Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales Review

Once you start to grow older, certain games that are deemed as

Square Enix is one of those developers who knows how to take advantage of the hardware that is presented to them. Look at some of the older games such Final Fantasy 7 or 8 and the detailed graphics they had for their time. Chocobo Tales is no different as your take your feathery friend through environments that are very detailed for the DS. If you see an apple on the ground, you can command the chocobo to eat and he takes little bites, throws the core into the air, and swallows it. Such small touches add a real enjoyment factor to the game.

The meat of the graphical prowess is shown in the mini games as the world changes from a three dimensional representation to something that could have jumped out of a story book. The environments morph into something that my little 11 old year sister could have conjured. Crayon coloring, dark outlines to the shapes, and two-dimensional baddies obstacles combined with three dimensional protagonists and antagonists exude a feeling of awe as the player attempts to finish the mini games.

The only issues I saw with the graphics occurred in the outside world. It seemed a lot of areas just took up space and added nothing to the environment other than existing without a cause. Square could have turned those open areas into some more meaning areas to explore would have added to value of the game as it is a tad bit short.

The opening introduction starts with a lovely remix of the chocobo theme song and it just continues to improve as the game progresses. The mini games that are scattered throughout the game world contain remixes of music that will be familiar if you have played any of the other Final Fantasy titles. These remixes brought back a sense of nostalgia and now the desire to play Final Fantasy 7 and 8 is in full motion, but this is for another time.

The chirps of the chocobo and its friends, the card battle sounds, and the mini game audio feedback all tie together and provide an enjoyable experience. All of the sound effects are strong enough considering they are being blasted out of two small speakers. The whole music/sound effect package is tailored to the game and they will bring back any memories if you have played the previous Final Fantasy titles.

If you are scared of overusing the touch sensitive portion of your DS, this game definitely IS NOT for you. The directional pad and the buttons play a very minuscule role in this game. Even during the prompt, the game requests you tap on the screen to bring up the menu and from then on, the only time I used the directional pad and the buttons was while my chocobo was running around on the world map. During the actual mini games, the microphone will rarely see any use, and the touch pad is brought to the forefront as being the main tool of character manipulation.

At first I thought that using the touch pad as a main control mechanism would cause issues as it wouldn’t be exact or very responsive. The exact opposite of this preconceived notion is true: The game controls are snappy and exact. I press the stylus on the touch screen and I get an instantaneous response. The only time I see the controls as being tedious occurs during the microphone mini games. I thought I was going to hyper ventilate as I blew into the microphone attempting to keep the hamster aloft.

As you, the player, take control of the friendly chocobo and bestow a name upon him, the game begins in earnest. You sit down and listen to your friend the white mage read a book while the black mage comes on screen and presents a book that was purchased in a far away land. Your first mini game will be played here and it is a piece of cake to solve compared to some of the future challenges. I don’t want to ruin any more of the story, so I will allow you to see what happens next. Most of the game takes place in the 3d world.

Inside the mini games, everything takes on another flavor. The game changes from a three dimensional world inside a story-book. The game types range from memorization games to reflex games. Some of them are complicated and I wanted to throw my DS across the room as I started to get frustrated. Then I remembered how much the equipment cost and I changed my mind. The games inside the books have 5 different difficulty levels and one trial mode. Completing different objectives as preordained by the magic magnifying glass unlock changes in the game world or cards that can be used in the boss battles. Other mini-games have different scores that have to be met and either a silver rank or gold rank will unlock a card to help out future endeavors. All of these games lead to the final culmination of Chocobo Tales: The card battles.

The card battles feature three dimensional effects coupled with characters that are summoned and have the look of a picture book that has sprung to life. All of the cards that are gained by finishing certain accomplishments inside of the mini games will help you achieve victory by granting you stronger cards with improved abilities. Every card has four different elements associated with it that can either be defensive or offensive. These defensive or offensive options are tied into the ability of the card. Before you begin any of the battles, little hints given to you during the course of the adventure will allow you to tweak your deck so you are not trampled into the ground by your opponent. Sadly, these card battles play only a small role in the whole aspect of the game, but there is more than enough to do to keep ya busy.

Once all of the cards are collected and the game’s villain has been defeated, you have the option of playing against your friends online and attempt to crush your friends in card battles or any of the mini games that are contained within the game. Once the game is finished, there is a lot less to do with the game though, and it slowly fades into the void. At least while the game lasts, it is a joy ride from the beginning to the end. Too bad it is a little too short…

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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