Theatrhythm Final Bar Line Review

Final Fan-toot-sy.
Theatrhythm Final Bar Line Header

It’s wild to imagine a rhythm game boasting over 380 songs, and even wilder to think that every single one of those songs could come from a single franchise, yet here we are with Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, a musical celebration of the legacy of Final Fantasy. Starting off on the 3DS, and with the 3DS eShop closing soon, it’s perfect timing for a new entry to arrive on Switch and PS4. Not only that, but Theatrhythm Final Bar Line excels at incorporating almost a decade of new Final Fantasy soundtracks into an already beefy package, ensuring that fans both new and old have plenty to appreciate here.

The mechanics of playing Theatrhythm Final Bar Line are pretty simple. Notes fly from one side of the screen to the other, and when they align with your button slots you’ve got either press a face button for red icons, hold a face button down for green icon bars, or flick a stick in the specified direction for yellow ones. It’s child’s play on Basic difficulty, but don’t get too cocky, because Expert can throw some tricky buttons at you, and the Ultimate and Supreme difficulties are some of the most sweat-inducing rhythm game experiences I’ve ever had.

The mental gymnastics of conquering directional movements and rapid button combos at high-speed are no joke, especially when certain Field Music Sequences have you holding buttons and moving your stick up and down to match the movement of wobbling, funky note lines alongside your other tasks. Even on the easiest difficulties, the note charts do an incredible job of matching the rhythm of the song and I couldn’t help but bob my head as I played. There are fun easter eggs hidden in some of the note-charts, too – A Long Fall from Final Fantasy XIV, for example, has a section that moves in the same rhythm and directions as the iconic Twinning meme dance.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line Gameplay

The fanservice in Theatrhythm Final Bar Line isn’t just contained to the music, though. You form a party of four characters to bring into every song, watching them fight mobs and bosses in real-time alongside you, and everyone from the main cast of Final Fantasy 7 to the protagonist of mobile spinoff Mobius Final Fantasy is here to choose from. Some songs have unlockable Event versions that let you watch iconic in-game scenes as you play instead of your RPG party, and every time you beat a track you’re rewarded with collectible cards showing off heroes, villains, enemies, chibi-fied album art for each song, or iconic moments from the original game. It’s absurd just how much stuff there is to see and collect in this game.

Your main mode, Series Quest Mode, sees you playing through sectioned-off sets of songs based on each Final Fantasy game. Clear a few songs in a section and you’ll get a key that lets you unlock a new game section, but finish all of them entirely and you’ll unlock a randomised Endless mode. Most sections have about 7-14 songs in them – except for the wild yet incredibly necessary 32 songs for Final Fantasy XIV – and each song has bonus missions and rewards to keep things interesting. You aren’t tackling stories or watching cutscenes or doing real RPG battles, but it’s fun to make a little challenge of things and change up your party or the way you play to unlock a new character card or hat for your Moogle.

Beating a song here unlocks it in the other two modes: Music Stage mode and Multi Battle mode. Music Stage mode simply lets you pick any songs in any order from any series, including the Deluxe Edition and Season Pass songs that don’t show up in Series Quest Mode at all. Multi Battle mode, though, lets you go online with up to 3 other people in endless rhythm-battle lobbies. Each player chooses a song for the game to randomly select for everyone to play at once. While you’re playing, Bursts can activate that trigger wild disorienting effects for you or your enemies. I could be deep into a perfect combo when, all of a sudden, a fat chocobo blocks my entire screen or my notes shrink to half their size. After you beat a Multi Battle song each player gets to pick a collectible card to add to their collection in order of who did best – watching first place flip over a mystery card and get your favorite character while you’re stuck with another rare Bahamut is frustrating in such a fun, silly way.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line Collection

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is an absolute delight. The base roster of songs can easily occupy you for close to 40 hours alone, but replaying them to level up your favourite characters, trying new team compositions, tackling tricky Series Quest mode missions or complete your card collection can keep you busy for way, way longer. Any fan of Final Fantasy will find something here that’s sure to make them smile, and if you’re a music fan or rhythm gamer on top of that then this might just be your dream game.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is a labor of love that is worthy of loving back - it's game packed to the brim with iconic songs, unforgettable characters, and fun excuses to revisit and collect them all. Accessibility options, versatile difficulty levels, and simple yet addicting multiplayer help make a great package even greater. Any Final Fantasy fan owes it to themselves to dive into this game and take a musical trip down memory lane.
  • Huge and perfectly curated selection of songs to play
  • Every character is here, and they're adorable
  • Series missions and party composition adds an addictive layer of replayability
  • Multi Battle is simple but super addictive
  • A few too many loading screens and menus to sit through
Written by
I'm a writer, voice actor, and 3D artist living la vida loca in New York City. I'm into a pretty wide variety of games, and shows, and films, and music, and comics and anime. Anime and video games are my biggest vice, though, so feel free to talk to me about those. Bury me with my money.