Final Fantasy Record Keeper Is A Pixelated Trip Down Memory Lane

by Daniel Tack on Mar 31, 2015 at 12:33 PM

I’m exploring the Mist Cave, complete with some of the classic enemies and score. At the end of the stage, my team is forced to do battle with the Mist Dragon, complete with his shifting mist form from FFIV. But this time, Cecil isn’t around – instead, Kain, Cloud, and a handful of other Final Fantasy characters are taking the beast on. This is Final Fantasy Record Keeper, a mobile game that nails the nostalgia by providing classic songs, characters, and setpiece encounters from the scope of the entire Final Fantasy series in pixelated form that will leave you wondering if you ever really stopped playing FFIV and FFVI.

Final Fantasy Record Keeper is free-to-play on iOS and Android and uses a system similar to Puzzle&Dragons in terms of monetization. One thing I particularly like about this title is that characters are not tied to gacha-monetization, only gear – while gear is important, I’m happy that I’m not incentivized to attempt to get my favorite characters by opening my wallet like a certain other abomination of a Final Fantasy mobile “game” (I’m looking at you, All The Bravest).

The game uses a standard time-gating stamina system, but I was able to complete all the core encounters leading up to elite dungeons without having to pause for more than a few moments – that’s a lot of game time, and it doesn’t feel particularly restrictive. The content available right now outside of the harder challenges that require more abilities, levels, and gear is decent, but the expectation for weekly and monthly content rollouts is doing a lot for me right now as I participate in the daily dungeons, working up a solid equipment base.

Combat uses a decidedly old-school active-time battle system that allows for abilities and soul breaks to be woven in with traditional “attack” commands. Your squad can be outfitted with all manner of skills from Cura to Blizzaga, and when your soul break fills up you have a variety of different maneuvers that can be performed from offensive strikes to boosts, such as the White Mage’s Prayer or Bard’s party-enhancing damage buff. It’s hardly the most enthralling or engaging combat, but it scratches that early Final Fantasy itch.

I’m a sucker when it comes to the older FF titles, and my disappointment regarding some of the more modern fare is well known – so when it comes to the simple, pixelated encounters presented by Final Fantasy Record Keeper along with nostalgic tunes and characters, it’s easy to like. The combat is nothing scintillating, you can keep your team on autopilot most of the time, but for boss fights you’ll probably want to take the reins and relive some of those iconic battles, whether it’s a final showdown in Baron Castle or taking on some Magitek in Final Fantasy VI.

As with Puzzle&Dragons, players have the option to shell out cash to obtain potentially powerful equipment, but the game’s cash currency gets handed out in a fairly generous manner as you play, so you’ll still be able to dive into the barrel hoping for Cloud’s Buster Sword or other five-star pieces of equipment. Outside of this system, you can level up and enhance weapons and abilities in a similar fashion to beefing up monsters in many other mobile offerings, by leveling up and combining gear.

I’ve cleared out all the standard content the game has to offer at the moment, but I’m incredibly excited to see what the future will bring in the form of new encounters and characters. Revisiting Final Fantasy in this fashion makes me wish we had some sort of full-on console title featuring the classic active time battle system, but for now I guess I’ll have to settle for battling Baigan on my phone.