Chocobo, you all should be familiar with the yellow bird mascot from Final Fantasy, cheery demeanour and its need for speed. Well, it is back in another spin-off game and instead of solving mysterious dungeons, they are tackling the world of racing. Grab your skates and strap in for the world of Chocobo GP.
Chocobo GP isn’t the first foray this little bird has had in the racing genre, back in 1999 there was the PlayStation 1 release of Chocobo Racing.
At the time of its release, Final Fantasy had just seen major success with Final Fantasy VII and VIII but wasn’t quite the Behemoth that it is today, seen as a rather niche and cult classic. ChocoboGP aims to capitalize not only on the success of Final Fantasy but also the Chocobo spin-off games such as the more recently released Chocobo Mystery Dungeon Every Buddy!.
Visually ChocoboGP is a vibrant and colourful title but doesn’t quite push the system to its limits, tracks seem rather stagnant and lack the charm of other titles in the genre.
The voice acting is fantastic and the soundtrack will just keep you bopping on, a massive shout out to the infectious tune that blasts on with every menu screen that lists off the roster most adorably!.
ChocoboGP is an interesting title in there is a “lite” mode that allows you to play with other players online, for free but lacks a lot of the extra content that the full purchase offers.
The full purchase includes extras such as a fully-fledged story mode, more playable characters, various race modes such as traditional tournaments and the ability to create lobbies for online play.
The lite option only grants you the prologue chapter of the story and the ability to play the ChocoboGP mode online with others, this is 64 other players vying for the trophy and the main pull of the game.
The story mode is a cheese-fest involving characters from the previously mentioned “Every Buddy!”There are a few stand out characters from the franchise such as Vivi and Steiner from FFIX, Terra from FFVI and even the mysterious and goofy Gilgamesh.
Alongside them are a bunch of cutesy characters such as Chocobo, a Behemoth called Ben and even the Moogle racing hero himself “Racing Hero X”, it’s a fun story that isn’t to be taken seriously and has some fantastic voice acting.
The controls and gameplay in ChocoboGP should be familiar to anyone who’s ever played any Kart Racer, Mario Kart, Little Big Planet Kart, Bloodborne Kart even Wai Wai Racing (Konami Krazy Karts best GBA launch title!), It isn’t here to reinvent things, only offer you a Final Fantasy flavoured option.
You’ll be boosting, jumping and using various attacks across the 9 different tracks, some original but one of my standouts was cruising around Alexandria from FFIX while an amazing remix of “Melodies of Life ” infected my ear holes.
Each character has a unique skill that builds up over time, examples are Chocobo has a boosted run/skip thing and Terra wages all-out war by firing missiles everywhere. Alongside that, you’ve got the standard attacks such as Fire is your missile and the like, you can stack magic in this title for much stronger attacks though which is fun.
While the game is seemingly aimed at everyone, even on the beginner difficulty you may find yourself having a hard time securing that win, partially due to weird balancing and partially due to how perfect the A. I can be and factor in the ridiculous cool down you have after you’ve been hit by an attack.
There is an in-game shop where you can unlock characters, costumes, music and cosmetics, giving a brilliant incentive to earn the in-game tokens and unlock more content.
Overall it’s a rough but fun spin on the tried and tested Mario Kart genre of games aimed for Final Fantasy fans, it’s not all smooth sailing and this next section is why the score sadly has to cap out at a 3*.
Microtransactions, from the second you boot up the full-priced game you’re given adverts for Season Passes, the option to buy an additional currency to unlock content that isn’t currently available in the game and fast track progress.
I’m not a fan of the process at all and to have it thrown into my face every time I boot the game is something I’d expect from the Free to Play platform and not a full-priced release that is potentially aimed at younger children.
While perfectly playable, the above isn’t the best way of tackling things and somewhat sullied an otherwise brilliant take on the Kart Racing genre. It’s a fantastic time with a charming story and the ChocoboGP mode is brilliantly addictive.
Welcome back Chocobo but next time please leave the additional purchases at home!
A fun albeit slightly greedy kart Racer with that Final Fantasy charm
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