tragrox's Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (Nintendo DS) review

A fun little game that could possibly drive you over the edge.

This is a game that may have been overlooked when it was released in April of 2007, and that might have something to do with the art direction in general I imagine, but it's definitely not a title that should be overlooked in my personal opinion.  There is a lot to do here with the sheer number of Minigames, and while they may seem simple at first, some of them will have you in fear that you may destroy your stylus screen.

To begin with we're brought into the story with our hero Chocobo(just Chocobo), who is living on a farm alongside other Chocobos.  They live with Shirma(In White Mage attire as usual).  Shirma is going to read them all a story when along comes Croma(Black Mage) with a book containing Bebuzzu, the main antagonist.  Chocobo unfortunately helps with the unsealing of the book through a simple puzzle, and finds Bebuzzu has consumed almost all the other Chocobos on the farm.  So it's up to Chocobo to defeat Bebuzzu through a series of Minigames, Macrogames, and Pop-up duels to rescue his friends.

The graphics seem to fall into the usual repeat category of Square's DS engine they've been using.  They're pretty nice looking and overly colorful, and there seems to be an improvement over the graphics used in Final Fantasy 3, but I'm curious what else they could accomplish with such an engine. Overall though, in and out of the minigames the graphics do a pretty good job of making Chocobo look adorable, and the Pop-up book games, along with the Pop-up duels definitely strike images you'd expect to see from a children's story.

On the sound front it generally does a pretty good job conveying the Final Fantasy experience overall, and of course that comes through completely in the form of the music.  The sound effects are largely negligible, but this game contains remixes of many classic Final Fantasy tunes(much like Chocobo's Dungeon) that are sure to bring back memories for anyone who plays.

What it comes down to ultimately though is the gameplay.  If you like having a lot to do at your stylus tip there's a good chance you're going to love this game.  Overall there are 16 or so Minigames(which can be played Multi-Cart) in the form of retold stories such as The Boy Who Cried Wolf, but in this case it's The Boy Who Cried Leviathan.  There are also varying difficulties you can play these at(and some are required to be completed on said difficulties to continue the game) which will unlock new epilogues, or influence the world's environment somehow, such as opening a new path, or granting you access to a new card.  These games ultimately turn out to be a mixed bag in the fact that the earlier ones are quite easy with the use of the stylus, but the later ones such as the previously mentioned one can really do a number on your stylus screen if you're not careful.

Then there are the Microgames.  There are a total of 23 of them, and it should be fairly obvious what they are.  Basically they're just tiny little games to pick up and a take a stab at.  Their difficulty is on the erratic side, and they have ultimately no influence on the plot since the rewards for beating the high-score on a specific game simply rewards you with cards to be used in duels.  The games range from trying to break a petrified Goblin free by correctly tapping on the perfect spot, or trying to stop an Adamantoise as close to the edge of a cliff it's quickly sliding off of without it actually falling off.

While those are fun little distractions, you'll find yourself accumulating a lot of cards that can be used in Pop-up duels.  These are the main boss battles in the story mode against Bebuzzu, but the duels also reach into Multi-Cart and Wifi modes.  This games requires quite a bit of strategy in general, as there are four sides to a card representing defense/attack or nothing.  When these clash what happens should be rather obvious, but the cards themselves have ability that can be activated if you have a certain number of points in a certain color.  By using say 2 blue cards you could use a card that has an ability that requires 2 blue power stocked.  Some cards get added bonuses like the chance for a first attack.  Altogether there are about 125 cards or so.  This card game has further been expanded in the Chocobo's Dungeon game on the Wii.

In the end this is really quite an easy game to get into, but a difficult game to really master.  Some of the Mini/Micro games can be brutal, but with some patience they can be completed.  This is really a big fanservice packaged together with a lot of Minigames almost all using the stylus(with a few exceptions using the microphone), and while that part shows I feel the fanservice, along with the variety of the actual Mini/Microgames ultimately outshine what would otherwise be a throwaway game.


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Other reviews for Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (Nintendo DS)

    Lots of style, but lacks substance. 0

    If you're looking for the kind of game that you can play a little bit at a time, then this is one to look into.  However, if you plan to sit down and play for a longer stretch, you may find the experience gets old quick.Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales, centres around that almost too common Final Fantasy creature known simply as Chocobo.  The plot is fairly typical: a demon sealed in a book is trying to break free, and it is your task to stop him, while saving your chocobo friends in the proc...

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