I am not much of a mobile gamer, so I rely heavily on recommendations from friends. Said friends know that I love RPGs and the Final Fantasy series, so I am very surprised Final Fantasy Record Keeper was hidden from me for so long. Released in September 2014, developed by DeNa and published by Square Enix, FFRK really takes you back to the old days of 8 bit FF goodness all the way to the stories of the more recent games. And may I add, this game is absolutely free!
Under the guidance of Dr. Mog (kupo!), you play as Tyro, an apprentice records keeper. The records that you are to solely care for are paintings that represent significant moments/memories within the FF games. One day, a darkness begins to envelope the paintings and Dr. Mog requests that you enter each painting’s world and relive those memories in order to save the painting. In the beginning, only a couple worlds are open to you at a given time. As you complete more dungeons, more levels and “realms” will become available.
True to FF custom, the game plays as a turn based RPG. Along the way, you recruit new members of your party, both generic characters and characters who we’ve all come to love over the years.
Cid makes a traditional cameo as the party’s “advisor” when needing to upgrade, sell, combine equipment or create and hone abilities (magic and special skills). Upgrading equipment and honing abilities is essential in surviving the more difficult dungeons. Weapons and armor have their own leveling up system and honing abilities directly affects how many time a certain skill or magic can be used. Unlike its predecessors, FFRK does not have an item system. You rely on your abilities only. Another special note, while the game plays as “active”, you can change the speed of the gameplay. You are able to choose between five speeds while in game in case you need an extra second or two to figure out your next move.
During each fight, enemies randomly drop treasure, orbs or gil. Orbs are used to create and hone abilities. Treasure is usually equipment of some sort and gil is money (for those who are not familiar with the term).
As you level up, you gain more stamina which is used to enter each dungeon. At the end of each dungeon and depending on your grade of completion, you will obtain stamina shards. Once you acquire a certain amount, your stamina is fully regenerated. You also receive mythril shards as well. Mythril can be used for various things such as camping during a dungeon siege or being traded in for special relics.
One of the greatest characteristics of FFRK is the music. Each realm uses the soundtrack of its respective game. Example, if you were to enter the FFVI realm, you will be greeted by nostalgic tracks such as Terra’s theme and Celes’ unforgettable opera. Each realm features enemies and bosses that you would face in the actual FF game. Ah! Brings back memories. Do you remember that fight with Kain? Ifrit? Rufus? Kefka? The Sinspawn? It’s all here. As you can tell by the pictures, I am a bit biased.
If you grew up with the FF series, this game will deepen your appreciation for it. To see how it has evolved over the years, and to be reminded of its roots, I cannot help but feel my heart swell when I play FFRK. If you have never played a FF game, this just may convince you to do so. I highly encourage you to pick up a FF game (my personal favorite is VI) and give it a try. First timers, let me know what you think; I would love to discuss the absolute beauty of these games with you. To those returning to the world of FF, welcome home.
“In a glorious kingdom that thrives on the harmony between magic and art, epic tales of valor and hope have been passed from one generation to the next. The records of these great chronicles uphold the peace and prosperity of all civilization. The kingdom sealed these records inside paintings, to safeguard the balance of the world. That is until, without warning, the records within the paintings began to fade away… Darkness fell upon the world, bringing catastrophe and ruin. The time has come for you to save the kingdom’s future.”