Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon EVERY BUDDY! is a remastered port brought to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch with some enhanced visuals, improved game play mechanics as well as quality-of-life changes. It is part of the Final Fantasy Fables series that featured spin-off games based on characters from the Final Fantasy IP. It can be played either single player, or with a second controller on the same system. There is no online multiplayer functionality at this time.
A return to the Dungeons
The Story begins with Cid, and his partner Chocobo, seeking out lost treasure in the Tower of Sands. As the two make fearless adventurers delve into the tower, they come face to face with Irma and Volg, the longtime antagonists of the Mystery Dungeon Series. After a short encounter, our heroes find themselves being sucked into a mysterious vortex which deposits them in the small village of Lostime. At the center of Lostime is a large clock tower. Inside of which is a magic bell that destroys the memory of those that hear it ring.
Chocobo promptly learns he is able to journey into the lost memories of the citizens of the town. While there, he complete dungeons in order to restore the lost memories. Completing these dungeons not only advances the storyline but opens up many features of the game. Shop keepers, fishing, and the majority of the different class options available to Chocobo are unlocked this way. No dungeon feels exactly the same, due to each being procedurally generated on entry.
What’s Old is New
Veterans of the series will find game play familiar and smooth, while newcomers should have no problems learning the ropes. An abundance of tool tips are available, as well as a very simple control scheme. Chocobo can choose from 12 different classes, assuming they have been unlocked, when entering each dungeon. Every dungeon uses a grid pattern for movement and combat. Each creature in the dungeon takes one action, whether it is moving, attacking, or using an ability, every time that Chocobo takes an action. Some dungeons will have special restrictions in place, such as not being able to bring a buddy, permanent status ailments or level caps, that keep them fresh and challenging.
Local multiplayer allows you to be accompanied by a player two. There are also dozens of buddies that can be unlocked to accompany Chocobo on his delves into the infinite dungeons that await. Buddies are unlocked in one of two ways. Organically, as you proceed through the game, the main characters will become available to join you. The other way to unlock buddies is by defeating enemies in each dungeon and picking up Buddy Points. As you accrue Buddy Points, you will unlock each enemy and their variations to accompany you. This is one of my favorite features because every enemy in the game is unlockable as a buddy, including each boss creature.
Dragoons, Knights, and Ninjas! Oh My!
Chocobo’s level determines his stats, which are further modified by the class used for each dungeon. Longtime fans of the Final Fantasy IP will recognize most of these classes and the abilities that come along with them. Freelancer, Knight, Black Mage, White Mage, Red Mage, Thief, Scholar, Ninja, Dancer, Beast master, Machinist, Dragoon and Dark Knight are all available to be unlocked and used by Chocobo.
Chocobo is able to utilize three forms of equipment on his journey. Collars, which typically grant beneficial status buffs, or protect from negative status ailments. Saddles, which determine defense and damage reduction. As well as Talons, which determines damage output. While collars are not able to be modified, Saddles and Talons can be upgraded to perform better, as well as “branded” to provide them with special abilities.
A Dungeon Crawler suitable for all ages
Beyond diving into dungeons, there are a few other activities to enjoy. There is a simple fishing mini-game that can serve as an easy source of Gil (in-game currency) or consumables. You can also plant seeds that bloom once you have completed ten floors of a dungeon after being planted. These can then be harvested for rare and useful items. Simply wandering around the town will often lead to surprising interactions with other characters or objects.
The game offers a light-hearted aesthetic that is nostalgic for those coming back and endearing to newcomers to the series. The soundtrack to the game features themes that any longtime fan will instantly recognize, but with enough modernization to not feel out of place. The visuals in the game maintain a consistency that old hands will appreciate without appearing too cartoonish. The first-rate voice acting and a well-written story ensures that this is a game that you can spend dozens of hours on and keep coming back for more.
Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! left me nostalgic and hungry to pick the controller back up and dive back in. After 40 hours, there is still much more I want to do, and many more dungeons to explore. My only disappointment in this title was the lack of online multiplayer support. Otherwise, I found very little to be unhappy with. Overall, this game is a solid four out of five. I would recommend any fan of the Final Fantasy IP, or roguelike dungeon crawlers pick this up. The game is available on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The play through for this review was completed on PlayStation 4.