Just last week, we wrote about how Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi recently said Fantasian might be the final collaboration project between him and iconic composer Nobuo Uematsu. On April 1, Sakaguchi’s first RPG in over a decade surprisingly launched on the Japanese Apple Arcade platform. It was released on the US platform the following day.
Developed by Mistwalker — the studio Sakaguchi formed in 2004 after departing from Square Enix — Fantasian is a tale that centers on multiple dimensions, the balance of Chaos and Order, and memories. You play as Leo, an amnesiac who awakens in a factory with little recollection of how he got there. He soon embarks on a journey to rediscover his memories in an alien land populated by machinery. This land and its machines are increasingly infected by the Mechteria, an expanding hole in the sky that lures humans in to absorb their life energy.
Fantasian is a classic RPG in many regards, but it has unique “Dimengeon Battles” that let you warp enemies you’ve already faced to an alternate dimension. This frees you of constant random encounters (perhaps the one aspect of classic RPGs that I’m happy to fully move on from). Once you reach a certain number of monsters transferred (currently at the start it’s 30), you travel to that dimension to fight them.
I’ve played roughly three hours of Fantasian and I’m enjoying it a lot so far. I’m having fun playing a classic RPG like this one again. I can even already see why Uematsu believes it’s his best soundtrack yet. While I’ve only heard a fraction of Fantasian’s soundtrack, what I have heard is wonderful — as if anything less could possibly be expected from Uematsu. I’m looking forward to listening to the songs that have encouraged him to feel so confident in this particular soundtrack.
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While the characters are fairly basic at the moment, I’m at the very beginning of what is a two-part story, with this first part being approximately 20 hours long. Largely propelling me forward are the absolutely gorgeous environments. Over 150 handcrafted dioramas blend physical environments with 3D characters in Fantasian. It’s truly a visual treat to see each one. I keep trying not to fill my phone gallery with screenshots, but I’m doing a rather terrible job.
I’m also enjoying the battle system — especially the ability to use your finger to change the trajectory of a magic attack, allowing you to hit multiple targets at once. The Dimengeon Battles are neat, too. They function mostly the same as regular battles, though here you fight several waves of many enemies. It’s a nice way to conserve your MP, since you can use one magical attack to hit a bunch of enemies at once rather than spending the MP on just one foe. These fights also have a few small perks, like items on the battlefield that let you steal turns or raise your attack. It’s nothing I’m overeager about, but it’s a fun gimmick that sets the game apart.
From these early hours, there’s enough potential here for me to remain fairly interested and have no regrets over subscribing to Apple Arcade just to play Fantasian. But there’s the fact I’m extremely biased as a huge Final Fantasy stan. So, I might not be the best judge. At least, if you’re on iOS, Mac, or Apple TV, you only need to pay $4.99 per month for an Apple Arcade subscription. Even if Fantasian fails to maintain your curiosity, this very pretty game won’t cost a pretty penny.