This week marks the release of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, a high-profile spin-off of the beloved RPG franchise. But is it the best Final Fantasy spin-off? If not, what is? Share your choices in the comments.
It is Theatrhythm. Specifically, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is the best Final Fantasy spin-off. Even if a Final Fantasy installment isn’t the best, there’s usually one thing you can count on. That is that the game’s soundtrack will be pretty good. Some incredible compositions came out of the series over the years. The Theatrhythm series combines a massive tracklist with tight and responsive gameplay. There are even some RPG callbacks. It is very good.
As for why Curtain Call specifically is the best Final Fantasy spin-off, it is because it has the biggest collection of songs! There are even tracks from the Mana and SaGa series there! — Jenni
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has remained one of my favorite entries within the series since its release. I absolutely loved the multiplayer aspect of it, when I finally found other people in my area to play with, and the general sense of camaraderie that game afforded. The narrative is also vague enough to allow speculation to the inner workings of the world, and the way individual character quests progressed over the years was so interesting. Especially when over several playthroughs you can actually influence what characters can potentially see it to the finale.
It truly could have been a great HD title, that may have attracted new players to this unique experience. It’s a shame that it didn’t turn out that way. — Kazuma
Oops, someone let Graham talk about a Picross game again!
This one does come with a few caveats, though. For one, it’s not named Picross, but Pictlogica Final Fantasy is one of the few nonogram games developed by the original Picross dev team at Jupiter. (And it uses a lot of the same framework and code.) For another, its availability? Not great. It only released in Japan, and even there it’s largely delisted. Third: I can only vouch for the (stellar) 3DS version of the game. I think stylus play is ideal for the genre and didn’t touch the iOS and Android titles.
Okay, caveats over! Pictlogica Final Fantasy is a very good Picross game. Try it, if you’re able! — Graham
Could it be anything other than Final Fantasy Tactics? Maybe it could, but not for me! Final Fantasy games are well-known for being for being very different from entry to entry, but even today most of its spinoffs trade to varying degrees on the shared history of the series. But for Final Fantasy Tactics, you could hide the title and ditch the chocobos and convince any onlooker at the time that the game was a radically new thing. Even more so if you weren’t in tune to relatively obscure Japanese games, like Final Fantasy Tactics‘s predecessor Tactics Ogre.
This is where I’m happy for Square Enix’s penchant for remaking its old stuff comes into play. The game got even better when it was widely re-released as Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions. The updated localization and presence on more platforms brought the glory of Ivalice far and wide, and made it known that spin-offs can be as good (or even better) than their mainline counterparts. — Josh
If I can add non-game spin-offs into the equation, I’ll mention the Final Fantasy: Unlimited anime because it’s the most memorable Final Fantasy spinoff to me. Nobuo Uematsu was part of the composer team, and he also made the opening song “Over the Fantasy.” The anime also had the appearances of recurring series creatures, such as Chocobo and Moogle.
But I’ll always fondly remember how Kaze thawed his Demon Gun and decided which Soils were suitable to call a Final Fantasy summon in each episode. The summons are still part of my top favorite anime scenes. — Kite