World of Final Fantasy Maxima on Nintendo Switch
Back in our original review, we praised World of Final Fantasy for its series cameos, fun combat systems, and Mirage collections. The game introduced a cast of new characters along with a story that had culminated from the years of Final Fantasy fables we all know and love. Two years later, and World of Final Fantasy is back with the Maxima treatment, adding in a few new surprises that make the trip back to Grymoire worth it.
World of Final Fantasy Maxima isn’t a new game by any means; rather, it expands on the original adventure. If you already have a copy of the original game, you can actually purchase World of Final Fantasy Maxima as an add-on DLC instead. This is, however, the first time the game has landed on the Nintendo Switch.
As a quick recap, World of Final Fantasy Maxima still follows the same cookie-cutter twins, Lann and Reynn, who suffer from amnesia and find themselves in the center of a mysterious prophecy. The two decide to embark on a grand adventure to reclaim their memories, and they meet iconic Final Fantasy faces along the way. These twins aren’t the perfect protagonists, but they do offer some occasional witty jabs that left me chuckling.
From its playful plot and adorable art style, World of Final Fantasy Maxima still feels like something out of a children’s storybook. The world is still as cute as it’s always been, featuring chibi-fied versions of fan-favorite personalities. There’s definitely a sense of familiarity (and heaps of fan service) among these characters as they all seem to know each other and feel like outright friends.
There is no overworld in World of Final Fantasy Maxima, but rather, Lann and Reynn can travel between different regions, towns, and dungeons through portals. These areas are pretty linear, for the most part, but have a few branching paths for a bit of exploration. Nine Wood Hills, the twin’s home, acts as their central hub where they can restock on supplies and organize their party, among other things.
Combat-wise, World of Final Fantasy Maxima still keeps the traditional turn-based combat found in past Final Fantasy games. You shift between both Basic and Traditional menus during combat. The former lets you assign skills to certain buttons, letting you pull off attacks or use items without having to go dig around in a menu. Fights can feel particularly slow, as you have to wait for your turn to act. Luckily, you can always speed things up with just the push of a button.
Lann and Reynn are the central units in your group in World of Final Fantasy Maxima, with the rest of your party centering around Final Fantasy figures known as Mirages. Monster catching is still a prominent mechanic in the game, with players needing to imprism Mirages during combat. Before you can attempt to catch these creatures, you’ll need to meet a certain requirement first.
Some Mirages can only be imprismed after you attack or heal them, while others need to be the last monster standing in combat. This makes combat and catching a bit less repetitive since you’ll have to work around these conditions if you’ve found a Mirage you really want to add to your group.
The stacking system also makes a comeback in World of Final Fantasy Maxima, giving you a ton of customizable options when building your party. There are tons of Mirages to collect, and you can swap between them at any time outside of combat.
Each Mirage has their own size, and you need to stack them accordingly on Reynn and Lann to build your party. Lann and Reynn can stack up to two Mirages in their normal form, while they can stack atop a larger Mirage in their chibi form. Stacking combines their stats and abilities together, essentially forming a stronger unit during combat.
That said, monsters also have the ability to topple your stacks during combat. Toppled towers lead to stunned units, so you’ll have to think about when to unstack and restack to keep your tower going during fights. Like with Reynn and Lann, some enemies enter combat as stacked units. You’ll also need to focus on toppling their tower if there’s a certain Mirage you want to capture, as you can’t catch in bulk.
Reynn and Lann also have the power to call Final Fantasy heroes and villains in combat as special summons. These heroes provide their signature moves with gorgeous cinematics that reminiscent of their original games. Moreover, a new feature in Final Fantasy Maxima also lets you change Reynn or Lann’s appearance to that of a Final Fantasy hero. This, of course, doesn’t affect the story and is mainly just for visual purposes during combat only.
Aside from Lann and Reynn’s adventure, you can also delve a bit deeper into side stories that focus on Final Fantasy characters. These special interventions missions shed a bit more light on what these heroes are doing in Maxima and each come with a battle at the end of it. You will be rewarded with a few items, but the real treat comes from each side story itself.
Maxima also comes with a slew of new things to look forward to, along with some quality of life changes. There are a few additional Mirages you can collect, while New Game Plus+ gives players another reason to experience the story again. Characters such as Zack from Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core and Serah from Final Fantasy XIII-2 finally make their appearance in the game.
More importantly, however, are the extra scenes that add a bit more closure to Reynn and Lann’s adventure. These small yet substantial changes add up and definitely justify another trip back into the World of Final Fantasy if you haven’t already.
This updated port is also another excellent addition to the Nintendo Switch’s gaming library. Since Maxima doesn’t have an auto-save feature and save points are a bit too few and far between, the Switch’s portability option is fantastic. On top of that, the Switch version doesn’t have those framerate issues, long load times, and slowdowns the Vita suffered from.
The Nintendo Switch version is hands down the best way to experience World of Final Fantasy Maxima on the go. That said, it’s worth noting that the graphics definitely seem a bit bogged down on handheld mode. While it isn’t terrible to look at, the jagged edges really definitely seem like a downgrade from its other console counterparts. Regardless, it’s commendable how Square Enix managed to port World of Final Fantasy Maxima to the Switch with both financial and technical limitations in mind.
If you’re new to the Final Fantasy series, this probably isn’t the best game to start with. There are a few references to the mainline games, and the series cameos probably won’t pack as much charm as you’d expect. World of Final Fantasy Maxima is a fun ride, but those looking for a real Final Fantasy experience on the Switch are better off waiting for the core titles coming next year.
Despite its visual shortcomings, World of Final Fantasy Maxima still brings back the charm we all fell in love with two years ago. This crossover still feels like an excellent celebration for the series, spoiling long-time supporters with classic gameplay and a fanciful tale filled with Final Fantasy fervor.