When World of Final Fantasy first came out back in 2016, I couldn’t get enough of it. Despite some awkward dungeon design, the game was packed with charming visual and delightful writing. It’s the kind of open, content heavy RPG grind fest that was perfect to pop into on your morning commutes or lunch breaks. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option for the original release, unless you were willing to put up with a slow and stuttering PS Vita port. With the jump to the Nintendo Switch, this latest version of World of Final Fantasy Maxima brings the adorable console experience into the palm of your hands once more. Unfortunately, it sacrifices some of that visual charm along the way.
First, the good news: whether you’re playing in docked mode or handheld mode, World of Final Fantasy Maxima never skips a beat in terms of performance. During my time with the game, frame rate stayed at a nice and steady 30FPS, and loading times between battles and menus were on par with what I experienced on home consoles.
That silky performance seems to have come at the cost of graphical fidelity though, because World of Final Fantasy looks rougher around the edges on Switch than it’s console and PC counterparts. In docked mode, texture and shadow quality seem around the same level as what you’d see on the PS4 or Xbox versions, but the resolution is clearly much lower. Characters and environments, as a result, look blurred and jaggy. The game doesn’t look awful, but it lacks the high-fidelity of the other versions that made the visuals so successful.
In handheld mode, the problems only get worse. Resolution takes a further hit, and colors start looking a bit washed out. While the graphics issues in docked mode were bearable, the quality dip in handheld mode is a little too much to deal with for my tastes. Most games do a good job of mirroring visual quality between docked and handheld, but I found myself actively avoiding handheld play whenever I could help it with World of Final Fantasy Maxima.
Thankfully, graphical downgrades aren’t the only new thing in World of Final Fantasy Maxima. A handful of new gameplay features and improvements help spice the package up for returning players. The biggest one for fans of the series is that your brother and sister protagonists can now transform into legendary Final Fantasy heroes, instead of simply summoning them for temporary aid. These transformations open up a few new gameplay options and skill combinations and help make these iconic characters feel a little more integral to the combat.
Noctis from Final Fantasy XV also comes to the game as a brand new champion, and he brings a cute fishing minigame with him. It’s a cute minigame that sees your protagonists and Noctis fishing together, but… it’s just a minigame. Cute and fun as it is, the novelty wears off quick.
If you’ve never played World of Final Fantasy before and you want to be able to have it with you wherever you go, grabbing it on Nintendo Switch seems like a solid decision. While the graphical downgrades are a disappointment, they don’t ruin the addictive gameplay and hilarious writing. However, for returning players, Maxima doesn’t pack in enough new content to feel like a worthy double-dip. Thankfully, if you’re truly curious, you can grab a discounted Maxima DLC upgrade for the game on other consoles.