Final Fantasy All the Bravest (Japanese: ファイナルファンタジー オール ザ ブレイベスト, Hepburn: Fainaru Fantajī ōru za bureibesuto) is a video game in the Final Fantasy series developed by BitGroove and published by Square Enix released for iOS devices. The game features gameplay, characters, locations and art assets from many different Final Fantasy games.
The game has been met with near universal disapproval, citing a lack of gameplay depth, character customization, no story, and very expensive in app purchases for basic gameplay functionality. Positives mentioned were the humorous flavor text and nostalgia for the games the assets are drawn from. On April 11, 2013 the game was released on the Android platform in Japan and on September 12, 2013 in North America.
Final Fantasy All the Bravest features the player controlling a party of characters, and controlling them to fight an opposing enemy party of characters. Characters traverse an overhead map between battles, and engage in a series of battles culminating in a boss fight. Player parties can hold up to 40 characters. The game features the Active Time Battle (ATB) system. In this system, battles are turn-based, with turns being taken when the gradually increasing ATB gauge reaches its capacity. Upon attacking, the bar is emptied and gradually starts refilling again. Defeating enemies grants experience points the player needs to level up and in turn gain character slots to use for the player's party. When weaponry is found, it's auto equipped to all characters that can wield it. Once every three hours, the Fever option is made available, granting the player the ability to attack without needing the ATB gauge to be refilled.
Battles feature 30 songs from the Final Fantasy franchise, most of which are battle themes from different titles. Progress in the game unlocks 20 different character jobs such as blue mage, knight, and thief. Enemies players encounter include boss characters from previous titles, as well as recurring enemies such as behemoths and cactuars. Players can use Facebook and Twitter within the game to promote the title and earn extra character slots. The game also features leader boards for those who have advanced the farthest.
When characters have been defeated, they take 3 minutes to revive per character. Golden hourglass items are purchasable in order to revive all defeated characters instantly. Premium characters from previous Final Fantasy games can be purchased in the in-game shop at random. Characters include Tifa, Rinoa, Terra, the chocobo, moogle, a pig from Final Fantasy IV, and others. World tickets are also purchasable to access notable Final Fantasy locations including Zanarkand, Midgar and Archylte Steppe.
The game was hinted at when Square Enix trademarked the name All the Bravest on December 1, 2012, and was speculated to be related to Bravely Default: Flying Fairy. Square Enix later posted a teaser page on their Japanese website with silhouettes of Final Fantasy heroes and enemies, and a date of 1.17. This led to further speculation that the game would be a release of Final Fantasy V or Final Fantasy VI, though both theories were also quickly dismissed. The game was officially unveiled on January 16, 2013 as Final Fantasy All the Bravest despite originally planned to be unveiled the next day.
Final Fantasy All the Bravest was critically panned. Critics mainly focused on the "poorly and greedily structured in-app purchases" and "shallow" gameplay. IGN gave the game a "poor" rating, stating that despite a small amount of nostalgia, the game was ultimately criticized for its "insulting in-game purchases and inexcusably mindless & repetitive gameplay", ultimately concluding that it was a "very disappointing black mark on Square-Enix’s long-running franchise." Pocketgamer strongly criticized the gameplay and in-app purchase system stating, "There's hardly a game here to begin with - it's more a series of flashing lights to try and entice you to throw some cash down, cross your fingers, and hope you end up with a character you like." Slide to Play criticized the game for having "No rhyme, reason, or strategy to gameplay; the game is a thinly-disguised piggy bank for in-app purchases." Digital Spy echoed the criticisms on the method of in-app purchases and poor gameplay, stating that it was "almost a parody of the worst examples of free-to-play games" and criticizing "its reliance on predatory in-app purchases that exist solely to make loyal fans waste their money. As a free-to-play cash grab it would have still held some appeal, but the core gameplay is just too shallow without significant rewards to make it even worth the price of admission." 1UP.com also stated, "ATB is essentially a narrow tunnel you blindly run down, and where games typically have choices for you to make -- whether it be what skill to choose, what weapon to pick up, what player to substitute in, what kind of unit to build, or whatever else -- there is nothing here." In a rare move, IGN issued a public service announcement not to buy the game, and later cited the game for making money despite bad reviews and high prices. Pocket Tactics also gave a similar public service announcement to not buy the game stating, "I have been an apologist in the past for Square Enix’s unusually high price points for its Final Fantasy iOS ports. [sic] Developers have to make money, and no one should begrudge that. But the way that All The Bravest goes about it is so gauche, so ill-mannered, that it can only be interpreted as a measure of Square Enix’s disdain for its own fans." Kotaku stated that the game is emblematic of Square Enix's lack of respect for fans, and a desire to milk the franchise for money. GamesRadar ranked it as the 44th worst game ever made. The staff accused its developers of cashing in on the Final Fantasy brand. US Gamer cited the game as being the most notable misstep Square Enix had done since CEO Yosuke Matsuda took over, though it also noted that the project had begun under the previous CEO Yoichi Wada.
Gamezebo was slightly more positive, and though it cited common concerns with gameplay and cost, they praised the game for running well without glitches or slowdown, even with a lot of action occurring on-screen. Kotaku identified the flavor text of the menus as hilarious, and the one reason to get the game.
Despite the poor reception, the game still managed to chart at number 25 on the "Top Paid Apps" chart on the iTunes App Store on January 18, 2013.