10 best spinoffs, ranked according to Metacritic

Few series have been able to regularly produce games like the Final Fantasy series. While other series go through dormant periods or struggle to stay afloat, Final Fantasy continued to persevere through the ups and downs of its 35-year run, churning out 15 main titles, sequels to some of those individual titles, and a 16th mainline along the way. With the wait between main titles increasing with each entry, it can be difficult to maintain relevance during these times.

RELATED: Final Fantasy: Every Main Sequel & Prequel, Ranked According To Metacritic

In a sense the Final Fantasy remained at the forefront of gamers’ minds is the continued release of spin-off games. These games usually have no connection to any of the established mainline titles or are designed to celebrate those titles through an overflow of series fanservice. Spin-offs are often a great way to experiment with new genres, mechanics, and art styles without taking on the burden of expectations that come with a mainline release. Some of these derivative securities have performed better than others.

Note: This list only considers games with a Metacritic rating.

ten Theatrythm Final Fantasy pays tribute to the beautiful music of the series (78 metacritical score)


Final Fantasy has a long history of phenomenal tracks and soundtracks overall. So it only makes sense that Square-Enix would eventually release a game that honors that history, which they did in the 2012 rhythm title. Thearrhythmia Final Fantasy for Nintendo 3DS.

Thearrhythmia Final Fantasy features many classic tunes and characters from the original game through Final Fantasy XIII. Theatrythm is played with side-scrolling rhythm mechanics in its three modes, which includes a Battle mode that asks players to stay in rhythm to hit enemies and bosses.

9 Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy is both a prequel and a remake (metacritical score of 78)


Tidus fighting Jecht

On the heels of the popular Dissidia Final Fantasy come Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy (the “012” is pronounced “Duodecim”). Dissidia 012 is not a real sequel to Dissidia as players explore the events leading up to the story of the original. Upon completion, players can then experience a remade version of Dissidia with the improved mechanics of Dissidia 012.

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Dissidia would later receive a proper sequel in the 2015 arcade title Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, which was later released on consoles in 2018 in both retail and freeware versions.


8 Dissidia Final Fantasy pits the series’ iconic heroes against villains (metacritical score of 79)


List of Dissidia characters

Of course there would be no Dissidia 012 without the original Dissidia Final Fantasy. With the series’ varied cast of characters, each with different abilities and disciplines, it would make perfect sense for there to be a fighting game based on the Final Fantasy series.

Originally designed to be a Kingdom Hearts spin-off (before being converted into Final Fantasy Title), Dissidia brings many of the series’ beloved heroes and villains up to this point and pits them face to face as champions of two conflicting gods: Cosmos and Chaos.


seven Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was the series’ return to Nintendo (metacritical score of 80)


Player character walking along a cart

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was a monumental game when it was released in 2004 for the Nintendo Gamecube. It was the first Final Fantasy title released on a Nintendo console in almost ten years. Crystal Chronicles is an action-based game focusing on its multiplayer component, which was made using Gameboy Advance link cables. However, Crystal Chronicles can still be played as a single player.

Crystal Chronicles was remastered in 2020 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and mobile devices. However, this remaster was rejected because it didn’t do enough to fix old issues. It also created new issues, such as only being able to play in online co-op.


6 It’s Good to be King in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as King (Metacritical Score of 80)


A citizen expressing gratitude

The success of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles would result in several follow-ups in its sub-series. None have received as much praise as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as King. Released for Nintendo’s WiiWare service in 2008, my life as a king is aptly named. Set after the events of the original Crystal Chronicles, the player takes the reins as a new king seeking to rebuild his kingdom.

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Unlike the previous Crystal Chronicles Games, my life as a king centers around the city-building genre – befitting its kingdom-building plot – and has been praised for its engaging and addictive mechanics.


5 Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire Of The Rift brings fans back to the world of Ivalice (metacritical score of 80)


Protect a giant chocobo

In what will become a frequent occurrence in the second half of this ranking is an entry into the Final Fantasy Tactics subseries, and part of the larger Ivalician Alliance sub-series containing the preceding Tactical securities, Wandering story, and Final Fantasy XII.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift was originally released in 2007 for the Nintendo DS and tells the story of Luso Clemens who, like the cast of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, is transported in a magic book to the world of Ivalice. He is plunged into the middle of a clan war where he meets new friends, new enemies and even characters from Final Fantasy XII.


4 World of Final Fantasy Maxima brought the nostalgia-laden title to Xbox and Nintendo (metacritical score of 81)


Classic ATB Combat

Final Fantasy World was well received when it released on PS4 and PlayStation Vita in 2014, mostly for being a fun and nostalgic love letter to the franchise as a whole. Players take on the role of twins Lann and Reynn who, after learning their forgotten roles as Mirage Keepers, are led into the world of Grymoire to recover their lost mirages and memories.

In 2018, Final Fantasy World would receive an extended version titled World of Final Fantasy Maxima, which was released for Switch and Xbox One (with the PS4 version receiving upgrade DLC).




3 Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call was the still deserved Theatrhythm (83 metacritical score)


Bartz, Edge, Aerith and Edgar fight an enemy

Two years after the original The theatrical rhythm delighted Final Fantasy fans, a sequel will be released in Thearrhythmia Final Fantasy: Curtain Call. Recall features even more songs and characters, plus tweaks to songs and gameplay to build on the foundations of the original The theatrical rhythm. Recall also has an online Versus mode that allows players to battle online.

A third The theatrical rhythm the game will be released in 2015 but centered on the dragon quest series, titled DragonQuest. DragonQuest was released in Japan but has yet to make its way West in any form.


2 Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was a touching story with deep gameplay (87 metacritical score)


Ritz

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was the long-awaited sequel to the classic Final Fantasy Tactics. Released six years after the original Tactical, Tactical Advance tells the story of Marche Radiuju, his wheelchair-bound brother, and two of Marche’s classmates as they are drawn into the world of a magical book, which recreates the world of Ivalice from the universe Final Fantasy Game.

RELATED: 10 More Games To Try If You Like Final Fantasy Tactics

Throughout their journey, Marche and company must contend with rival clans as well as an oppressive system of law, which dictates what characters can and cannot do in each fight. This adds an increased level of strategy.


1 Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions is the definitive version of an iconic spin-off (metacritical score of 88)


Plot the next move in Final Fantasy Tactics

For the majority Final Fantasy fans, it was easy to guess which title would be the highest rated spin-off. Final Fantasy Tactics, created by Tactical Ogre creator Yasumi Matsuo, has quickly become a fan favorite – both in her respective genre and in the Final Fantasy series as a whole. The original version of Tactical was highly rated upon its original release and earned a Metacritic score of 83.

Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions is an updated version of Tactical originally released for the PlayStation Portable. The lion war includes new cutscenes, overhauled localization, 16:9 aspect ratio, new jobs and classes, better integration into the Ivalician Alliance, and multiplayer.

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