Let’s not pull any punches here and just call a pile of poop, a pile of poop. Final Fantasy: All the Bravest is a terrible, horrible “game.” It's nothing more than a cold-hearted attempt to quickly grab some cash based on your Final Fantasy nostalgia. The gameplay is virtually non-existent, the game is built around manipulating you into spending extra money, and, worst of all, the basic concept sounds fun enough that it'll probably trick many people into buying it. Square-Enix is really trying to pull one over on us this time.

Based on the look of the game, one might expect it to be a twist on the traditional old-school Final Fantasy staple of traveling the world, fighting monsters, and helping people, all while building and customizing a unique party. Well, forget all that. That stuff is only for people who want to have fun and actually make decisions that influence the game. You'll travel in a predetermined path, fighting hordes of monsters using a party of up to thirty-two Final Fantasy characters, many of who are classic FF heroes such as Cloud, Terra, and Lightning.

The trouble here, however, is that combat consists of nothing more than swiping your finger along the ranks of your party and commanding them to attack. They do and that’s it. You can't customize your party members before combat — if you want more blue mages because you like them, too bad; you get what the game gives you. There's absolutely no semblance of strategy or thought into what you're doing. If you have enough characters to triumph, you win, gain experience points, and your numbers will go up for the next thoughtless encounter. If you don't win, you can either wait three real-time minutes per character for them to recover or spend golden hourglasses (which cost real money), to revive them and finish the fight.

While most fights are easy victories, every once in a while the game will throw a brick wall at you, encouraging you to spend an hourglass to revive your party. The game works so hard to get you to spend extra money it's embarrassing. The aforementioned classic Final Fantasy heroes can only be unlocked by spending a dollar per character, and the most outrageous thing of all is that you don't even get to choose which character you're unlocking — it's a random selection from the game's 35 heroes. Want Cloud? Tough noogies, you're getting Cait Sith instead. The basic campaign is fairly short, which again, is to encourage you to spend real money on "tickets" to other areas, also filled with the same brain-dead combat as the base campaign.

On the plus side, the game's aesthetics are spot-on, with sharp visuals reminiscent of the SNES Final Fantasy games, and several pieces of Nobuo Uematsu's classic FF tunes. The menus are, oddly enough, probably the biggest treat to the game. Whoever was writing the descriptions for the different character classes, items, and monsters obviously has a sharp sense of humor, and it shows. Unfortunately, that's pretty much the only fun to be had. The only way it could be any worse is if it was glitchy, but it's surprisingly stable.

Final Fantasy: All the Bravest combines the worst elements of every hackneyed, un-fun Facebook game, slaps a Final Fantasy coat of paint over it to ensure a few sales based on nostalgia alone, and then has the gall to charge you four dollars for the affair. This isn't a fantasy, it's a nightmare.


App Store Link: Final Fantasy: All the Bravest for iPhone & iPad | By SQUARE ENIX Co., Ltd. | Price: $3.99 | Version: 1.0.0 | 32.5 MB | Rating 9+

2.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating