Last week, Square Enix released yet another Final Fantasy game, this one being an exclusive for the Nintendo DS. Before you start groaning and punching yourself in the neck, you should know that Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light could easily drop the part of its title before the colon and stand on its own two feet as a solid, turn-based RPG. There is very little Final Fantasy feel to this game, which can either be a strength or a weakness depending on how you look at it.
When firing up Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light for the first time, the first thing that came to mind was how freakin’ cute this game is. Characters’ heads are roughly the same size as their bodies, and the color palate is slightly washed out, which brings to mind memories of old Winnie the Pooh or Briar Rabbit story books. Another neat visual aspect is how the characters move along the curve of the world: as if their adventuring on the surface of a small globe that rolls beneath them.
This has been the most challenging RPG I’ve played on the DS in a long time. Clues about what you should do next are buried in the dialogue of the throngs of NPCs you will encounter. When you do manage to locate a dungeon, you will find yourself in a good old-fashioned maze with no real puzzles to speak of. The challenge simply comes from navigating the maze to find all the treasure you can carry, and then defeating the boss. Up to this point in the game, I have not done a boss battle with a full party of four yet, which adds to the difficulty of defeating the powerful monsters.
Overall, I have enjoyed the time have spent with Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light. It has been challenging without being frustrating, which has been a rarity for games these days. The quaint and stylized visual presentation is something usually reserved for a home console release, so it makes the game seem that much more polished and finished. There is a lot about the item and battle systems to discuss that I will dive into for my full review later this week. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you if you’re playing the game! What do you like or dislike so far? Leave a note in the comments, Twitter, Facebook, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!