Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Final Fantasy Fables - Chocobo Tales takes the intriguing world of Final Fantasy and turns it into a young kid friendly mixture of minigames and simple storyline.
Where most other Final Fantasy games involve storylines and in-game management that might be too complex for the younger set, with Final Fantasy Fables - Chocobo Tales we have a storyline that is very sanitized and gentle. Perhaps my only real complaint here is that they make fun of a friend they call "chubby" who likes to eat all the time. I'm sorry, if I saw a bunch of kids constantly making fun of a kid and calling him "Chubby", I'd be less than pleased. There'd be a real outcry if the characters were making ethnic slurs about kids, but apparently picking on the overweight is great fun.
You've got friends to save, cards to collect, and books to jump into. The books have a moral-promoting story and then related games to play. The games, again, are on a non-violent, child-friendly level. Given that pleasant situation, I was a little sad to find that the difficulty level of the games seem to vary wildly. Some games are incredibly easy to "win" - gamers of all level of skill do so easily. Other games are so difficult that even very experienced gamers find them nigh on impossible.
The graphics are an intriguing attempt at mixing 2D and 3D graphics. Sometimes it works reasonably well - but sometimes the developers do a poor job at laying out their screen. Things that appear easy to get to are actually impossible - while in other situations items that you should go to aren't drawn well enough to see. With this being a game geared at beginner gamers, it can become quite frustrating.
I do appreciate that this is a basic game that will help to lure in gamers unfamiliar with the Final Fantasy genre, helping them pick up the basics of the characters and card game style without having to spend months memorizing sphere grids or skill trees. I'm all for adult gamers and experienced gamers enjoying simple-style games. I adore Paper Mario, still enjoy Adventure with its duck-dragons, and love puzzle games that all ages can enjoy.
So while I think the concept here is great, they should have done some more work on the testing phase to work out the kinks with the graphics and mini-games. Perhaps a next version will be worthy of five stars to me, but I'll give this one four for coming close.
Buy Final Fantasy Fables - Chocobo Tales from Amazon.com