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Abundance of Cute


Mikel Tidwell


Nestled among some cramped Nintendo DS stations I came across Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates,. Surprised that I would find it here, with Square Enix not having their own booth, I took the chance to play the demo version. For this impression, I selected the Story Mode. I was curious about the Multiplayer option, but the other station was empty most of the time that I was there.

The voices sound a lot younger than I was expecting. I always thought the characters were cute and maybe chibi, but to actually be children was a bit surprising. Still, the voices fit the characters without sounding like the obnoxious children found in restaurants, so I shouldn't complain. I couldn't hardly hear any music in the loud GDC hall, so I'll have to wait for a more personal experience to learn more about that.

The story begins with a father figure chopping up some logs in front of two siblings, a boy and a girl. The children want to give it a try. They finally convince the man they should be able to, only to discover the hatchet is too heavy for even both of them to lift, let alone cut logs with. I have to admit I'm not sure what happened next, but through the children's belief that they could lift the hatchet, they were able to. I have a feeling this is intentionally vague. Once the boy has the hatchet, which the man allows him to run around with, swinging wildly, he tells his sister they should explore, just because they can now. She warns it will simply be a dead-end, but comes along anyway.

The battles on this path are almost strictly tutorial. The boy learns how to not just fight with the hatchet, but how to grab onto enemies, which he can then bash into walls or strike with his hatchet while holding onto them. The lesson doesn't say that the monster will break free, hurting the boy in the process, but he learns the hard way pretty quick.

I was hoping to reach the boss at the end of the cave, presuming there was one, but I ran out of time. The battle system was unique enough that I didn't feel restricted, unlike previous Crystal Chronicles games. The story and characters are still far too cute to take seriously -- a good game for the solitude of the couch, perhaps. If it's as funny throughout the entire game as the beginning, it will definitely be worth playing.

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· Square Enix

· Nintendo DS

· 03.11.2008

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