I’m starting to think Square Enix doesn’t know how to make free games. One of its first attempts, Final Fantasy All the Bravest, was a train wreck, but the company later redeemed itself with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, a game that feels like a Final Fantasy game. One of Square Enix’s more recent free games, Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, is just a Game of War: Fire Age clone, which is already a bad game to emulate. But today, Square Enix released its latest free game: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap!, and it’s a cookie clicker clone. Again, not the best choice of games to emulate.
Unlike the other games I’ve mentioned, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap! is not for iOS or Android devices but is a free game on Facebook. Players take control of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius’ protagonist Rain and can recruit up to five other Final Fantasy characters in one team. However, the game only includes characters exclusive to Brave Exvius, so players shouldn’t go in expecting to recruit fan-favorites such as Cecil Harvey, Kefka Palazzo, or Vivi Ornitier. Perhaps they’ll be added later or not, but right now, players are limited to characters they probably have never heard of. Moreover, only eight characters are earned by progressing through the “story” (more on that later). Players can only unlock the other characters by spending Lapis, which would be a fine idea if Lapis weren’t earned at a snail’s pace and was the only way to level up characters. In addition, players will need to accumulate an insane 764,000 Lapis to unlock every character, and that’s not counting the Lapis needed to level up characters so players can begin to collect Lapis. That’s beyond a Herculean task, even by cookie clicker clone standards
Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap! plays like any other cookie clicker clone, but with a Final Fantasy paint job. All players do is click the mouse to attack, sometimes click on a character’s portrait to perform a Limit Break, and that’s it. Sure, the characters that players recruit help deal extra damage, but that’s all these recruitables do. Moreover, the game doesn’t have any spells to cast and enemies don’t attack; the only challenge in the game comes from the 30-second time limit on each level, which consists of one enemy followed by another enemy followed by a boss. The game lacks any variation and sticks to this formula far too rigidly. Furthermore, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap! gets boring very quickly. Granted, different character Limit Breaks deal different types of elemental damage, and different enemies have specific elemental weaknesses, but I never noticed a significant change in damage output when taking advantage of these weaknesses. Not only are status effects absent from Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap!, but all of the strategy and planning synonymous with Final Fantasy is missing from the game as well. The one remotely clever mechanic in the game is that weapons are powered up when players buy duplicates, which isn’t actually that clever when compared to other Final Fantasy titles, especially since players need to wait until the 100th stage (yes, seriously) to buy weapons, and they don’t know what they’re buying until it’s already been bought.
Gamers can usually rely on Final Fantasy games to have spectacular music, but the music in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap! is anything but. It might be the same music from Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, but this time it’s on an infuriating, continuous loop that doesn’t loop seamlessly into itself as in other Final Fantasy games. Instead, the music fades out and then starts all over again from the beginning. This is a rookie mistake gamers expect from an inexperienced developer who made his or her first Flash or RPG Maker game, not Square Enix. However, the sound effects are even worse than the music, as they are either uninteresting bleeps and bloops of menu buttons or limp sword swings. But, more often than not, sound effects are downright missing. In most Final Fantasy games, Limit Breaks are bombastic spectacles of particle and sound effects, but Limit Breaks in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap! are almost completely silent. Finally, I know I promised to talk about the story earlier, but quite frankly Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap! doesn’t have a story. Sometimes characters have conversations, but they are never of any consequence. Stuff just happens without any rhyme or reason, which is not hallmark of a good video game, especially a Final Fantasy video game.
Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap! is a bad game. It does away with everything synonymous with the Final Fantasy franchise and replaces it with boring, generic gameplay that was out of date in 2014. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap! displays a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes Final Fantasy great and why fans love the series. I can forgive a lot in a Final Fantasy game. Heck, I’m one of the few people who doesn’t complain about Final Fantasy XIII‘s story. But, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap! misses all the marks and commits the two cardinal sins of bad video games: it fails to be enjoyable and has no positive aspects to distract from its shortcomings. I didn’t know what to expect when I started playing Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap!, but even so, my vague expectations were better than what I experienced.