by Allan Curtis
November 21, 2010
OverviewIn real life some choice words can avoid many a conflict, and the pen is regarded as mightier than the sword. In Voice Fantasy your voice is a weapon, used to summon mighty warriors to fight for you. Despite the word "Fantasy" in its title, Voice Fantasy has nothing in common with the RPG series of a similar name. NOTE: The game game requires a microphone, so only works on iPhones and the 4th gen iPod Touch. Only if you use an external mic can you play this on an older touch.
FeaturesVoice Fantasy features an interesting system, where you use your voice or other sounds to create warriors to fight with. It however lacks any sort of dedicated single player mode. Once you're created your character, you can try out one of three modes, tag mode, solo mode and "Demon King". Solo Mode is just one summoned character against another, one on one, while Tag Mode is 2 vs 2.
The GoodIn Voice Fantasy you create fighters using the sound of your voice. You record whatever you like and the game generates a character based on the characteristics of your sound, it's quietness, loudness, pitch and other factors. The type of character you will get can be very different depending on the sound. If you speak loudly for instance, you'll usually get physical types like non human monster characters or Monks; strong melee fighters. Lower sounds tend to give more passive types, like healers and quiet sounds give offensive mages. Middling sounds can produce Dragon Knights or Warriors. Any sound can be used, not just voices and the game features a graphic that shows you where on the scale the sound reached, so you can experiment with lower or higher sounds to get different types of characters. Indeed this is the main draw of Voice Fantasy. Its fun trying out lots of different sounds from your voice, to music, to sounds from other games to see what you'll end up with. It also lets you and a friend make your fighters with the sound of your voice and fight each other with them. This sort of mass appeal and encouragement to try the game with others makes it perfect for parties or hanging out with friends. The game looks and sounds quite good. The graphics feature retro style digitized sprites, very reminiscent of early 16-bit Final Fantasy games. They animate well in battles and are quite cute. The game has pretty average music, none of which is from Final Fantasy. Battles are fun to listen to as your character repeats the sample used to summon them when they attack, critical hits cause an echoing sample and dying produces a slower echoed one. This is pretty fun to listen to in tag matches, as you hear names and other sounds thrown around randomly as the two teams fight. Tag Mode is more fun, as it lets you use a healer and a warrior or mage as well as another character and formulate a bit of strategy. Solo mode tends to be very one sided; unless you pick a warrior type vs another fighter type. Healers, for obvious reasons, get clobbered. Demon King is a sort of mini quest, where you fight a few monsters and then face off against the powerful Demon King, a strong monster with multiple forms. It hardly counts as a single player mode, as its very short and of course you have no control over it.
The BadThis is where Voice Fantasy will turn a lot of people off. You have no control over the battles, they are completely automated, and you are simply relegated to watching your charters act at random. There is literally zero gameplay in this game, in other words you do not play it at all. All you do is decide who fights and then watch it play out. There is no overworld, no leveling up, no towns and none of the other things you'd expect to find in a Final Fantasy game. You just make fighters and watch them automatically fight. It's a wonder how this is actually meant to entertain anyone for more than about a half an hour since the game is crushingly repetitive and lacks any replay value whatsoever. To add insult to injury, the AI also does a very poor job of managing your characters in battle. Healers repeatedly use spells that lower enemy stats, such as attack strength over and over, even when the enemy is already affected by them, making subsequent spells useless and a waste of turns that could be spent doing something useful. They routinely ignore your party's health levels, instead deciding to use more useless buff spells or attack, rather than healing themselves or their ally which can be very annoying. There is even a beeping alarm when one of your character has critically low health, but all you can hope for is your healer will be smart enough to actually heal himself or his ally, rather than attacking. It's unclear what affects your characters action in combat, as it seems to be random and the player has no interaction with the game after combat begins, except to change the game's speed. Voice Fantasy would also benefit greatly if it had a single player mode where you could advance though a plot with your characters, like a traditional Final Fantasy game. Unfortunately Voice Fantasy lacks this and you can only duel your characters in the auto battles or attempt the Demon King mode, which isn't very fun, since again, you have no control over if you win or lose, except for luck. You also cannot level your fighters up so there is no reason to use anyone but the highest level ones. The game's name is also very misleading and seems to be a marketing choice to attract fans of the wildly popular Final Fantasy series. The game has nothing to do with Final Fantasy. The classes you can create do not even have Final Fantasy names or looks, so don't expect Black Mages or Dragon Knights here, just generic wizards and warriors. The game's music is also not from Final Fantasy. Nor are the spells you use, or any of the monster characters or names, about the only thing that feels like Final Fantasy is the game's sprite based graphics. Its very obvious "Fantasy" was just tacked on to sell more units. Why Square Enix decided to not use the incredibly rich history of Final Fantasy for its characters is anyone's guess. The game also features a woefully inadequate tutorial. it doesn't even try to explain what affects AI action choice, hints for how to create a certain character or much of anything, besides the very basic way to summon new fighters. While part of the fun of a game like this is finding out how to create new characters and how to discover new types it would be easier to creature fighters you want if the tutorial provided a bit of direction.
The VerdictVoice Fantasy is a fatally flawed game with a good idea and nothing else. It will undoubtedly be a fun game to mess around with for an hour and see what you can create, but it seems Square-Enix forgot to make a game to go with their idea. They have created the shell and the base for a great imaginative game, but forgot to make a world for you to use this idea in. Its reduced to a gimmick, due to the complete lack of interesting gameplay. The fact the game is not in anyway related to Final Fantasy except by name makes it rather obvious Square Enix marketed this app as a gimmick. In short don't bother with this hollow game which actually lacks a game. Take a look at Song Summoner: Encore for a vastly superior sound based game, where you create characters with your music and advance though a full blown single player story.
SONG SUMMONER: The Unsung Heroes – Encore
SQUARE ENIX Co., LTD.