Review: Final Fantasy: My Life As A Darklord
Yet another excuse to get your Tonberry on.
My Life as a Darklord is a fairly straightforward tower defence game from the Crystal Chronicles series which all started back on the Gamecube. The Crystal Chronicle series now consists of five different games: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, FFCC: Ring of Fates for the DS, FFCC: Echoes of Time for the Wii and DS, FFCC: My Life as a King and FFCC: My Life as a Darklord both released via Nintendo’s Wiiware online service. There’s also the upcoming sequel FFCC: The Crystal Bearers for the Wii.
My Life as a Darklord is also a tower defence game with a twist. Rather than fighting off hordes of bad guys, you play the role of Mira, daughter of the Dark Lord from My Life as a King. Your objective is to fend off would be adventurers as they try to climb your dark tower, which contains the crystallised essence of your father at the very top. If even one hero manages to reach the top, it’s game over for you as the destruction of the crystal means the end of the entire dark kingdom, itself.
In order to stall and ultimately destroy your enemies, you have to continually build up your tower with floor after floor of fiendish monsters and odd traps. You have access to a small selection of monsters and traps, so strategy is vital. Your creatures consist of a selection of strength, range, magic and speed based monsters at your beck and call which you can spend resources on, to defend your tower in the most epically intense game of rock, paper, scissors you’ll probably ever play. You can also place traps on each floor that range from somewhat standard poison arrow to alarmingly odd evil puppet shows.
All of these resources take damage from heroes, and if they manage to wipe out every enemy, they’ll take out that floor along with it, forcing you to rebuild in order to stay alive. Each victory you achieve will earn you points which you can spend levelling your creatures, in order to make them more competent and ensure your survival. You can also increase the floor cap of your tower, making it possible to build it much higher, and hit the enemy with even more resistance. Heroes will also level up as well, bringing waves of harder, stronger and faster enemies to your door as well as the occasional boss fight against incredibly strong opponents who’ll require an epic beating, before they go down.
This all adds up to a pretty damn fun game, in the end. For one thousand Nintendo points there’s plenty of obvious replay value here as tower defence games will usually provide a fun distraction from whatever your doing, and My Life as a Darklord certainly delivers in bucket loads with cheerful music, cute animation and surprisingly intense gameplay as you struggle to keep away the hordes of would be heroes in an almighty balan
You know it may just be the trying-to-hard-to-be-quirky writing or maybe it’s the lack of proper Vivi style black mages but this game feels more like a Disgaea spin-off that an entry into the Final Fantasy cannon. More importantly though is it any good? As we’re not exactly lacking for tower defence games lately with dozens of free to play (or nearly free if you get NextWar on XBLA, plug-plug) TD games on PCs and consoles. Well it makes a great first impression with the slick visuals and nice music you’d expect of a Square-Enix game but play for more than a few hours and you’ll soon start to tire of it.
The biggest problem I have is just how stingy the game is with giving you new units, equipment and room types to play with. I understand that you can’t give players everything all at once but the rate at which it drip feeds you extras is bordering on sadistic given the first few hours of play filled with the same basic Goblin soldiers you’re forced to utilise. Things do improve slowly but by the time I was using magic units and equipping support items I’d lost interest and not even seeing Tonberrys or Cactuars could temp be back to this slick yet shallow TD clone.
Secondary Score: 6/10
More importantly though, My Life as a Darklord actually delivers one important gameplay element usually unheard of in tower defence games, and that’s an actual plot. I mean don’t get me wrong hereâ€¦ there aren’t any deep meaningful moments in the story that are going to change your life or stay with you forever, but for a game that costs one thousand points there’s a lot of effort contained within.
I’d highly recommend this to those of you looking for a fun distraction and for the FF obsessive’s out there who may be having trouble at this point trying to keep up with the crystal chronicles series.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the DLC for thisâ€¦ at the point of typing this there is currently already a heap of downloadable content, including costumes with addition abilities, extra items, new monsters and extra floors for your tower. If Square Enix can make a consistent effort to release interesting content for this game, then there’s no telling how much time you may spend playing this great little game.
To Summarize: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord is an excellent wiiware title with plenty of replayability and a lot of potential for enhancement via DLC. Great fun to play and watch and great value for a game that costs less than a tenner.