World of Final Fantasy review – Pokémon meets Final Fantasy

When I say this game is a Pokémon-clone, what I mean is that it rips its main mechanic straight from Nintendo’s popular series. Laan and Reynn’s best method of combat is to travel the world, seeking out classic Final Fantasy monsters and capturing them in prisms. They train them through combat, level up their skills and abilities, and call upon them to do battle with other monsters in times of need.

If that’s not Pokémon, I don’t know what it is. Relax. World of Final Fantasy has more than just different monsters to distance itself from its obvious source of inspiration.

For one, it’s a linear quest, taking place primarily in dungeons and on missions. Pokémon’s free-roaming nature doesn’t kick in until much later in the game. Our two heroes and their monsters, called Mirages, will often find an objective at the end of a tunnel or a boss waiting at the top of an enemy base, and it’ll be their job to complete the objective and collect new Mirages along the way.

There are no towns in the traditional Final Fantasy sense because all items, subquests, and interaction with the game’s systems occur in a central hub town. There are no gyms, no item shops or inns, or anything other than NPCs to talk to if they stumble across a new kingdom.

The way Mirages are used in battle also differs from Pokémon in that they stack upon the heroes rather than battle for them. Like any JRPG character, the twins and the monsters gain levels as they fight, and they gain strength with each advancement. World of Final Fantasy lets players pile monsters onto one another through a system called the “stack,” holding a maximum of three at a time.

Monsters fall into three main groups: small, medium, and large, and from there, the stack can be built. When in chibi-form, the two characters are considered “medium” sized, and they can include a large and a small monster on their stack. The twins can also switch into a larger form, which counts them as a large monster. Small and medium monsters stack on top of their heads.

Each monster adds to the stack its statistics and its abilities, meaning that they act as a single unit in combat and boost their power based on how they work together. Combining two fire monsters could mean the stack has a stronger affinity to fire magic and maybe even more powerful spells! Physical monsters or monsters who use swords can combine to create slash attacks. World of Final Fantasy has a nearly infinite level of combinations and stacks to experiment with, so get out there and try.

Our heroes carry no weapons or armor, either, meaning the only changes to their stats come from the power of their stack.

Sometimes in battle, stacks can also fall apart after a huge hit or be disassembled by the player at will. In these situations, the three members of the stack can either choose to pile back onto one another or ditch out smaller bits of pain as three separate and weaker characters. It might seem counter-intuitive to do this, but catching some monsters require more than just weakening them and throwing a ball their way.

Here’s another difference from Pokémon: specific objectives to catch difference monsters. Take, for example, an ice monster. A classic Final Fantasy spell called Libra allows players to see the objectives to catch this one, and you might see it needs to be weakened with a single fire hit. The stack launches its weakest fire ability, but even that proves to be too strong because the ice monster takes double damage from fire. Oops.

Instead, the best strategy is to disassemble the stack, use a fire monster to hit it with a weaker fire attack, and boom! You’ve met the objective without killing it! And this is just the most basic example. Later in the game, you’ll come across some pretty challenging requirements for catching a monster.

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