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The Strangest Final Fantasy Spin-Off Games Of All Time

2020 saw the triumphant release of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which was met with resounding praise from critics. The remake of one of the most beloved games in the Final Fantasy franchise built off of what made the original so special, while also adding in spectacular Easter eggs and plenty of surprises. However, not every Final Fantasy game has been as well-received. In fact, there are plenty of installments in the long-running franchise that have been more or less forgotten over time. 

As the Final Fantasy franchise has grown in popularity over the years, there have been numerous attempts to expand on the themes and gameplay mechanics that have made the series so successful. This has led to plenty of spin-offs, some of which are wild departures from the main series. Sometimes it's a good thing for a series to stray a bit from tradition, but sometimes things can just veer off in the very wrong direction. The following Final Fantasy spin-off games are varying degrees of good and bad, but they all share one thing in common: they're super weird. 

Final Fantasy 7: Snowboarding is exactly what it sounds like

Have you ever played Final Fantasy 7 and found yourself wishing it had more of an "X Games" flavor? If so, then you are a true child of the '90s, and this game is absolutely for you. A snowboarding minigame appeared in the original release of Final Fantasy 7 and proved so popular with gamers that it was eventually released as its own standalone mobile game in 2005, the appropriately titled Final Fantasy 7: Snowboarding.

Much like in the original courses from FF7's Icicle Inn and Golden Saucer, players take control of FF7 hero Cloud Strife as he snowboards his way down one mountain after another. The goal of the game is to avoid obstacles while collecting balloons and doing sweet tricks. Final Fantasy 7: Snowboarding is definitely a product of its time, right down to the fact that it apparently cannot be played on any newer devices, according to fan-site Final Fantasy Kingdom

Airborne Brigade never quite took off

The weirdest thing about Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade might be that it doesn't quite feel like a Final Fantasy game. Many of the elements are there, but the overall execution leaves a lot to be desired. As pointed out in Pocket Gamer's review, battles were simplified to the point where it felt like gamers were just tapping a button and then watching the skirmish play out.

Most lesser monsters are automatically defeated when they are encountered in the game, which immediately removes a lot of the excitement of the franchise. The larger goal of the game is to level up your party through repetitive battles. Bosses can also be tackled with the help of other players. However, even these larger battles are settled with just a few button taps. When you add in the fact that the game was also released without any sound whatsoever, it basically made the whole experience feel like watching a silent anime. And yes, that's as off-putting as you'd think it would be. 

Airborne Brigade wasn't necessarily a bad game, but it was a far cry from what most would consider the usual Final Fantasy experience. 

Theatrythm Final Fantasy kept players moving

Theatrythm Final Fantasy was an attempt at embracing another popular genre of gaming: rhythm games. This iOS and Nintendo 3DS title was basically Dance Dance Revolution, only for your fingers and starring Final Fantasy characters. Player inputs were based on different kinds of musical notes. Some notes required players to quickly tap the screen at a certain tempo, while others asked the player to trace a series of notes with their finger or stylus. 

There were also a few different modes of play in the original game. Battle Music Sequences saw damage being dealt to enemies when players successfully hit notes. The other modes, Field Music and Event Music Sequences, were essentially interactive cutscenes that played in accordance with successful player inputs. There were also multiplayer options that earn awesome new items for gamers who achieved high scores.

Theatrythm Final Fantasy was popular enough to spawn a sequel, Theatrythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, as well as an arcade version. Eventually, however, iOS support for the game was discontinued in 2017. 

World Wide Words used typing to win the day

Final Fantasy World Wide Words was a mobile game so niche that it was never released outside of Japan, and it's not hard to see why. Though the game featured a massive cast of characters culled from every mainline Final Fantasy game up to that point, the gameplay of World Wide Words was unlike anything the series had done before.

World Wide Words added a unique spin to Final Fantasy's classic turn-based combat by taking a page out of Typing of the Dead's book. Attacks were carried out through a series of typing challenges. Depending on the length of the word or phrase that was typed, as well as the speed with which the player typed it, the player could deal more damage to enemies. Spells could also be cast by typing the name of the spell required. World Wide Words was quite the unique game, and it's a shame that it never saw a release in the United States.