Final Fantasy All The Bravest: The cash grab to end all cash grabs

February 1, 2013

Before putting fingers to keys, I went through many different ways to begin this review. Don’t want to start off the new site with too much hyperbole after all. But after careful thought and consideration, I could only reach this conclusion:

Final Fantasy: All The Bravest is the most asinine cash grab I have ever seen.

From the screenshots provided in the iTunes Store, it looks like you’re buying a competent game. And yes, in theory, it’s competent. Insofar as I have yet to run into a crash or terrible lag issues.

It looks like a Final Fantasy game. It sounds like a Final Fantasy game. But appearances can be deceiving.


First off a little background: The battle system in Final Fantasy games starting with Final Fantasy IV used what’s called an Active Time Battle system. Instead of both sides getting one attack per turn, a gauge fills up for each character. Once it’s filled, they can attack.

In case you didn’t notice, All The Bravest shares the acronym ATB with the battle system. The game also features the sprites, music and ideas from the first six (well, more than that, but patience) games of the series for the initial $3.99 price tag. That’s where any connection with a Final Fantasy game ends.

Gameplay goes like this: See those enemies over there? Swirl your finger over your guys until they’re dead. Rinse, repeat. There is no strategy, no complexity, just swirl and tap and hope you make it through the fight. Don’t bother worrying about what spell your mage is going to use, that’s been chosen well in advance.

What happens if you don’t succeed? Well the battle scene freezes and you’ll get a character back every three minutes. Considering your party can hold up to 40 characters with enough leveling up and posting how much the game sucks on Twitter, that could be up to two hours.

For the impatient, Square-Enix has you covered. Gold Hourglasses will replenish an entire party. And because they’re such great people, the company spots you three whole hourglasses. And then requires using one to survive the first tutorial battle.

[two_third][box] Throwing this cash grab out there makes that game that held your kid’s fish hostage unless you paid up look saintly [/box][/two_third]

Want more? Fork over 99 cents for three, $1.99 for 8, or for the super-impatient there’s a 20-pack for $2.99.

The game consists of nine worlds with tiny elements borrowed from each game. Your battle path consists of the following in each world:

1) A couple of waves of mooks

2) A mini-boss

3) A few more waves of mooks

4) A boss you probably won’t be able to beat the first time, unless you’ve been grinding properly

Any character development you might remember from those first six Final Fantasy games has been wiped clean to match the complexity of the game.


But what if you’re a masochist like me, bought the game when it first game out, beat Neoexdeath after a few rounds and have nothing left to do? Oh there’s plenty. You can go back and find every last enemy and the useless weapon drops. Or you can go to the part where this cash grab turns simply amazing.

There are three more worlds available to explore: Midgar from VII, Zanarkand from X and Archylte Steppe from XII. Each of these World Tickets cost a mere $3.99. Each. If you’re keeping track at home:

Main game $3.99
First world $3.99
Second world $3.99
Third world $3.99
Total cost so far: $15.96 + Any additional Gold Hourglasses

“Kyle,” you’re asking, “Aren’t you being a little ridiculous? $16 isn’t that much. They charge $15.99 for Final Fantasy IV by itself in the store.”

I’m just getting warmed up.


It would be one thing if the game itself was only $16. But what you’re getting in the base game and in each of the expansions is just the generic classes: the monks, the warriors, the geomancers, etc. The good stuff is still behind the counter.

After all, who wouldn’t want to bring in all-around spike-haired icon Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII? He’s only heralded as being one of the greatest video game characters of all time. He can be all yours for just 99 cents—if you’re lucky.

Additional characters (read: the actual characters from games, not just generic classes) are available for 99 cents each. But to head off people cherry picking their favorite characters, Square-Enix made it random. That 99 cents means you get a chance at the character of your dreams. What kind of chance?

1 in 35.

That’s right, for 99 cents each, you can take a stab and test your luck at getting the character you’re lusting after (and if you are lusting after a character in this series, stop reading and seek help). And if you’re a completionist, that’s just $34.65 out of your pocket.

Let’s add it up again:

Main game $3.99
First world $3.99
Second world $3.99
Third world $3.99
35 characters: $34.65
Total cost so far: $50.61 + Any additional Gold Hourglasses

That’s right, more than $50 on a swirl and tap adventure with no complexity or skill required.

And just to spit in your eye, it’s really easy to acquire money in this game. You can’t spend it on anything, but it’s easy to rack up more than 5 milion gil by the end of it.

Maybe if Square-Enix didn’t charge for the base game and made the characters and/or hourglasses purchasable with the gil accumulated in the game, this wouldn’t sting as much. But throwing this cash grab out there makes that game that held your kid’s fish hostage unless you paid up look saintly.