The original Groove Coaster, which released on iOS in 2011, was a revelation. It was an accessible yet challenging rhythm game that made excellent use of its touchscreen control method — and which beautifully demonstrated how a completely abstract aesthetic can be just as thrilling and enjoyable as a detailed, realistic one.
While the series isn’t as well-known today as it was during the initial fever for it when it first appeared on the scene, it’s been quietly rumbling along for a decade at this point, taking in several sequels for both mobile phones and arcades, a Steam release for PC in 2018 and, towards the end of 2019, a special Switch version subtitled Wai Wai Party!!!!
At fifty quid, Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party!!!! may look a tad pricey for a downloadable game to the casual observer, and I must confess I’d put off checking it out for far longer than I should have because of this. But having been generously given some eShop credit as a leaving present from my old job, I figured it was high time I gave it a look for myself. So let’s explore it together!
One of the interesting things about Final Fantasy III — and also one of the reasons it gets criticism from some quarters — is how it effectively requires you to use certain jobs for certain sequences.
To date, we’ve already seen a couple of sequences where you needed a White Mage handy to cast Mini on the party, and this time around we’re coming up on a sequence that doesn’t so much as require Dragoons, but is certainly a lot easier if you happen to have a party full of Dragoons.
An adventurer is only as good as his equipment, however, so today is all about getting our four Warriors of Light tooled up with appropriate pointy implements. Check out how it went in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
Coming to their senses after seemingly bringing the world back to life, the Warriors of Light found themselves with their airship locked up and the next Crystal guarded by the mysterious “Goldor”.
Having acquired themselves some Levigrass shoes to cross the swamp guarding Goldor’s mansion, the time has finally come for the Warriors of Light to take back what is rightfully theirs — and perhaps plunder some shiny booty in the process.
After making it to “the surface world”, only to discover the whole thing appears to be a seething miasma of darkness, the Warriors of Light set out to figure out what’s really going on.
Before long, they encounter the mysterious Aria, who seems to understand the situation, and she agrees to help them. The crystal’s light, it seems, can purify the land of darkness… but there are those who seek to oppose the light at all costs!
We’ve almost reached the first big milestone in Final Fantasy III’s main scenario!
But before we descend to the “world below” and discover what’s really going on, we have a major challenge standing in our way. Can we free King Argus and his subjects from the evil Hein — who regularly shifts his weak point, if no-one told you — and return peace to the Floating Continent?
Refia is an interesting character in Final Fantasy canon, because she didn’t exist in the original version of the game she’s from — in fact, none of the protagonists from the 3D remake of Final Fantasy III did.
Indeed, the original Famicom version of Final Fantasy III instead features a player-named party of indeterminately gendered “Onion Kids” — thereby kicking off the series’ occasional, inexplicable obsession with the vegetable in the process. Refia didn’t show up until Matrix Software brought out the Nintendo DS version of Final Fantasy III in 2006 — which was also the first time the game came West.
Well, just because she wasn’t there from the very beginning doesn’t make her any less worthwhile as a character! So let’s take a moment to celebrate Refia’s contribution to one of the most well-known RPG series in the world.
How many games have you come across where the reputation of a notoriously annoying or difficult section has put you off exploring further?
For Final Fantasy III, that section is featured in today’s episode: it’s a dungeon and boss fight where you’re forced to inflict the status effect Mini on your entire party for the duration, and as such it makes melee characters almost entirely useless.
As yet bereft of the iconic Jobs that would go on to define this particular installment in the Final Fantasy series, our heroes are tasked with seeking out a naughty old Djinn.
It’s not a quest they can really walk away from, either; a significant number of people in the vicinity have been turned into ghosts by this malevolent dark power — and of course, no-one but a bunch of freelancin’ kids could possibly go and sort out the whole problem.
While it’s a daunting challenge at first, it doesn’t take long for our heroes to build up their confidence at fighting — and before you know it they’re toppling their first significant challenge, proving themselves worthy of the title “Warriors of Light”.
It’s time for a whole new Final Fantasy — this time the third installment in its PSP incarnation, itself based off the Nintendo DS remake by Matrix Software.
I was all set to start recording these on actual hardware (PlayStation TV in the case of the PSP titles) but regrettably I discovered that Square Enix of Europe has been… less than fastidious in keeping their back catalogue updated with PSTV support, so we’re emulating again, I’m afraid — and we will be when FFIV rolls around, too, since that doesn’t work here in Europe either!
Ah well. It’s the game itself that matters, and Final Fantasy III is certainly an interesting and important installment in the series, so let’s get started on a whole new journey. And don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube to stay up to date with the Final Fantasy Marathon and all my other series!
The best of overlooked and underappreciated computer and video games, from yesterday and today