Final Fantasy: All the Bravest
Final Fantasy: All the Bravest almost has the right idea. It’s the first release from Square on iOS that feels meant for the platform. It expedites the JRPG. All the Bravest cuts the fluff and consists only of Active Time Battles and transitions into them. The sprites themselves could be ripped from the franchise’s heyday. Music and characters are pulled from all of the good Fantasies. It’s directed by the creator of acclaimed The World Ends with You. Only so much could go wrong.
Square’s having trouble settling into realistic pricing on iOS. Usually they mark the complete thing high and call it a day. As ports of full-priced things. They remain the cheapest versions. All the Bravest is their first designed around iOS conventions, so it carries a fair iOS cost upfront.
Then the game starts and everything goes wrong. Within a couple dialogue boxes, we’re being given tutorials on buying IAPs, rather than mechanics or story. It’s a game about fast battles. There’s no healing option, so it’s either necessary to buy the party back to health or restart each battle. The IAPs even beat the title card to the punch. That’s both how little else there is and how eager All the Bravest is to monetize.
It’s fan service in concept. It spans the whole range of Final Fantasy archetypes and allows them to Active Time Battle together. There are twenty-five job-focused characters baked in and thirty-five named heroes, which require individual IAPs. There’s no other way to access them and they’re randomized. So it’s possible to make thirty-some purchases before finding the sprite you’re after. It’s a dicey value proposition and puts out an awful anti-consumer precedent.
The mechanics are sadly under-cooked. Simply tapping the screen at random is the best strategy and is the only one. Enemies otherwise take turns wiping out the party. This goes on for a while. Every few hours it’s possible to flick into Fever mode. Nice when it’s there but what good is a mechanic that must be waited on for hours, when the idea’s to speed up the JRPG. It’s yet another feature that is only designed around Square taking money. There are no player benefits or risk/reward systems. There are only benefits for Square and risk/payment systems.
This loose fragment of fan-service is priced as a Vita game and designed as a low-end iOS game. Square’s use of IAPs wouldn’t be a good model even if it were free-to-play. With the premium attached, All the Bravest is simply anti-consumer. It’s a big waste of a good opportunity to streamline.