A few people remember the dungeon adventures Chocobo had nearly ten years ago. This time around, treasure-hunting companions Chocobo and Cid find their way to Lostime where the people have been losing their memories as a result of the periodic ringing of the clocktower bell that looms over the town. This sets up the game's premise, in which you must enter and fight your way through a series of dungeons in order to reclaim everyone's lost memories. While not the most engaging concept for a story out there, Chocobo's Dungeon for the Wii fondly pays tribute to the roguelike series of games, a genre that honestly is not for everyone.
Despite the dreamlike storyline that tends to border on overly cutesy and childish, the main star of the game is first and foremost its emphasis on dungeon exploration. Though the battles you encounter with enemies are in fact turn-based, the various floors and the treasures, items, and traps that await you in them are all randomized. The enemies match every move you make in the dungeon, making for a little strategy involved when it comes to making dire decisions. Die in the dungeon and lose everything you have obtained. After gradually building up your character's strengths and discovering more abilities and attacks, you will soon be able to get into other aspects of the game such as implementing the job change system and even getting to play mini-games unlocked from further dungeon grinding.
The controls for the game are relatively simple. You can utilize the Classic controller or play it with the Wii remote, upright or sideways for a more traditional feel. No one should have any trouble controlling Chocobo, and the menus are very easy to navigate through. The sound of the game is a real hit and miss, however. The game's dialogue and text comes complete with pretty annoying voice-acting, as well as certain sound effects (particularly Chocobo's attack) that can become grating to your ears after a while. Luckily the musical soundtrack is filled with many familiar tunes from the Final Fantasy series, which are very nice faithful rearrangements to the originals. The graphics aren't anything to go crazy over and some people may wince at the drab washed out finish of the visuals, but the orthodox cartoon appearance of its worlds is actually quite perfect for the entire theme of the game.
I wouldn't get Chocobo's Dungeon because 1) it looks cute, or 2) it has the Final Fantasy name attached to it. The game requires the player to have a certain level of devotion since it comes rife with some rather extensive dungeon crawling. This might turn out to be a worthwhile adventure for some while to others it may be a repetitive bore. On the other hand, the developers of the game stated they designed the game to be simpler and easier in order to appease to more players. The game's difficulty is relatively low compared to other games of its kind, which could disappoint the hardcore elite wanting a deep roguelike experience. While I do applaud the fact that they want to reach a greater demographic and introducing more people to this type of game, Chocobo's Dungeon has a couple flaws that will upset both casuals and non-casuals. Still, anyone who just wants a decent adventure to tide them over for a while should check it out for themselves. Take it for what it is, and just have fun.