Triggers are circular colored icons that serve as the primary gameplay mechanic in the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy series of rhythm games. The player's goal is to "activate" triggers when they overlap with circular receptors known as "marks". A trigger can be activated by performing the action indicated on the trigger itself. There are several types of triggers, each requiring the player to take a different action. Triggers generally line up with either the main melody, harmony, or rhythm of the song that is being played. This means that, in addition to the visual cue of the trigger itself, the player can use the music as an audio cue for when to activate the triggers.
Every time a player activates a trigger, they receive points based on the timing of their activation. The more accurately the player times their activation, the more points they receive. Activating triggers affects the actions taken by the player's party. Well-timed triggers advance the party faster while traveling and deal more damage while fighting. Activating triggers may cause a Feature Drive under certain conditions. Many abilities also depend on the number and type of triggers activated by the player.
Each time the player activates a trigger, they will receive a rating based on how accurately they timed their activation. There are six ratings.
|CRITICAL||Only appears in All-Star Carnvial.|
|BAD||Reduces the player's HP and resets their chain.|
Received when sliding a slide trigger in the wrong direction.
Received when letting go of a hold trigger too early.
|MISS||Reduces the player's HP and resets their chain.|
Touch Triggers appear as a red circles with white dots in the center and are the most basic type of trigger. In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, players can activate touch triggers simply by touching the Nintendo 3DS's touchscreen. In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, touch triggers can also be activated by pressing any of the buttons on the 3DS (, , , , , and ). In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival, touch triggers are activated by tapping either of the two buttons in the center of the arcade controller.
All-Star Carnival also introduces a new variation of the touch trigger called a "support ability trigger". These triggers look like touch triggers, except that they have a portrait of a character overlaid on top of them. They are activated in the same manner as regular touch triggers. A single support ability trigger appears each time an ally in the player's sortie has a support ability ready for deployment. If the player successfully activates the support ability trigger, they will receive the benefits its associated support ability. If the trigger is missed, the support ability will be wasted. The character portrait on trigger corresponds to the character that will perform the support ability if the player is successful.
Slide triggers are yellow circles that contain an arrow pointing in one of eight possible directions. In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and Curtain Call, slide triggers are activated by quickly sliding the stylus on the 3DS's touchscreen in the direction indicated by the arrow. Curtain Call additionally allows the player to activate slide triggers by instead pushing the 3DS's circle pad in the indicated direction. In All-Star Carnival, slide triggers are activated by pushing one of the arcade cabinet's two joysticks in the correct direction.
In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, higher difficulty Dark Notes sometimes contain slide triggers that rotate as they move. These rotating slide triggers appear again in Curtain Call, where they are found in higher level Chaos Maps. Rotating slide triggers can also be caused by the Monster Buff EX burst in Versus Battle Mode.
All-Star Carnival introduces a variation of the slide trigger known as the "twin slide trigger". These triggers contain two arrows instead of one. In order to activate these triggers, the player must push one of the controller's two joysticks in each of the indicated directions at the same time. For example, if the twin slide trigger contains two up arrows, the player must push both joysticks up at the same time, but if the trigger contains a left arrow and a right arrow, then the player must push one joystick left and one joystick right.
Hold triggers consist of a green circle that is immediately followed by a green line that ends in a second green circle. In order to activate a hold trigger in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, the player must press the stylus to the 3DS's touchscreen when the first green circle overlaps the mark, and then they must hold the stylus against the screen for the duration of the green line. When the second green circle overlaps the mark, the player must then lift the stylus off of the touchscreen. In Curtain Call, players can press/hold/release any of the 3DS's buttons instead of using the touchscreen. In All-Star Carnival, hold triggers are activated by pressing/holding/releasing either of the two large buttons in the center of the arcade controller.
In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and Curtain Call, players receive one rating for each hold trigger that they activate. In All-Star Carnvial, the player instead receives two ratings: one for pressing the button down and second for releasing the button.
Hold triggers behave differently in Field Music Sequences than they do in Battle Music Sequences and Event Music Sequences. In FMSs, the line that connects the two green circles is wavy rather than straight. To activate these wavy hold triggers, the player must move the mark up and down while holding the trigger, with their goal being to keep the mark overtop of the green line. In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and Curtain Call, players can move the mark by sliding the stylus up and down on the touchscreen. Curtain Call also allows the player move the mark using the 3DS's circle pad instead of the stylus. In All-Star Carnival, the mark can be moved using either of the two joysticks on the arcade controller.
The wavy green lines of FMS hold triggers often contain smaller circles known as "mid-points". The player receives a rating for each mid-point they hit. The rating received for each mid-point is based on how closely the mark is keep over the green line. The closer the mark is kept to the green line, the better the rating that the player will receive.
A common variation of the hold trigger is the hold-slide trigger. As its name implies, it is a hold trigger than ends in a slide trigger. In order to activate these triggers, the player must press and hold as they normally would for a hold trigger; however, instead of simply releasing, the player must perform the action required by the indicated slide trigger.
In order to fully utilize its updated arcade controls, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival added a new type of trigger known as the double trigger. Double triggers are combination triggers that require the player to perform two actions at the same time. Double triggers are indicated by two triggers in a vertical stack that are connected by a faint blue line. In order to activate a double trigger, the player must perform both of the actions indicated. For example, a double trigger that contains two touch triggers indicates that the player must tap both of the arcade controller's central buttons, while a stack that contains a touch trigger and a slide trigger indicates that the player needs to tap a button while pushing a joystick in the correct direction. Players receive one rating for each of the two "component" triggers in a double trigger.