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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call Review

by Daan Koopman - May 5, 2014, 11:12 pm EDT
Total comments: 2


The curtains rise for the follow-up to the rhythm game that I already loved.

Earlier in the system's life, I adored a certain rhythm game from Square-Enix and Indieszero. This Nintendo 3DS title was known as Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and it was made to celebrate 25 years of the franchise. Shamefully they left out more of spin-offs and every title only had a handful of songs. Blast forward to 2014 and a sequel has come to grace our Nintendo 3DS systems with more music madness. Carrying the subtitle Curtain Call, the second installment tries to make a compelling game overall. This makes it more impressive that it succeeds to the fullest and for me, it is an early contender for my favorite handheld title of the year.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call eases new players right into its rythm based action. The game starts out by guiding you through some tutorials and traching players the ropes. Players can play a song with the buttons, on the touchscreen or even mix the two control schemes if they wish. I personally found myself sticking with the touchscreen, as that felt the most familiar to me as a returning player. That does not mean I have not dabbled in the new button controls, which are responsive for the most part. Tapping can be easily replaced with a button and swiping is done by moving the Circle Pad in a certain direction. It works all fair enough with the Battle and Event tracks, but with the Field levels I struggled a bit more. Players have to follow the line, which will slide over the screen at a rapid rate, by moving along with (again) the Circle Pad. I got the hang of it eventually, but the touchscreen served me better in those sections. The game offers various difficulties for each song and all of these difficulties play inherently different. My only complaint is that, on the highest mode, some of the movements you have to perform are a bit rough. Swiping away at notes is fine, but doing a large amount in an extremely short period can quickly become confusing. It is nothing game breaking, but it is worth noting at the very least.

The more irritating bits of the original Theatrhythm title were found in the Series Mode, where you had to play a handful of songs related to a certain title. Players were forced to play them on the lowest difficulty and only by going to the menus afterwards was this able to be changed. Curtain Call says goodbye to that mentality and to the Series mode in general. Just like in the original, you choose a party of four characters that you will present you doing the various songs in the title. The characters will level up as you complete songs and new abilities open up to keep you longer on the right track. This colorful bunch, which comes from the various games in the Final Fantasy universe, also serve a new purpose at the start of Curtain Call: the people you pick will unlock the games that they are from. Eventually, the game will open fully and 25 different entries will be at your fingertips.

The variety of music found in Curtain Call is stunning and the selection of games grander, which makes this musical journey instantly more exciting. From the classic notes in the original Final Fantasy to the more recent examples of Lightning Returns and Final Fantasy XIV, no stone in the main games is left unturned. To make the roster larger though, they also included some of the better known off-beat games like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and the Japanese only Final Fantasy Type-0. While more experimental titles would have been appreciated, this is a solid list of songs. The bigger problem I have is that the Event tracks are moved to the unlockable side of things and when you unlock them, they turn out to be the shortest songs in the game. It would have been nice to simply have more of them as well as they are visually impressive feats with imagery and footage of the particular title in the background.

This is not where the fun ends though, far from it even. This new entry not only brings over 200 songs, but also two brand new modes to flesh out the game. First up is the Quest Mode, in which you are tasked with going over a route with various Battle and Field stages. These quests come in short, medium and long varieties and have branching paths to come back for a second go later. They are a neat way to keep playing songs without knowing what is up next and it will test player’s skills by setting up special rewards a certain moments.

The other new addition to the Theatrhythm roster is the Duel Mode and this is where some true mileage can be had. You will play a Battle song against another opponent and try to perform the best you can. It is wacky mode that tests player’s limits and the set-up is incredibly rewarding to say the very least. The mode can be played against computer opponents and here you will be able to duke it out in various leagues. The big appeal though is that you can play it locally or online against friends and unknown foes. It adds some interesting replay value to the title and setting up a match is quick and seamless.

Curtain Call looks sharp on the Nintendo 3DS. There are some colorful visuals on display here and it has a wonderfully cute presentation. There are some interesting details in the backgrounds, enemies and characters which fans of Final Fantasy will definitely appreciate. Everybody else can enjoy some nice 3D effects as the whole game is layered even better than the first. For players looking for more content, there is also plenty of downloadable content to explore.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is Square-Enix's second step in this style of rhythm action game. Many of the problems with the original are no longer present, though the gating of the Event stages and the overly intense patterns at the very end are slight irritations. The many ways that you can experience the songs are impressive and with over 200 songs to choose from, there is sure to be something for everyone. I couldn't have been happier with the follow up.


  • Beautiful presentation
  • New modes add a lot of value
  • Over 200 songs to play through
  • Simple yet addictive gameplay elements
  • Tons of unlockables
  • A few difficult patterns on highest difficulty
  • Gating the Event Music Stages


Leo13May 06, 2014

First of all, the extreme difficulty of the few really hard song is a pro, not a con in my book so I thank you for mentioning it.
Second, I loved the first Theatrhythm and I'm very happy reading your review of the sequel as it sounds like the First Must Have 3DS game of 2014 for me. I just wish we knew exactly when it's coming to NA.

DaanDaan Koopman, Associate Editor (Europe)May 06, 2014

Quote from: Leo13

First of all, the extreme difficulty of the few really hard song is a pro, not a con in my book so I thank you for mentioning it.
Second, I loved the first Theatrhythm and I'm very happy reading your review of the sequel as it sounds like the First Must Have 3DS game of 2014 for me. I just wish we knew exactly when it's coming to NA.

There are a few patterns that are a bit wack though, but the difficulty overall is fine. The more accurate swiping is a fine addition, but with the big amount of swipes it loses its accuracy a few times. Again, nothing game breaking!

For the rest, glad to hear it.

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Game Profile

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call Box Art

Genre Rhythm
Developer Indies zero
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
Release Sep 16, 2014
PublisherSquare Enix
jpn: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
Release Apr 24, 2014
PublisherSquare Enix
eu: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
Release Sep 19, 2014
PublisherSquare Enix
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