While not the first RPG series released, the Final Fantasy series has become almost synonymous with the genre. The series itself has become so popular and so large that it has spawned an almost countless number of spinoff games and series, many featuring fan favorite characters and creatures. One of the smaller, but not less popular spin-off series is the Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon games. Originally released in 1997 only in Japan, the chocobo series has few games, but they’ve generally been fairly well received. The most recent one, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy!, is a remaster of the original Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon game released over 10 years ago. Does it still hold up? Read on to find out!
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy!
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Release Date: March 20th, 2019
Players: 1-2 Players
Enough time has gone by that by now a whole new generation of gamers has come to pass and even those whole played the original Chocobo’s Dungeon on the Wii may have forgotten most of the salient plot points and the general story.
Luckily, Square Enix in their infinite wisdom, have decided to grace us with a remaster of a fairly fun and enjoyable game from yesteryear. Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! is a remaster of the original with the standard visual upgrades and a few extras for fans to enjoy.
The most notable of changes is the ability to now bring buddies with you in to dungeons, which called for a fairly noticeable overhaul in skills and the like with the game.
As you progress through the game, you’ll collect Buddy Points, which allow you to unlock various monster buddies to fight alongside you. You’ll also gain memory puzzle fragments by helping various key NPCs regain their memories, which allow you to choose them as a buddy for the various dungeons as well.
Beyond that, new classes for Chocobo have been added. As you play through the game, you’ll unlock new classes for Chocobo to change in to, which include favorites like: Knight, Thief, Ninja, White Mage, Black Mage, previously Japanese release only Red Mage and new classes specific for this release of the game.
You won’t necessarily need to use and master all the various classes to make it through the game, but you’ll have a much easier time if you try out the different classes and get a feel for how they all work and the abilities they offer to you.
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! is very much a roguelike, so that means that each dungeon will be slightly different for each player, with different items and reward drops.
Through out the game, the player will come across various NPCs who are desperately trying to remember something and it will be up to Chocobo to enter the locked memories, defeat the boss and help the towns person remember what they forgot.
At other times, certain special dungeons will appear, which will lead to story segments to move forward and unlock new story segments and move the story forward. Fans of the Final Fantasy series will, of course, notice a lot of recurring enemies and iconic summons from previous games.
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! is, for lack of a better description, a more friendly version of the Final Fantasy series, so it is very light hearted and at times less serious than other games in the franchise. How the hell an entire town forgets what fire is is beyond me, but there you go.
Just like any other Final Fantasy game, there will be optional dungeons and bosses to challenge for those that want to take on the biggest and worst that the game has to offer.
There is a 500 level dungeon much later in the game that will fully put you to test and offer up some great rewards. Since the game is a roguelike, some planning, for all missions, will be a bit of a requirement.
If you’re not prepared for each dungeon and plan ahead for many different scenarios, you may find a dungeon run cut short due to lack of items or item space.
The biggest issue with how Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! does this style of game, is that you will find yourself with dungeons unlocked that are much above your current level. You can try these out if you like, but the headache generally isn’t worth it.
Battles are a semi turned based affair. Each time Chocobo takes an action, the enemies on the current floor will also take an action. This means, each time you move, the enemy moves.
If you attack, the enemy is free to attack, move, use a skill and so on. You can abuse this system by attacking a blank space in front of you to have the enemy move closer and then attack them once they’re in attack range.
If you attempt to run away from an enemy, they can chase after you and attack. Each of the different enemy buddies, enemies and Chocobo will have varying different special attacks they can use as well. For Chocobo and buddies, you will see crystals underneath your health and each special attack will use up a set amount of crystal strength.
Crystal strength will regain over time, so you won’t need to worry about running out in the middle of a dungeon, but you can use an ether item to quickly recharge it if need be.
As mentioned earlier, the story in Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! is a much more light hearted style than in the main line series of games. Early on, Chocobo and Cid are on the hunt for a treasure that will allow them to power their airship.
As they near the treasure, another treasure hunter and her own companion chocobo show up and steal it away. Right after, all four are thrown through a portal in to the town of “Lostime”. From there, Chocobo and Cid help the townsfolk regain their memories and set to rights what basically amounts to a curse on the populace.
Be aware though, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! might be a remake, but it is still part of an overarching story franchise. The game makes a few assumptions, like the player knowing who some of the recurring characters are, like this games version of Cid, Irma, Shirma and others.
While little from previous games will make an impact on this game and the players understanding of the storyline, some previous knowledge is assumed.
However, given the way events play out and how backstories are handled, you won’t need to really worry about playing the previous games. It just helps to round out the players understanding.
Graphically, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! is a vast improvement over the original game, with much nicer character models, areas, dungeon layouts, everything really. None of the charm of the original game was lost, instead it is enhanced due to the better resolution and frame rate applied to this game.
I’m not the worlds greatest when it comes to tech specs and the like, but the game did appear to run a lot smoother than what I remember on the Wii.
Really, there isn’t much to say here as far graphics go. The game just looks good and runs smooth. Nothing here will really push any of the systems to the max, but the colors are vibrant and the models look really sharp.
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! might not rewrite the book when it comes to roguelikes or story, but it is a fun excursion in to a side of the Final Fantasy universe we rarely get to see. Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! is a whimsical, mostly light hearted venture with several recurring themes from other Final Fantasy games.
The game does have a few flaws here and there, mostly with item management, skill use, and the story won’t ever become as involved or detailed as the main line Final Fantasy series. But if you’re okay with a much lighter game, by all means, give this remaster of an already very fun game a second look.
While it does not become overly dark or brooding, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! maintains an engaging story while not becoming too full of itself or falling in to corny cliches seen in a lot of other spin off or light games.
For fans of the Final Fantasy series, those looking for a good roguelike or more tactical style game, or just someone looking for a fun romp or a trip down nostalgia lane, Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! comes highly recommended.
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! was reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro using a review copy provided by Square Enix. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.