Lann and Reynn are twins, who have lost their memories outside of their home, Nine Wood Hills. On a certain day, they met a mysterious woman, who called herself Enna Kros. Enna Kros introduced herself to them, as well as introducing another being called Tama to the twins. The twins are said to have lsot their memories from the world called Grymoire, where they commanded a large number of creatures called Mirages. Intrigued by her words, they have decided to travel to the world of Grymoire and find back their lost memories.
The story is simple, filled with lots of humour and some dark moments. The story also has some clever twists, and the game makes good use on it's in-game bestiary called Who's Who to explain unexplained lore in the game. The bestiary also offer lots of humourous entries that may make you laugh while reading them. Characters are also charming, with likable personalities such as the twins, the Final Fantasy characters, Quacho Queen, and the villains. However, I am disappointed that Lann is characterised as an idiot most of the time, since I think he could have been a better character like his twin sister Reynn, since Reynn is portrayed as much smarter and level-headed compared to Lann.
1) Exploration and Progression Section
There are no World Map in this game, but instead there are interconnected areas leading to different areas such as towns and dungeons, similar to Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. The progression is simple, as you only need to look at your minimap or full map to view where you are supposed to go. However, there may obstacles holding you up from progressing, especially in dungeons. The obstacles are mostly giving certain items to a certain creature, or solving certain puzzles which require you to stack certain formation of Mirages.
Exploration is simple, as you can walk around as Jiant forms or Lilikin forms of the twins. You can switch between Lann and Reynn while exploring, and you may also choose to ride on a Mirage for faster travelling.
In the game, you may also find NPCs that may give you side quests to complete. Some of the side quests reward you money or items, and they mostly have generic objectives such as defeating certain amount of enemies or obtaining certain items. You may also choose to complete Coliseum matches to unlock new items or transfigurations for your Mirages. You may also catch Mirages in the Coliseum if you have the appropriate prisms.
The real highlight of the game's side quests is Intervention Quests, Intervention Quests are side chapters related to many of the game's characters, where you can help them to solve their problems by fighting enemies. The rewards of completing Intervention Quests varies, such as rewarding you items, money or even new Mirages. In order to start an Intervention Quest, you need to spend a certain amount of a special item, which can be obtained while playing the story.
2) Upgrading and Customisation Section
The game's leveling system is simple, as your characters level up by accumulating enough experience points, which are obtained by winning battles. As you gain levels, your characters will receive stats increase.
Lann and Reynn cannot learn new abilities by leveling up, However, you can equip them with items that can teach them abilities which are called Mirajewels. Mirajewels can be obtained by opening treasure chests, complete side quests, or by creating them from the Mirage Boards. This is important as it allows Lann and Reynn to boost their combat abilities.
Your Mirages learn new abilities and get stats increase by using the Mirage Boards. Mirage Boards is similar to Final Fantasy X's Sphere Grid. To unlock a node in the Mirage Board, you need to spend SP, which is obtained by leveling up. Some of the nodes may include special abilities or even stats increases. Also, some of the abilities can be used by the Mirage's next forms, which is useful.
Mirages can also transform into more powerful forms, and this is called Transfiguration. To access the evolved form of the Mirage, you must spend SP on the node, and you may also need a certain item to unlock it as well. Some of these items can be obtained by completing the Coliseum matches or by defeating secret Mirages hidden in secret areas. Different Mirage forms not only alter the stats and appearances, but also it's size to be used in stacking as well as it's abilities.
3) Combat Section
Battles are initiated by random encounters in dungeons, like older Final Fantasy games. You may also fight secret Mirages in secret areas in different dungeons by exploring thoroughly. Story boss battles are also mandatory to progress in the game.
The combat is simple. You will start out out a battle in either Jiant or Lilikin forms with the appropriate stacks, depending on what forms you are using for Lann and Reynn while exploring. Jiant form is when Lann or Reynn in normal forms, whereas Lilikin form sis when Lann or Reynn in chibi forms. Both forms offer different advantages and disadvantages. For example, You may only stack S sized Mirage and L sized Mirage on a character that is in Lilikin form, but you can't used M sized Mirage on that stack since Lilikin Lann and Reynn are M sized. In battle, both Lann and Reynn will have their turns when their ATB gauge is filled, and they can do actions like attacking enemies physically, use an ability, or use items.
Stacking feature in this game is incredibly important as it contributes to stats increase and possibly allowing you to use certain formation attacks. Stacking also enhances or debilitates your elemental and status resistances. For example, stacking two Fire-resistant Mirages on Reynn allows her stack to resist Fire attacks, at the expense of having greater weakness on Ice or Water attacks. Proper stacking allows you to offset weaknesses while gaining advantanges such as more HP and better status resistances. You may set Lann and Reynn's stack formations for both Jiant and Lilikin forms in the menu. There may be also situations where you want to unstack for both Lann and Reynn in battles, so be aware of it.
Winning battles is simple. You must deplete enemies' HP to zero, by using attacks or special abilities. Depending on situations, you may choose to escape from battle. Winning battles will reward you money, experience points, and possibly items. In the game, you are encouraged to capture Mirages in the dungeons. To capture a Mirage, you need a Prism that is related to the Mirage's tribe. You will receive a free Prism whenever you encounter a new Mirage in random battles, but not in boss battles. However, capturing them is not an easy task.
In order to capture a Mirage, you need to find out the condition that allows you to capture the Mirage, which varies on different Mirages. For example, you need to heal the Moogle Mirage in order to capture it. Once you have done so, there will be a glowing circle around the Mirage, and you can try to capture it using the Prism. However, the capture rate varies on different Mirages, and you can increase the capture rate by fulfilling the capture conditions on the Mirage repeatedly. For example, you can keep healing the Moogle Mirage several times to have better success in capturing it.
4) Gameplay Conclusion
The gameplay is solid. Easy-to-learn gameplay controls, user-friendly tutorials, classic ATB turn-based battle system, and good sense of progression. The Stacking feature and the Mirages capturing system are the highlights of the game, as Stacking encourages a lot of experimentation and the Mirages capturing system are hardly repetitive due to different conditions of capturing them. Many Mirages in the game are also fairly unique with different abilities and stats.
Unfortunately, there are issues in the game, such as the lack of puzzles variety, and the repetitive combat. The game's progression is linear, yet no mind-challenging and creative puzzles to challenge players. Combat can be repetitive, as your combat options are pretty much complete once you have unlocked the ability to summon a giant sized Mirage. Although the towns have nice background designs, not one of them encourages much exploration as there are nothing much to be done in the towns except Side Quests. Only dungeons have real treats such as discovering secret areas and secret Mirages. The lack of save slots is a problem, as you can only save on one save file in the game. However, this is an incredibly fun game when it comes to collecting Mirages as well as fighting boss battles, occasionally hampered by issues such as repetitive combat due to lack of combat options.
This game has pretty graphics. Pretty (plus adorable) character models, and many cute Mirages in the game. Different backgrounds in different towns and dungeons are fairly distinct as well. No technical issues encountered in this game as well. The art design in this game simply unique, although it may not appeal to everyone. There are anime cutscenes in the game, but they are decent looking cutscenes. I still prefer the in-game engine cutscenes, however.
The English voice acting is great, with many previous voice actors reprise their roles from previous Final Fantasy games. The original characters' voice actors did amazing job, such as the voice actors for the twins, the villains, Quacho Queen, and the Pleaides. If you don't like the English voice acting, you may switch to Japanese voice overs option.
The soundtrack is composed mainly by Masashi Hamauzu, who did amazing job in Final Fantasy XIII trilogy's soundtracks. This soundtrack is no exception, with pleasant themes such as the opening theme. The newly arranged themes from previous Final Fantasy games are nothing but great as well.
This game has good replay value. You can opt to play the minigames, complete all Intervention Quests, complete all sidequests, collect all Mirages, as well as explore four secret dungeons unlockable after beating the game. You may even battle online players, as well as trade Mirages with them.
This is a surprisingly solid game. It is clearly a fanservice game that caters to both new and old Final Fantasy players regardless of age. Neat and polished story, many likable characters, simple to learn combat, good sense of progression, solid voice acting great music, and many funny moments. However, the major issue of this game is that the difficulty can be too easy, as there are no real difficulty when progressing when it comes to puzzles or fighting bosses. However, it could be a good thing as this game may possibly not stress players out, especially when it comes to younger players. I highly recommend this game to any players who are interested with fun turn-based RPG games, with many both cute and awesome like creatures playable in combat.
Pros and Cons
- Interesting storyline.
- Many funny moments.
- Many likable characters.
- Intriguing yet funny bestiary.
- Simple-to-learn gameplay.
- Unique Stacking system.
- Fun Mirages capturing system.
- Many old Final Fantasy characters and monsters return in this game.
- Many unique Mirages to capture.
- Good progression of upgrading via Mirage Boards.
- Pretty graphics.
- Excellent English voice acting.
- Great music.
- Good replay value.
- Mostly easy difficulty in many battles.
- Not many available combat tactics.
- No creative puzzles to challenge players.
- Lack of activities to be done in towns.
- Generic side quests.