Why Fans Are Excited for Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

The Final Fantasy series has some of the best music of any long-running video game franchise, and Square Enix knows it. The brand has its own line of annual orchestral tours that’s been running for 15 years, and the recent one Pixel Remaster series was sold on re-orchestrated soundtracks for the first six Final Fantasy titles. And, of course, there’s a Final Fantasy rhythm game series: Theaterrhythm. The next entry in the beloved Theaterrhythm series, titled Theatrhythm Final Bar Linewas announced at a recent Nintendo Direct, and Final Fantasy fans are delighted.

The first game, titled Theaterrhythm Final Fantasy, was released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2012 and remains one of the platform’s most pleasant sleeper hits. Blending traditional JRPG party-building with tight rhythmic gameplay, it quickly amassed a cult following, earning an iOS port that remained on the App Store for half a decade. In 2014, Theaterrhythm Final Fantasy received a sequel, Theatrythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call. once again Curtain Call proved that a Final Fantasy rhythm game is a winning concept, garnering even greater critical praise than its predecessor. Following Curtain Callthough, the series seemed to hit a bit of a roadblock.

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Two Theaterrhythm games have been released since Curtain Call. The first was an arcade cabinet, titled Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: All-Star Carnivalin 2016. Being an arcade-only experience, All-Star Carnival didn’t reach the same heights as its predecessors, and it’s now nearly impossible to find a cabinet outside specialized arcades. The other post-Curtain Call game was Theatrhythm Dragon Quest. As the name suggests, it consisted of the Theaterrhythm formula applied to the Dragon Quest series. It reviewed well but never made its way to the United States, and because the 3DS is a region-locked system, American Dragon Quest fans were (as American Dragon Quest fans so often are) locked out of the experience.

More recently, in 2020, Square Enix offered a pseudo-Theaterrhythm game in the Kingdom Hearts series, titled Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory. While Melody of Memory was made by Theaterrhythm development studio indieszero and co-directed by Theaterrhythm director Masanobu Suzui, it saw some major departures from Theaterrhythm‘s traditional formula. And, in classic Kingdom Hearts fashion, it brought massive narrative developments to a series known for its convoluted lore, leaving some casual fans a little unenthused. Melody of Memory is an excellent rhythm experience, but it lacks the simple and clean magic of the Theaterrhythm series.

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Now, nearly a decade later Curtain Callthe Theaterrhythm series is returning internationally to consoles. In fact, it’s actually breaking free from the world of handhelds for the first time. Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is coming to the Nintendo Switch, maintaining the series’ longstanding connection to Nintendo’s handhelds. It’s also landing on the PlayStation 4, allowing fans to experience the music of Final Fantasy on their flashy home theater speakers.

Final Bar Line also boasts the largest base game tracklist of any Theaterrhythm game, and Square Enix has already promised DLC that will add music from other iconic JRPGs in the studio’s stable. Tracks from the Never series, Chrono Triggerand Octopath Traveler have been confirmed, among others. Square Enix has not mentioned the series by name, but fans of Dragon Quest might even have the chance to make up for Theatrhythm Dragon Quest‘s absence from the US.

Theaterrhythm has been away for a while, and although there have been attempts to revive the brand in the last eight years, most have landed with a bit of a thud. Now, it seems Theaterrhythm is ready to return, triumphantly sporting even more Final Fantasy music than ever before.

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