As PocketStations were never released outside of Japan, international PlayStation owners could not play this game, but its connection to the main game was still programmed into every localization of Final Fantasy VIII, so it is possible to play the game by buying a PocketStation from Japan. Chocobo World was ported and included in the PC version of Final Fantasy VIII, including the 2013 re-release, where Chocobo World is playable directly from the launcher after booting up Final Fantasy VIII.
Chocobo World comprises of black and white pixel graphics. The game can be played exclusively, but is intended as a minigame to Final Fantasy VIII. To play in conjunction, the player must find Boko in the world of Final Fantasy VIII. This accomplished, the player is permanently given a user interface for communicating between the two virtual worlds where the player may send Boko into Chocobo World to gain experience and collect items, which are transferred to Final Fantasy VIII.
The game uses directional keys to move Boko north (), and south () respectively. Another button on the PocketStation opens the menu screen, while the PC version uses the CTRL button.
Boko perpetually wanders around a nondescript landscape in search of "events" to interact with, such as enemy battles, friendly encounters with Moomba and Cactuar, and "special" events. Depending on how the player sets the "Move" option, Boko may break from his path to navigate to the nearest event perpendicular to his direction of travel. Players can turn off the "Event Wait" option, eliminating the need for player input to advance, although choosing this option prevents Boko from encountering special events. At any time, players can intervene and halt Boko's movement in favor of manually controlling him.
Events are shown on the map as black dots, while Boko's location is represented by a flickering black dot. When an event is cleared, it vanishes from the map, only to be replaced by another in a random location. When Boko gains a level of experience through battling enemies, the map resets and randomly redistributes events across the world.
Battles are the most common event the player encounters. Once engaged in battle, the player's only option is to fight until either the enemy or Boko is defeated. Combatant health is represented by numerical hit points (HP) displayed on the far sides of the playing screen; whose count of hit points reaches zero first loses the battle. Combat relies on a variant of the Active Time Battle (ATB) system featured in Final Fantasy VIII.
Boko and his opponent each have a time counter; the first combatant's counter to reach zero is allowed to attack, upon which both time counters reset and the process repeats itself. By alternately pressing the left and right buttons, players can speed up Boko's time counter, reducing the time required for him to attack. Upon winning a battle, Boko receives a magic stone which is randomly placed on a tic-tac-toe-style board. If three stones line up in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row, Boko gains a level of experience, which increases his hit point count in Chocobo World and his strength in Final Fantasy VIII. If Boko is leveled up to level 100 in the Steam version, the player earns the trophy Top Level Boko.
If the player finds MiniMog within Chocobo World, he will assist Boko in battle as a last resort, i.e., if Boko himself is defeated, Mog will attack the enemy with an attack similar to the Limit Break in Final Fantasy games. If Mog's attack fails to defeat the enemy, he leaves his partner and Boko loses the battle. After losing any battle, Boko must rest to restore his hit points, but the player is allowed to continue the game without penalty.
In some events, Boko is approached by Moomba, who gives his friend a weapon. A weapon is a series of four numbers that determines Boko's attacking power. During battle, the computer randomly chooses one of the four digits on the weapon number to determine the damage Boko inflicts, or, the number his attack subtracts from the enemy's hit point count. If, for example, the weapon is 8531, then Boko's damage dealt to the enemy will be randomly chosen from the digits "8", "5", "3", and "1".
The following enemies are fought:
Players can have their chicobos battle each other using the PocketStation's optical communication function.
Another event in Chocobo World involves Cactuar finding items for Boko. Cactuar appears on the event screen and gives Boko one of four items, labeled A, B, C, and D. Although these items are useless in Chocobo World, they can be imported to the world of Final Fantasy VIII to be accessed in the player's item inventory. Depending on the player's rank, the probability of Cactuar finding D rank items is greatest, but they are among the most common items in Final Fantasy VIII (e.g. basic status recovery items). Conversely, the probability of Cactuar finding A rank items is lowest, but they are very rare items.
It is possible to exploit the game and duplicate items, although this is done much more easily in the PC-version.
On the World Map, accessible in the menu screen, there are black dots strewn around, representing Events.
These events include:
|Battle||Boko faces off against an enemy, which is (in order from weakest to strongest) either a Creeps, a Red Bat, a Blobra, or a Wendigo. When Boko wins, a stone is placed in a 3x3 grid. When three stones are placed in a row, Boko levels up. If Boko's HP is depleted to 0, he will automatically sleep to replenish his HP unless MiniMog is in his party and set to STANDBY, in which case MiniMog will attempt to deal a final blow to the enemy. If MiniMog's attack doesn't defeat the enemy, MiniMog leaves Boko's party and Boko loses the battle.|
|Meet Moomba||Moomba offers weapons that modify Boko's attack damage. The player can either take the weapon Moomba offers and replace Boko's old weapon, or reject Moomba's weapon and keep Boko's current weapon.|
|Meet Cactuar||Cactuar gives a random item, categorized, from best to worst, as A, B, C, or D. These can be transferred to Final Fantasy VIII as usable items. A-rank items are sometimes Chocobo World-exclusive items, such as Mog's Amulet, which teaches the MiniMog command to a Guardian Force, and Friendship, which summons the Moomba Guardian Force in battle.|
|Meet Koko||A female chicobo is encountered after Boko reaches Level 20. At level 50, Boko will find her again, and if the "Event Wait" option is set to ON, Boko will save Koko from a pit, which gives him a Star and ranks up his ChocoFire attack to ChocoFlare in Final Fantasy VIII when he is summoned using Gysahl Greens. If Event Wait is set to OFF, Boko will fail to save Koko, and she will never be encountered again, and the player can never upgrade Boko's ChocoFire. The player must entirely restart Chocobo World in order to face its final boss or to power up Boko's summon attack. After the level 50 encounter, Koko can be encountered randomly with approximately a 0.7% chance. She will give Boko a kiss in these random encounters. The first random kiss upgrades ChocoFlare to ChocoMeteor, and the second random kiss turns Boko's summon attack into ChocoBuckle.|
|Meet MiniMog||In random events after level 10, Boko may encounter MiniMog. MiniMog offers to help Boko in battles or simply SLEEP, which prevents MiniMog from ever leaving the party. If MiniMog is set to STANDBY, he will attempt to save Boko when Boko's HP reaches 0 in battle. If MiniMog fails to defeat the enemy, he will leave the party. The chance of reencountering MiniMog after his departure is much higher than the chance of the initial meeting. MiniMog may also appear randomly on extremely rare occasions to give stones for Boko to level up.|
|Meet Demon King||The final event when Boko reaches Level 100 is that the Demon King will kidnap Koko and Boko must rescue her. This event does not end the game, however. The player may still continue to play after beating the Demon King. However, while Koko is captured, Boko cannot receive any random kisses from her, preventing his summon attack from leveling up.|
|Other events||If Boko is walking (not dashing), he will often automatically rest to replenish his HP by doing things like watching TV, sleeping, fishing, or playing with Moomba.|
Boko, MiniMog, Moomba, and Cactuar are friends with each other. One day, MiniMog decided to find a treasure in Scary Mountain, and left for it alone. When MiniMog failed to return, the three friends decided to rescue MiniMog. As Boko led the quest, Moomba went out to search for weapons while Cactuar searched for items. During their quest Boko saves MiniMog and meets a female chicobo called Koko, who gives him a kiss. Koko is kidnapped by the evil Demon King whom Boko must defeat to save his girlfriend.
Despite being made for Final Fantasy VIII, Chocobo World uses music from Final Fantasy VII. Its battle theme is taken from the intro of "Hurry Up!" while the victory fanfare is a snippet of the game's "Fanfare".