The cute little Chocobo has really warked his way into the spotlight: after Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales on the DS, Square Enix was inspired to revive the Chocobo's Dungeon series on Wii ... and then, this summer, Square Enix announced one of each for the DS, as a follow-up to the success of Chocobo Tales. That's one busy little bird.
New details and screenshots are available at last on Chocobo's foray into the land of Final Fantasy Fables. Chocobo to Mahou no Ehon: Majiyo to Otome to Gojin no Yuusha (Chocobo and the Magic Storybook: The Witch, The Maiden, and the Five Heroes) follows the fat chocobo as he ventures, this time, into a story book drawn by Cid. Both of Square Enix's new Chocobo games focus heavily on Cid, so we're not surprised to see the franchise staple putting pen to page in this game. Players will tackle more than 40 mini-games when the title is released in Japan this December.
The Japanese release date for Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia might not seem like useful information to you readers out west, but the desperate, Castlevania-starved gamers among you will at least now know the exact day their import copy will begin its trans-Pacific journey towards their hands -- October 23rd, 2008.
Furthermore, considering that the US release for Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin was only three weeks after Japan's, we also now have a general idea of when Order of Ecclesia will see its stateside release -- mid-November.
Making sure that you get the message -- the message being "Chocobos are really cute; buy our Chocobo games" -- Square Enix has posted trailers for its two recently revealed fall-bound Chocobo titles, Cid and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: Maze of Time DS+ and Chocobo and the Magic Storybook: The Witch and the Girl and the Five Heroes.
As you might be able to tell in the promotional clip and the game's title, Cid and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon is an enhanced port of Chocobo's Dungeon (released in the U.S. for the Wii this week) with more focus on Final Fantasy regular Cid. Given the nature of roguelikes, this DS release doesn't look like that much of a "downgraded" experience compared to the Wii version!
The Chocobo and the Magic Storybook clip isn't nearly as epic, but if you're enough of a Chocobo fan to have read this far into the post, you'll likely want to watch it anyway. Jump past the break for more of the flightless, chubby bird.
Gallery: Cid and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: Maze of Time DS+
As a promotion for its Virtual World -- yes, it's a virtual world titled Virtual World -- Square Enix held a special event in the beta 3D space unveiling two new Chocobo titles for the Nintendo DS -- Cid and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: Maze of Time DS+ (fall 2008) and Chocobo and the Magic Storybook: The Witch and the Girl and the Five Heroes (winter 2008).
Cid and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: Maze of Time DS+, as you can guess, will be a roguelike starring Final Fantasy figures Cid and Chocobo. This will actually be Square Enix's fourth Chocobo Mystery Dungeon entry, an enhanced port of Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon for the Wii, now with new jobs and a storyline told from a new perspective (Cid's).
The chances of this one coming to the U.S.? Given the current"surge" of roguelikes hitting the States, it's very likely we'll get this one! You can preview some of Cid and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon's first screenshots in our gallery below.
As a parent-to-be (in less than a month!) and a dedicated gamer, this blogger is often faced with a dark dilemma. How to subtly work in gaming influences on the spawnling without pushing a love for things like sprites, whips, and black mages too hard? Trust Square Enix to find a way to make that a little bit easier with this completely adorable rubber ducky that is not, in fact, a duck at all -- but rather, a chocobo. Not just any old chocobo, either, but a fat little baby chocobo that is just perfect for fat little baby hands.
The chocobos, which release in April, are a little costly for a bath toy at $13.50 apiece, but it may be worth the premium to snag the perfect tub companion. You can bet there's going to be one in this house.
Promotional Consideration is a weekly feature about the Nintendo DS advertisements you usually flip past, change the channel on, or just tune out.
Square Enix has been pushing Final Fantasy IV hard this week in Japan, advertising the 3D remake with five different CG-filled commercials. We were curious to compare these spots with how the RPG was marketed when it first appeared on the Super Famicom, all the way back in 1991, and the two approaches couldn't be any more at odds!
We're looking forward to dropping way too much money on the inevitable Chocobo- and Moogle-themed memorabilia with which to fill our Materia slotsairshipinventory apartment. Well, maybe not way too much money, because we're total grownups and know how to restrain oursel- dude, maybe they have the cushions!
Sure, figures are cool, and special edition Lites are nice. You can even track down clocks and badges if you're a real Final Fantasy fan. But what compares to chocobos hanging from your keychain? That's right -- different types of chocobo keychains!
Okay, okay, maybe we're a bit overzealous at times with our Final Fantasy fandom, but chocobo keychains are just too cute to resist. And if you don't like cute little chocobos (i.e., if you're not human), you can pick up something else, like a moogle or a black mage.
Chocobo Tales, Square Enix's Final Fantasy spinoff, made for a great release to pass the Spring months with, but it can be hard for a minigame-filled RPG to elbow its way to the front of a crowd filled with must-have DS titles. If you haven't had a chance to pick up Chocobo Tales yet, maybe Amazon's latest sale will be what finally motivates you. The online shop has slashed $10 off of the game's usual cost, bringing it down to a budget price of $19.99. This bargain ends today though, so quit being lazy about buying it!
If you're planning to drink some of Suntory's execrable Final Fantasy Potion, you may as well do it in style, by pouring it into an adorable Chocobo-head mug. Or you could skip the Potion and fill the mug with something that you may actually enjoy. It really depends on what's more important to you: flavor or Square Enix product synergy.
Now when you sit down on your Chocobo cushion to play some Chocobo Tales, you can have up to 15 ounces of, uh ... if not Potion, how about "choco-late" milk? It's less thematically appropriate, but it's phonetically appropriate, and has the added benefit of being delicious.
NCSX is taking preorders for this $18 mug, to ship in July. While you're shopping, check out the other Square Enix preorder of the day: cool Dragon Quest Monsters toys.
In a recent interview with 1UP, Square Enix's marketing communications manager gave us some insight on the process behind adapting Chocobo Tales' packaging for the US. We happen to prefer the Japanese version's modest artwork over North America's chaotic cover, but we understand that the company had a younger audience to appeal to and a different message it needed to convey.
We've collected DS covers from Square Enix's Japanese and US releases after the post break for you to compare and decide which one you like best. To its credit, the company hasn't completely mangled its DS boxarts so far (The same can't be said about Nintendo's bastardization of Hotel Dusk's cover). How do you feel about Children of Mana's simplified design? Does Final Fantasy 3's stripped packaging appeal to your western tastes? And do you agree with 1UP that publishers have been doing a better job with dressing their products?
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales is a lot like most modern cartoons that seem to be aimed at the younger set -- you know, Disney and Pixar and Cartoon Network in the after-school hours. Like these cartoons, Chocobo Tales is colorful and simple, with a solid storyline that isn't really anything special. It's fun, but not deep. But also like those cartoons, Chocobo Tales is peppered with hilarious one-liners and jokes that do show off some depth and appeal for an older set of fans. It's definitely cliché to talk about something that appeals to gamers of all ages, but that may well be the best possible description for the latest Final Fantasy spinoff.
Whatever sort of day today is for you -- be it holiday, or just another day -- we here at DS Fanboy hope it's a good one! May you rock the house in any games you pick up, and may all your food be tasty. Alright, so we're not so great with the well-wishing, but you get the picture. And speaking of pictures, like this one, we have to ask ... do you ever think about chocobos when you see chicks? We must admit, sometimes the sight of a fluffy yellow chick makes us think, "Aww! Wark!"
We've had our eye on Chocobo Tales for quite some time now, watching with fevered anticipation that the spin-off game would provide us with some more entertainment on our handheld system already populated by other highly-entertaining games. Now that the game has hit retail and been reviewed, we can finally see if the full NTSC version is for us. Not that imports aren't our thing, mind you, just we usually steer clear of the Square-Enix titles (lots of text, don'tchaknow).
So, what did the critics have to say? Let's check it out:
IGN (83/100) doesn't want the presentation to fool you, the game is fun for older gamers: "The game might feel a bit "kiddy" in its focus, what with those great, big, cute Chocobo eyes peeking at you from the box art. But even though the idea might skew young, the product is surprisingly enjoyable for the older crowd."
GamePro (80/100) finds the game to be a melting pot of good ideas: "Chocobo Tales is about quick and easy fun. The Crayola art style, pop-up book style graphics and fable stories may make it seem like a kiddie title and technically, it is. However, the game is fun enough that and packed with enough nods to diehard fans that Final Fantasy fans of all ages should give it a look."
New York Times (75/100) has issues with the card system: "Tales has a ridiculously cumbersome system in which you can't easily swap one card for another or compare two cards; even finding a particular card in your collection requires a tedious search. The designers would find it challenging to come up with a worse system. This flaw is surprising in a game that is otherwise beautifully designed."
The other remaining reviews come from Japanese import copies of the game, so as soon as more reviews of the English NTSC version come in, we'll update the post. In the meantime, discuss!
By the time Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales hits shelves next month, we'll hardly even need to play it! We've already seen several of the minigames in action, and GameVideos has added even more to the collection.
And we know, we're not fooling anyone. We're going to play this one until our fingers cramp. That little chocobo is just too cute to resist, and we're helpless when it comes to Final Fantasy.