Chocobo GP – Nintendo Switch – perhaps a worthy successor to the PlayStation version but what about the controversy?

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To celebrate Final Fantasy’s 35th anniversary, Square Enix managed to bring back one of the many decades-past favorite Chocobo Racing to the Nintendo Switch. This game is a solid racer with bright colors and smooth gameplay. It’s a worthy successor to the original on the PlayStation. However, I can’t ignore the controversary around unlocking DLC characters like Cloud and Squall which wasn’t a big deal to me.

Our buddy Chocobo racing for number one position against Racing Hero X in Chocobo GP
Our buddy Chocobo racing for number one position against Racing Hero X in Chocobo GP

I picked up this game on its release because I was excited to replay this game on the Nintendo Switch to and from work on the train. (Yeah. I probably draw some attention being a fully fledged adult playing this game on the train, but who cares.) It’s been a heck of fun playing through the story mode and the various solo modes.

The controls are solid. It’s easy to play, but hard to master. There is a real sense of achievement learning how to maximize your speed boost by doing drifts, learning all the short cuts and mastering all the tricks to give you an advantage on the track like collecting the crystals and powering up my magicite. The thrill is collecting a warp magicite and warping ahead of the pack.

The game is tough on solo mode and practice will make perfect. I’ve been stuck on some story mode missions because some require me to come first or have to come ahead of Racing Hero X (who is a buffed up Moogle). He is so annoying, yet its rewarding when you and the other AI pound him with every ability and magicite possible and then win.

Young Behemoth taking the race track and has the ability to bowl the competition out of way in Chocobo GP
Young Behemoth taking the race track and has the ability to bowl the competition out of way in Chocobo GP

The story mode is silly for any serious gamer. It is purely for children and none of it is particularly interesting or funny. But it’s a nice addition and it’s great to see characters like Terra, Vivi and Steiner be voiced and have roles in this game. I’m sure kids will enjoy it.

In terms of characters, there is a large selection of characters to choose from including the abovementioned but also various chocobos, moogles and other iconic characters like Cid, Behemoth, Gilgamesh, and espers like Ramuh, Shiva and Ifrit. Unfortunately certain characters like Cloud and Squall are locked behind online play or real life money transactions. While it is awful that you can’t unlock these characters within the game, for me I didn’t care. I was pretty happy with the already large roster of characters. My favorite being Young Behemoth and Shiva due to their abilities. Behemoth can rush forward, while knocking anything it touches out of the way. Shiva slows nearby vehicles and her ability seems overpowered.

Racing with each of the characters was fun and finding the right ones for me took a bit of trial and error.

Chocobo GP's story mode is designed for a younger audience and isn't for people wanting a compelling story
Chocobo GP’s story mode is designed for a younger audience and isn’t for people wanting a compelling story

The game has a few different tracks with one or two variants. I was fond of the tracks like Big Bridge and Alexandria because they played remixes of the iconic soundtracks from Final Fantasy V and Fantasy IX respectively.

There is a large roster of characters to play like Vivi and Steiner despite the controversy DLC characters like Cloud and Squall being locked behind paywalls
There is a large roster of characters to play like Vivi and Steiner despite the controversy DLC characters like Cloud and Squall being locked behind paywalls

Chocobo GP is a solid racing game with smooth gameplay and some great homages to the series as a whole thanks to its cast of characters and tracks. It’s my a guilty pleasure to play it during my downtime and I’ve had a great time with it. Though it is a shame the game has some things locked behind online and DLC, for what it is worth, it still has a decent amount of content for people preferring offline play. If DLC peeves you, I’d recommend waiting till the game goes on sale before picking it up.

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