite Beat Agents and the lead Final Fantasy characters, give it a shot. USED.
Buyer’s Guide: Available on 3DS and iOS. There’s an expanded version coming soon, but it adds music from XIII-3 and XIV. Who needs that? I don’t. There’s a decent list of downloadable songs on the e-shop, too.
2 Shafted Pasty Dudes out of 5
I do not have binocular fusion and are thus incapable of experiencing 3D.
Don't ask me how it looks here, or in any other 3DS game.