Tag Archives: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call Confirmed, First Details Revealed

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Square-Enix recently hinted about a sequel for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, the rhythm-based 3DS game originally released in summer 2012.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call - 3Now, the first details about the sequel (officially titled Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call) have been revealed:

- Includes all 90 songs from the first game
- Over 200 songs included in the full track list
- Includes tracks from all the numbered Final Fantasy games
- Also includes music from spin-offs such as Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and even Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
- Over 60 characters to choose from
- More than 40 different enemies
- Includes button controls as well as touch screen controls
- Versus Mode, StreetPass functionality confirmed

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call - 1Songs have been confirmed for the following games:

Final Fantasy I – XIV
Final Fantasy X-2
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Dissidia Final Fantasy
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy Type-0
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Source

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Square-Enix Trademarks “Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call”

Could there be an updated version of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy in the making? Square-Enix just trademarked Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call in North America, hinting strongly towards a re-release or additional entry in the music-based title, originally released in 2012.

If there is indeed another Theatrhythm Final FantasyI hope that it consists of something more than all the DLC that was released for the game on the 3DS – although the extent of its DLC was impressive, particularly as the first 3DS game to feature any substantial DLC.

Check back for more as we learn exactly what Curtain Call is all about.

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Blog – Thanks For All The Role-Playing, 3DS

3DStination.com discusses how the role-playing genre has flourished and become one of the stronger points for the Nintendo 3DS; particularly in 2013, where the latest RPGs have arguably established themselves as some of the best 3DS games to date. Continue reading
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Blurb – A Gaggle of Recent 3DS Headlines

I have been away for quite some time, as you can see from the feed on the front page.

Unfortunately, moving into a new apartment and trying to set up the Internet during move-in week in a major college town never leads to good results. Alas, excuses are excuses – and I would like to jump right back into the swing of getting headlines posted and putting up some new reviews.

First things first, here are a few assorted headlines from the past few days – old news to some, but still worth knowing about:

Animal Crossing Jumps Out During First Half of 2013

…and that’s all for now. Nintendo recently Tweeted the slightly-vague “launch window” for the 3DS installment of Animal Crossing, subtitled “Jump Out”. Unfortunately, that “window” spans the entire first half of next year. Japan, on the other hand, gets to check out the latest hoarding/OCD simulator this November.

Latest Brain Age Teasing American Brains in December

It was only a matter of time before the latest Brain Age game was localized for North America, and the confirmation finally came last week. Set for launch on December 3, Dr. Kawashima is back to test the sharpness of the brains of America’s finest with Brain Age: Concentration Training. Once again, the goal is to tone your “working memory” by performing a daily routine of basic brain “exercises”. Hopefully the latest Brain Age will launch at the same budget price point as its DS predecessors.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 Sells a Million in Japan

No surprises here; the latest Mario title recently broke the million mark in Japan. Meanwhile, the worldwide Coin Rush total has already exceeded 50 billion coins, and the 3DS remains the highest-selling console in Japan by more than 50,000 units.

New eShop Downloads – SpeedX 3D, Theatrhythm Demo & More

The latest eShop update brings a few notable downloads; for those of you who haven’t gotten around to playing Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, there is finally a demo version available on the service. Moving on, the latest 3D game is SpeedX 3D, which looks like it should come bundled with a script for amphetamines.

There’s another 3D game, titled, Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D…if you’re into a safari/hunting simulator set in Africa. Finally, the Game Boy Color game Toki Tori was released on the Virtual Console.

Fractured Soul Confirmed for Sept. 13 Launch via eShop

I previously heard about Fractured Soul through various headlines that were based on its developer (Endgame Studios) struggling to decide on the method of release and price point for its side-scrolling 3DS game. The studio was previously considering a two-part release of the dimension-shifting game, but has since decided on a single download, set for launch on September 13. The price has also been set at $11.99, which Endgame admits is half the price it had originally planned.

I do not know a lot about this game, but after watching some footage of Fractured Soul, I think it looks incredible – and the September 13 launch date couldn’t come sooner. Even if it’s one of the most expensive eShop downloads to date, I fully plan on burning the $12 and hoping for the best. Expect a full review in the coming weeks.

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Review – Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy

I have been meaning to publish my review for Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy for quite some time, but the truth is, I’ve spent most of my free time playing this new 3DS spin-off since its release on July 3. If that ruins the “surprise” of my final opinion in this critique, I apologize: as a long-time fan of the Final Fantasy franchise, it’s hard to deny just how powerful the feeling of nostalgia within this spin-off can be.

The Basics:
  • Developed by indies0zero
  • Published by Square-Enix
  • Released on July 3, 2012
  • Rhythm/Music, RPG
  • Price: $39.99 (MSRP), $34.99 (Pre-Owned @ GameStop.com)
The “Recipe”:

The music of Final Fantasy I-XIII + (Elite Beat Agents Rock Band) =
Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy

Design/Concept: (9.0/10)

Although it is obvious that Theatrhythm is a “fan service” that was released in celebration of the series’ 25th anniversary, casual players can still find a lot to enjoy from the rhythm/music side of Theatrhythm, even if they aren’t familiar with the subtle RPG-like mechanics or the endless Final Fantasy references. It’s a very entertaining, accessible, and addictive title that keeps you tapping along to the beat of each classic Nobuo Uematsu song, spanning the entire 13-game franchise. In all, there are more than 40 songs packaged in the box, with even more confirmed to appear in bundles – the 3DS’s first major paid DLC.

Playing the notes is simple enough; most of the tempo notes can be tapped with the stylus, but you have to quickly swipe in certain directions for some of the “emphasized” notes, or hold and slide on the bottom screen to drag out the longer parts. The songs in the game are categorized into three unique “stages”, with each presenting a completely different interface for playing the notes. For example, the Event Music Stages are dynamic, with a free-flowing interface that is based around the tempo of some of the series’ most epic, moving orchestral pieces. To add some extra flash, the developers designed montages that are compiled of scenes from the best moments of each game in the series (see below).

Moving on, the Field Music Stages are based on the smooth, trance-inducing style of the “overworld themes” featured throughout the series; I felt like they were easiest to play, and appropriately relaxing. On the other hand, the Battle Music Stages (pictured above) speed up the tempo and pump out far more notes, reflecting the intense battles from each installment. In addition to being very challenging, these stages seemed to utilize the game’s RPG-style elements to a larger degree than the Field and Event stages.

Basically, you can choose four heroes for your “party”, and each can be leveled up, equipped with skills and abilities, and even use items that are acquired as you play through the game. These aspects of Theatrhythm aren’t as involving as the actual rhythm/music portion, but they spice it up in a way that Final Fantasy fans will nonetheless appreciate.

Presentation: (9.5/10)

The most immediately-noticeable part of Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy is its visual style; as you can see from the screenshots in this article, the game is very colorful and features a “chibi” design for its versions of the series’ characters and enemies. I personally loved the design, and though it probably won’t appeal to all Final Fantasy fans, I thought it made this spin-off stand out among the rest of the games in the franchise.

Of course it’s the music, not the graphics, that are the real star of Theatrhythm: Uematsu’s score from each installment sounds the same as you will remember, from the primitive MIDI tunes in the 8-bit and early 16-bit entries all the way to the complex pieces from the recent games. The sound effects that go along with the note-tapping on the bottom screen really add some emphasis to the unforgettable melodies, particularly the yellow “slide” notes.

Perhaps the only drawback to the beautiful visual design and flashy effects that accompany the gameplay is the distraction that comes from everything on the screen. Keeping in mind that this is a music/rhythm-based game; Theatrhythm generally requires a certain degree of focus just to play the notes well, regardless of your personal familiarity with the music. This makes some of the exciting summon sequences and many of the highly-detailed backgrounds more of a problematic distraction, and not so much a satisfying part of the playing experience. Even the “Critical!” prompts that flash when you hit a perfect note are usually distracting, as the text obscures the playing field (see the image above) and makes it difficult to see the next note in line. I only mention these issues as observations, because ultimately they do not make the game look, sound, or play any worse; they are just factors to remember when playing.

Functionality: (7.5/10)

Theatrhythm’s only other minor issues come up when you think about its use of the 3DS’s various capabilities and features. It is a mixed bag, but even with the following comments considered, functions like StreetPass and even the 3D effect have a minor impact on the playing experience.

  • The 3D effect actually looks great, and goes a long way to bring out the detail found within the backgrounds. Unfortunately, it also ends up being a distraction a large portion of the time. This is particularly an issue during the Event Music Stages, which include all of the CG scenes and video clips from each FF title. These really add some flash and take you back to some exciting moments in the series, but ultimately the depth effect makes it pretty difficult to see the notes as they appear on the screen.
  • There is a multiplayer option, but only for the “Dark Notes” found within the “Chaos Shrine” mode. I’ll discuss those below; for now, I would like to express how disappointed I am that Theatrhythm does not utilize any kind of online play, leaderboards, etc. The only multiplayer is local, and Download Play isn’t supported. Ouch.
  • The gameplay is solid all-around, but I had some issues with my hands cramping if I played for longer periods of time. In fact, I was glad I kept the plastic stand that came with my copy of Kid Icarus: Uprising – resting the 3DS on the stand made it much easier to play the game comfortably.
Replay Value: (9.0/10)

There are three modes of play, starting with “Series Mode”. In this mode, you play through each installment of Final Fantasy, unlocking each track for “Challenge Mode” after finishing each game. This mode only takes a few hours to tap through, but it really only begins to scratch the surface of the content offered in Theatrhythm.

As I mentioned before, there is a Challenge Mode that includes the basic version of each song, as well as “Expert” and “Ultimate” tracks. Completing all of the tracks for each game on Expert/Ultimate unlocks the tougher versions in Series Mode, so you can even go back to play through again on harder settings. Finally, the “Chaos Shrine” contains all of your Dark Notes; 99 of these unique song pairings can be found and completed to unlock rare items. The Dark Notes are generally tougher and play differently than the versions found in Challenge and Series mode, and because the songs in each pair can be chosen from any FF title, it is difficult to anticipate the tracks that you will be forced to play.

Theatrhythm is definitely best in “small doses”, but it takes plenty of time to make a dent in its vast amount of extras and unlockable content. For perspective purposes, I spent more than a dozen hours playing the game, and only unlocked roughly a third of the goodies found in the “Museum”. These include video clips from each Final Fantasy title, viewable in the “Theater”; additional music tracks from the series, playable in the “Music Player”; 70+ collectible cards called “Collectacards”, and 64 “Trophies” that act as Achievements, charting your milestones as you play through the game. Finally, you earn stars for total use stats, time played, completion, and countless random factors – Square-Enix ranks and grades you for everything, so perfectionists could possibly spent as much time collecting everything on this 3DS game as a full-fledged Final Fantasy installment.

I only have two final, tiny “notes”:

  1. Why is the “boss fight” system in the Chaos Shrine so ridiculously complicated? Collecting all of the rare items from each of the three possible bosses found in every Dark Note could take an obscene amount of effort, simply because the process of fighting each boss isn’t explained very clearly.
  2. The Collectacards are cool, and unlocking Holofoil/Platinum versions of each is even cooler, but the coolest option would have been to use them in a new “Tetra Master” game, similar to the ones found in Final Fantasy VIII & IX. This isn’t really a “flaw”, but having a sweet card game to play against friends could have been a great option for additional multiplayer content.

Recommendation: Buy It

All of these things considered, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy is ultimately the best way for any dedicated fan of the franchise to celebrate its 25th anniversary. With two and a half decades of Nobuo Uematsu’s fantastic compositions, a vast roster of classic characters and villains, a surprising amount of content, and gameplay that is both addictive and accessible, this one really comes as a surprise – it’s the best Final Fantasy spin-off that I have ever played, and gave me the urge to play one of the classic games on multiple occasions.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BaUg3MoXX0&w=466&h=262]

Unfortunately, those who normally wouldn’t find themselves gushing over the first sight of a chocobo or moogle in a new Final Fantasy game probably wouldn’t be entirely thrilled about Theatrhythm. Even as a solid rhythm/music title, you may want to skip it – all of the series’ references won’t have an impact if you haven’t experienced a good portion of them before tapping through all the songs.

Final Score: 9.0/10

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy - DLC

Square-Enix Reveals First Paid DLC on 3DS for Theatrhythm

Square-Enix finally followed through with its plans to announce the very first paid DLC to date on the Nintendo 3DS – additional tracks for Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy – and it seems that maybe they simply wanted to wait until the North American launch. Fortunately, that day was today, and Square-Enix wasted almost no time in revealing a batch of add-on songs from a handful of classic Final Fantasy titles.

If you need to know more about Theatrhythm, check out the launch article that was posted earlier today, or the July 2012 preview based on the trio of Square-Enix games coming to the 3DS. Otherwise, here are the songs that you can expect to see in the shop, accessible from the game’s main menu:

  • “Battle Theme 1” (FINAL FANTASY II)
  • “The Final Battle” (FINAL FANTASY IV)
  • “In Search of Light” (FINAL FANTASY V)
  • “Cosmo Canyon” (FINAL FANTASY VII)
  • “Ride On” (FINAL FANTASY VIII)
  • “A Fleeting Dream” (FINAL FANTASY X)
  • “Fighters of the Crystal” (FINAL FANTASY XI)
  • “Fighting Fate” (FINAL FANTASY XIII)

Each of the new tracks will cost $0.99, and Square-Enix plans to release rougly 50 new tracks over the next year or so, in addition to the 40 that already come with the game.

Not bad, eh? Theatrhythm might be even more ambitious than I previously thought; not only is it the first 3DS game with paid DLC on the eShop, it’s also one of the first with periodic DLC updates planned for the future. Check back for more updates in the future, and look for my full review of Theatrhythm over the next few weeks.

(via NintendoWorldReport.com)

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Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy Shipping Today in North America

It’s finally July, and if you have been following the 3DS news lately, you know what that means: Square-Enix has three big games headed to North America this month. The first of those three titles is Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, a spin-off of the popular RPG series that combines rhythm-based gameplay, familiar RPG concepts, and the classic music from each numbered entry of the popular franchise. It is a proper celebration of the Final Fantasy series’ 25th Anniversary – or is it?

Reviews have started appearing online for the game, and the scores seem to occupy a pretty wide range on the standard 1-10 scale. For your convenience, I’ve provided links to some of them, and even quotes from the reviews.

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy – Reviews & Scores From the Internet

9.0 from GameZone:
“This 25th Anniversary celebration of Final Fantasy should be treasured amongst fans of the series, but even beyond that. It’s a complete package of nostalgia, fun gameplay, charming visuals, and breathtaking compositions that equally make up what Final Fantasy is all about.
8.0 from Joystiq:
“If you’re looking to catch up on any of the stories, or learn more about the characters, you’re better off looking elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you want to see your party issue a hilarious, randomly-generated battle cry like “At last, we tremble mythically for an idiot!” before you’re treated to “Mambo de Chocobo,” this is the only place to look.”
7.0 from Destructoid:
“At the end of the day…unlocking that track from Final Fantasy IX that you just hoped would be there is a special kind of fun that fans will live for. It’s just a shame that such fun is not consistent and frequent enough to truly make this the memorable experience it deserves to be.”

Here’s the E3 2012 trailer:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhqOptNDwIk&w=466&h=262]

What do you think? Are you going to pick up a copy of Theatrhythm this week? Share your thoughts about this Final Fantasy spin-off in the comments section below, and stay tuned for my full review of the game.

Looking Ahead - July 2012

Looking Ahead @ July 2012 – From Square-Enix, With Love

Editor’s Note: Just before the start of each month, I will “look ahead” at the upcoming games that are slated for release; then, taking into account the general level of anticipation and the “buzz” within the media, I will select a handful of titles (two to four) that could be worth checking out when launch day finally comes around. Every month, this column will pinpoint the “cream of the crop”, so to speak – just keep your eyes peeled for the games mentioned here!

June is finally coming to an end, and July is on the horizon. This month was full of excitement, with the gaming industry focused on arguably its single biggest “event” of the year: the annual Electronics Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California. All the headlines and buzz that was generated at the conference was great to experience, but as always, the wake of E3 has slowly settled – and July is starting to look better and better.

In fact, where June was fantastic for all the announcements and reading about upcoming games, July actually seems like the time to purchase some of them. This is especially true if you happen to enjoy RPGs; more specifically, if you are a fan of Square-Enix games. The “house that built Final Fantasy” is publishing not one, not two, but three high-profile games for the 3DS – all of which are slated for launch in North America during the month of July.

The first is a Final Fantasy spin-off called Theatrhythm. The second, a dungeon-crawler reminiscent of Diablo – the ambitious Heroes of Ruin, developed by n-Space. Finally, at the very end of the month comes the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance. There is no question that all three of these Square-Enix games are dramatically different, though one factor is common among them – each game seems to be “breaking ground” and doing something very innovative with the 3DS hardware.

It would be foolish to ignore the “8-Bit Summer” promotion that Nintendo will also kick off at the beginning of July, but I’ve already discussed the weekly downloads in an article that was posted a few days ago. For now, I’d like to take a look at some of these newer 3DS games, all of which I happen to be pretty excited about – and have been for most of 2012. Without further adieu, let’s glance at this trio of Square-Enix titles:

  • Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy (July 3)

What is it? Square-Enix is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Final Fantasy franchise with this 3DS title; in addition to being a clever, rhythm-based RPG, Theatrhythm features a compilation of music, characters, and scenes that have been taken from all thirteen major Final Fantasy games.

Why should you care? I have been following this one closely for quite some time, actually – I was initially pretty skeptical, but I’ve warmed up to the concept of Theatrhythm over the last few months. It’s an unusual concept for a Final Fantasy spin-off, certainly – but I think this will ultimately satisfy even some of the most hardcore fanboys of the Square-Enix series. Never mind the nostalgia; Theatrhythm really seems like something “different”, despite hosting so many different familiar faces and instantly-recognizable orchestral compositions. I’m not sure how the actual “RPG” part of the game is designed, but it appears that you can lose HP and fall behind in battle if you don’t maintain the correct timing and rhythm. If you’re really keeping score, this will be one of the first 3DS games in North America to feature priced DLC through the Nintendo eShop…if not the very first. I would like to know more about the basics of the game before I worry about extra content, but I am already curious to see how Square-Enix plans to extend the life of Theatrhythm through DLC updates.

Why should you wait? First, Theatrhythm looks a lot like the NDS game Elite Beat Agents. This may sound like a large compliment, considering that EBA generated some very respectable review scores when it debuted a few years ago. Unfortunately, it seems that this FF spin-off is based on timing-based, stylus-tapping mechanics – rather than the precision-based motions, placement, and swipes seen in Elite Beat Agents. The result could hold back the game from proper “greatness”, and my only fear is that there will be a lack of depth, even with the vast roster of characters from the classic Final Fantasy games. Unfortunately, though there were demo versions planned and scheduled for two of the three Square-Enix games coming out in July, Theatrhythm is the odd one out – and we will have to wait until it ships on July 3 to know if it’s properly tuned. On the plus side, that is only 10 days away from when this article was originally written.

  • Heroes of Ruin (July 17)

What is it? This action/RPG, developed by n-Space, is based on dungeon-crawling, item looting, and leveling up by means of hack-and-slash combat. As a result, Heroes of Ruin almost immediately ttracts comparisons to the Diablo series. The difference is that the 3DS is a portable platform, and you can’t really pack up a high-end gaming rig to enjoy Diablo III when you’re on-the-go.

Why should you care? Being completely realistic, Heroes of Ruin will be nothing like Diablo III, and it would be foolish to expect otherwise. Speaking about the gameplay, Diablo has always been a mouse-clicking marathon. Though Heroes of Ruin will definitely test your ability to mash the attack buttons on the 3DS, it looks to offer some variety in the form of four unique character classes. Players can choose between the Savage, Vindicator, Alchitect, and Gunslinger; characters can be fully customized and equipped with special combat abilities, weapons, armor, and more. Heroes of Ruin actually boasts thousands of various items – some can be found by looting the randomly-generated dungeons, but more can be discovered when players take advantage of the game’s StreetPass capabilities. Basically, to summarize this component – which Square-Enix seems to adore – players can purchase the items that have been sold by others through the “Trader’s Network”. Of course, it works both ways: items you’ve gotten rid of will appear for other players to acquire. The game shipped in Europe recently, and the reviews seem to be averaged out at the 8/10 range – roughly what I anticipated.

Why should you wait? Though all the signs seem to point toward “Great” for Heroes of Ruin, I am nervous that there will not be enough support (locally-speaking) for the majority of American gamers to get the full extent out of the StreetPass capabilities and the wireless, local multiplayer component. On the other hand, the WiFi multiplayer should hold up very well, that is as long as the “instant drop” and “instant quit” rules actually work as well for the co-op experience as Square-Enix claims. Enemies will be leveled fairly so that all active players have a chance to put up a fight, but this could become tiresome for experienced players who just want to dive deeper and deeper into the endless selection of items. We will find out for sure when Heroes of Ruin comes out July 17, but in the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the demo version that was promised on the eShop.

  • Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (July 31)

What is it? This is the next installment in the popular Kingdom Hearts franchise, and the first on the 3DS – Dream Drop Distance puts you in control of Sora and Riku, two of the main characters throughout the series. It introduces plenty of new Square-Enix & Disney characters as well as stages based on the worlds they’re from – most of them are completely new, such as the stage based on Tron and the cameo appearances from the The World Ends With You characters. Finally, the gameplay is based around the real-time action/RPG combat and platforming sequences seen in past Kingdom Hearts titles, but features a new “FlowMotion” concept that makes the entire system feel and look much, much better.

Why should you care? Kingdom Hearts 3D will be one of the top 3DS games of the entire year, no doubt – that’s why you should care about it. The best way to decide? Download the eShop demo for yourself and give it a shot. Additionally, I’ve written up a “demo impressions” article about the trial version, so check that out (when it’s posted shortly) if you’d like further debate material.

Why should you wait? There really isn’t much of a reason to skip out on Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, unless of course you have no interest in the KH series. This 3DS installment could be among the quality of “system-seller” titles like Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Resident Evil: Revelations.

In case those weren’t enough for you, here are the rest of the games confirmed for next month:

Other July releases:

  • Myst (TBA)
    Rhythm Thief & The Emperor’s Treasure (7/10)

    eShop/Virtual Console - Legend of Zelda (7/5)
    eShop/Virtual Console - Kirby’s Pinball Land (7/12)
    eShop/Virtual Console - The Sword of Hope II (7/12)
    eShop/Virtual Console - Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters (7/19)
    eShop/Virtual Console - Tumblepop (7/19)
    eShop/Virtual Console - Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (7/26)
    eShop/Virtual Console – Sonic Blast (TBA)
    eShop/Virtual Console – Sonic Labyrinth (TBA) 
What will you be picking up for your 3DS this month? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts about the trio of Square-Enix titles, or any of the other July releases mentioned in this article.