Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival is an arcade rhythm video game and the successor to the Theatrhythm series of rhythm games that were originally released on the Nintendo 3DS. The game features revamped arcade controls, improved graphics, cooperative play, and songs and characters that were not featured in previous versions. As with many modern arcade games, All-Star Carnival is network-enabled and is continuously being updated with new content.
The core gameplay consists of activating triggers in time with iconic songs from the Final Fantasy series. The main interface of each All-Star Carnival arcade cabinet consists of two large buttons that are flanked on either side by a hemisphere-shaped joystick. In order to active red touch triggers, the player must tap one of the two central buttons with the indicated timing. Similarly, green hold triggers can be activated by holding either one of the two central buttons. To active yellow slide triggers, the player must flick one of the two available joysticks in the indicated direction.
Unlike previous games in the series, All-Star Carnival sometimes requires players to active two triggers at once. For example, occasionally two touch triggers will appear in a vertical stack. This indicates that the player should press both of the central buttons at the same time. Additionally, some slide triggers will have two arrows pointing in the same direction. This indicates that the player should flick both sticks in indicated direction at the same time. These new combination triggers greatly increase both the complexity and difficulty of the game when compared to previous entries in the series.
Both Field Music Sequences (FMS) and Battle Music Sequences (BMS) make a return; however, the gameplay of these two song types, in terms of the party's actions, have been combined. Rather than exploring during FMS songs and battling during BMS songs, the player's party now regularly alternates between exploring and battling regardless of which type of song type is being played. A new type of song called an album is introduced. Albums are medleys that contain short segments of five other songs. Albums are unique in that they alternate between BMS-style and FMS-style gameplay depending on whether the current song segment is originally from a BMS or FMS song. Playing an album counts the same as playing two BMS/FMS songs. All-Star Carnival currently contains no Event Music Sequence (EMS) songs.
One of the largest additions is cooperative play. In online mode, each player is automatically matched with other players from around the world. In local-multiplayer mode, players can instead partner with others that are using neighboring All-Star Carnival cabinets within the same arcade. When players are matched, their parties are combined to form a sortie. Parties in a sortie automatically work together to take down monsters and support each other. There can be up to four parties in a sortie. Some items affect the entire sortie, rather than just a single party.
Most BMS songs have the option of being played in pairs mode. In this mode, two players work together on the same arcade cabinet in order to complete the song. Each player controls one button and one joystick. One player is responsible for activating the triggers in the top two lanes, while the other player must activate the triggers in the bottom two lanes.
All-Star Carnival contains several new options that were not available in previous titles. Players can now adjust the scroll speed of triggers, change the color of triggers, and adjust the volume levels for both battle sound effects and trigger sound effects. Two new difficulties are introduced: beginner and transcendent. The beginner difficulty is meant for players who are new to rhythm games, while the transcendent difficulty is meant to challenge highly experienced players.
The game features over 60 playable characters, with nearly all characters from the handheld games returning. The player has access to a large roster of characters by default, and they can unlock new characters by collecting the crystal shards that are randomly dropped by defeated boss-class monsters. There are two types of crystal shards: light and dark. Each of these two types comes in four different colors. Collecting one of each color of light crystal shard will allow the player to unlock a protagonist. Collecting one of each color of dark crystal shard will allow the player to unlock an antagonist.
Characters in Italics are new to the series.
All-Star Carnival features a wide variety of songs from the Final Fantasy series, as well as a small selection of songs from other Square-Enix titles. Players have access to a large selection of songs by default, and they can unlock additional songs by purchasing them using sound medals. Sound medals are randomly dropped by defeated boss-class monsters. They can also be obtained by participating in Lux Crystal Battles. Most songs cost 5 sound medals to unlock, though some required 10 medals instead.
|Game||Returning Songs||New Songs|
|Final Fantasy||"Opening Theme"|
|"Final Fantasy Medley"|
|Final Fantasy II||"Battle Theme 1"|
"The Rebel Army"
"Tower of the Magi"
"Battle Theme 2"
|"Final Fantasy II Medley"|
|Final Fantasy III||"Battle 1"|
"This is the Last Battle"
|"Final Fantasy III Medley"|
"Forbidden Land Eureka"
|Final Fantasy IV||"The Red Wings"|
"Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV"
"Battle With the Four Fiends"
"The Final Battle"
|"Final Fantasy IV Medley"|
|Final Fantasy V||"Four Hearts"|
"Mambo de Chocobo"
"Home, Sweet Home"
"Battle at the Big Bridge"
"The Decisive Battle"
"The Final Battle"
|"Final Fantasy V Medley"|
|Final Fantasy VI||"Locke's Theme"|
"The Decisive Battle"
"Searching for Friends"
|"Final Fantasy VI Medley"|
|Final Fantasy VII||"Let the Battles Begin!"|
"Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII"
|"Final Fantasy VII Medley"|
"Birth of a God"
|Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-||"The Price of Freedom"||N/A|
|Final Fantasy VIII||"Balamb Garden"|
"Don't Be Afraid"
"Force Your Way"
"The Man with the Machine Gun"
"Maybe I'm a Lion"
|"Final Fantasy VIII Medley"|
|Final Fantasy IX||"A Place to Call Home"|
"Over the Hill"
"Festival of the Hunt"
"Roses of May"
"Something to Protect"
"The Final Battle"
|"Final Fantasy IX Medley"|
|Final Fantasy X||"Otherworld"|
"Movement in Green"
"A Fleeting Dream"
"Fight With Seymour"
|"Final Fantasy X Medley"|
|Final Fantasy XI||"Ronfaure"|
"Fighters of the Crystal"
|"Final Fantasy XI Medley"|
|Final Fantasy XII||"Final Fantasy (FFXII Ver.)"|
"Streets of Rabanastre"
"Flash of Steel"
"The Mosphoran Highwaste"
"Struggle for Freedom"
"The Dalmasca Estersand"
|"Final Fantasy XII Medley"|
|Final Fantasy XIII||"Saber's Edge"|
"Blinded By Light"
"The Sunleth Waterscape"
"Dust to Dust"
|"Final Fantasy XIII Medley"|
"Eden Under Siege"
|Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII||"Savior of Souls"||N/A|
|Final Fantasy XIV||"Torn from the Heavens"|
"To the Sun"
"Under the Weight"
"Good King Moggle Mog XII"
|"Final Fantasy XIV Medley"|
"A Light in the Storm"
|Final Fantasy XV||N/A||"Apocalypsis Noctis (Uncovered Trailer)"|
|Final Fantasy Tactics||"Answers"||N/A|
|Final Fantasy Type-0||"We Have Come"|
"War: The White Weapon"
|Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy||"Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy [Final Trailer]"||N/A|
|Dissidia Final Fantasy||N/A||"Eternal Wind -DFF arrange- from FFIII"|
"Dancing Mad -arrange- from FFVI"
"Antipyretic -arrange- from FFT"
"Massive Explosion (Short ver.)"
|Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call||"THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY CURTAIN CALL Special Arrange Medley"||N/A|
|Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival||None||"Fight With Seymour -TFFAC Arrange- from FFX"|
|Final Fantasy Record Keeper||None||"Battle at the Big Bridge -FFRK Arrange Ver. 2- from FFV"|
"The Decisive Battle -FFRK Arrange- from FFVI"
"Crazy Motorcycle Chase -FFRK Arrange- from FFVII"
"The Man with the Machine Gun -FFRK Arrange Ver. 1- from FFVIII"
"Blinded by Light -FFRK Arrange- from FFXIII"
|Final Fantasy series||N/A||"Final Fantasy I-V Boss Medley"|
"Final Fantasy VI-X Boss Medley
"Transcendence! Boss Medley"
"Normal Battle Medley"
|Square-Enix Titles||"Raffaello Battle"*from Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon|
"Coup de Grace"*from Romancing SaGa
"Encounter with the Seven Heroes"*from Romancing SaGa 2
"Devil Lord Confrontation I"*from Romancing SaGa 3
"Echoes of the Spiral"*from Legend of Mana
"Meridian Dance"*from Secret of Mana