World of Final Fantasy is one of those games that takes the legacy of an on-going series and delivers it to fans in a brand new way. In this case by making every character appear as cute chibi versions of their former selves. But that doesn’t mean having to sacrifice the solid, addictive gameplay to cater to a specific visual style or tone, which works out in favor to fans of the Final Fantasy series. If you never checked out our review of World of Final Fantasy here on The Koalition, we highly recommend you do so. But has enough about the game changed in the newest version, called World of Final Fantasy Maxima, for the Nintendo Switch? The honest truth is yeah, but not in the way you might have thought.
The story and overall core gameplay in World of Final Fantasy Maxima is very much identical to the original release. You take control of two siblings, Reynn and Lann, and follow them as they traverse many areas of Grymoire based on the various Final Fantasy games. Along the way, you battle and capture monsters called Mirages to help you in battle, which plays a huge part in the greater narrative. It’s an addicting approach to the Final Fantasy formula that borrows elements from other collection-based RPGs. For the Maxima release, this remains the same but with a lot more opportunities to capture new mirages and utilize different strategies in combat. The difficulty of certain early sections in the game has been adjusted to make the start less intimidating, easing players into battles and helping them understand the combat and other systems much easier.
But what are the bigger changes to World of Final Fantasy Maxima that fans of the original game will take notice of? Outside of the additional mirage monsters that appear throughout most of the game, there are new champions based on legacy Final Fantasy characters to add to your stacks in combat. This includes both Reynn and Lann themselves with the new Avatar Change System in combat, but most Square Enix fans will probably gravitate towards using newcomer champions like Noctis from Final Fantasy XV.
Unfortunately, there are some missing champions that were big DLC releases when the game originally came out, most notably Sora from the Kingdom Hearts series. This doesn’t have a great effect on most of the game since it was offered as a limited time DLC before, but anyone hoping for the complete package to have everything included will instead be disappointed. Why Sora was not included for the Maxima release is anyone’s guess.
In addition to new side-quests scattered throughout each world and a brand new difficulty Nightmare level, Maxima has some new mini-games to mix things up. The fishing mini-game with Noctis is a huge nod to the one featured in Final Fantasy XV. It’s a silly distraction that offers some rewards for doing well in it, but nothing too crazy that will keep you fishing for hours.
The new boss battles that have been placed in various areas, however, will have you working much harder, especially if you’re not prepared to battle against some vicious new enemies. The optional battles in the original World of Final Fantasy release were tough, but the new ones for Maxima will definitely make everyone work hard for victory.
On the Nintendo Switch, the game runs very well and looks good too. In portable mode, exploring the many environments and worlds you visit is colorful and runs smoothly without any issues. Though it looks much better on a television screen when having the Nintendo Switch docked, World of Final Fantasy Maxima still looks great when playing on the go.
The smallest of issues for some might come from the slightly increased load and transition times when navigating the menus and visiting new places of Grymoire. This isn’t anything significant, but noticeable if you’ve played a lot of the original game.
As a definitive version of the original game, World of Final Fantasy Maxima accents everything from the first release with some new content. While not game changing or heavily modifying the core of what made it fun to play beforehand, the new additions in Maxima are good enough to warrant fans of the original to dive back into the world of Grymoire once again. The new side quests, mirages, optional fights, and champions are great add-ons to an already interesting game. If you missed out on the fun before, this is the best way to finally experience the world of Final Fantasy in all of its chibi goodness.
These impressions are based on a digital review code of World of Final Fantasy Maxima for the Nintendo Switch, provided by Square Enix.