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Aubrey: ...What if...we insert ourselves into that long-running, mega-popular JRPG series...what's it called again, Last Tale, no...Closing Story...
John: Oh, you mean...FINAL FANCY!
The What-Iffers in: Final Fancy

The What-Iffers in: Final Fancy is a freeware game created by Bernard John Badger, AKA Aubrey the Bard. It is an Affectionate Parody of the Final Fantasy series with action-puzzle gameplay, something of a cross between Adventures of Lolo and The Lost Vikings.

The story of The What-Iffers in: Final Fancy follows a group of roleplayers in a virtual environment called L.U.S.I.D. While discussing what sort of campaign they want to run next, they hit upon the idea of using the setting of a popular JRPG series called Final Fancy. Rather than following the usual gameplay of a JRPG, however, they opt for puzzles that require teamwork and the use of special abilities.

Once they are inside the shared imaginary world, the in-character story begins to unfold. Four strangers — John, Shemri, Aubrey, and Cherry — find themselves trapped in the dungeon of the Vampire Lord Adrian. Adrian haughtily explains that he used a spell to find and imprison the destined Heroes of Light. However, he is well aware that fate has a way of making sure prophecies are fulfilled sooner or later, so he has devised a way of encouraging it to be later: the dungeon is escapable by means of completing a series of challenges, which Adrian expects will take them as much as a literal lifetime.


After Adrian leaves, the ghost of a former prisoner named Noab speaks up to offer the ragtag team guidance. The remainder of the game is spent learning the four heroes' individual abilities and using them to overcome challenges:

  • John: A level-headed knight. His special ability is to raise a magical shield around himself, blocking any dangers.

  • Shemri: A feline berserker. Her special ability is to leap over gaps and hazards.

  • Aubrey: A cheerful bard. His special ability is to send forth a magical music note which causes any other hero it touches to swap places with him.

  • Cherry: A warm-hearted mage. Her special ability is to cast a fireball which can trigger distant switches or defeat certain enemies.


The What-Iffers in: Final Fancy contains examples of:

    Story Tropes 
  • Action Girl: Shemri is the athlete of the group, able to leap over chasms and other hazards. She also expresses a desire to physically attack her enemies, although in this game she gets little opportunity to do so.
  • Affectionate Parody: The What-Iffers in: Final Fancy is an affectionate parody of Final Fantasy.
  • Bald of Awesome: Noab is bald and has a commanding presence.
  • Barrier Warrior: John's special ability is to raise a magical shield around himself.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: Happens in the Golden Ending. Shemri chases Adrian offscreen and mauls him, evidenced by the barest beginning of a clawing animation, the associated sound effects, and Adrian's screaming.
  • Black Magician Girl: Cherry wears a wizard's hat and is able to cast a fireball spell.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens on two levels. First and most commonly, the roleplayers will intersperse out-of-character discussion within their roleplay, breaking the fourth wall between the story they're weaving and themselves as their own audience. Second, during the tutorial stages references are often made to the controls of the game, breaking the fourth wall between the game and the actual player.
  • Cat Girl: Shemri once inside the fictional world.
  • The Chosen Ones: John, Shemri, Aubrey, and Cherry are destined to fulfill a prophecy about the Heroes of Light, according to Adrian.
  • Cyberspace: The game takes place inside a virtual space called L.U.S.I.D. which allows its users to project their imaginations to one another. This is most apparent during the opening cutscene.
  • Damsel in Distress: Happens to Cherry in stage 12 (Heart-Pounding Rescue). Cherry starts the stage trapped behind a long line of ice golems, with a fire imp facing her from the other side. If the other heroes do not rescue Cherry in time, the fire imp will eventually melt all of the ice golems and then hit Cherry with a fireball.
  • Delayed Reaction: When Noab informs the other roleplayers that his character is a ghost, Aubrey responds with calm acknowledgment, then freaks out. Downplayed in that his initial placid acceptance is out-of-character, while his freakout is in-character.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The game features fire imp enemies and ice golem enemies.
  • Emoticon: The roleplayers frequently use emoticons in their conversation.
  • Establishing Character Music: Adrian's in-character self is introduced with nefarious organ music early in the game. Shortly thereafter, Noab's in-character self is introduced with a stoic brass march.
  • Evil Plan: Explained early on in typical villainous fashion by Adrian. Adrian used a spell to teleport the Heroes of Light into his prison. He knows that if he keeps them bound up or tries to kill them, fate will find some way to intervene, so he makes it possible to escape the prison by overcoming a series of challenges. His expectation is that this will delay the fulfillment of the prophecies about the Heroes of Light by decades, which will be advantageous to him and other creatures of darkness.
  • Exact Words: The exact words of the prophecy predicting the Heroes of Light turn out to be important in the Golden Ending. Adrian boasts that the same prophecy which foretold the Heroes of Light said the worst that would happen to the Dark Lord who imprisoned them is that he would suffer disgrace if they escaped his clutches. Aubrey points out that the exact quote says he'll "lose his face". This turns out to be a quite literal description.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Adrian does this during the Golden Ending. Adrian starts to explain that the prophecy predicting that he would "lose his face" if the Heroes of Light escaped his clutches is just an odd turn of phrase, but then realizes that a literal interpretation is very possibly valid.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Noab wears an eyepatch which hints at his past as a soldier.
  • Fiery Redhead: Shemri has red hair and a temperament to match.
  • Fireballs: Used by Cherry, as well as the fire imp enemies.
  • Framing Device: The game begins with a group of roleplayers discussing their next campaign.
  • Friendly Ghost: Noab is the spirit of an old soldier who died in Adrian's dungeon and stuck around to advise anyone else who wound up trapped there.
  • Fur Against Fang: Conversed and Exploited in the Golden Ending. The heroes are unarmed when they face Adrian, but John points out that werefolk are supposed to have the power to inflict harm on vampires. Shemri chases Adrian offscreen and mauls him.
  • Game Master: Noab acts as the narrator of the roleplaying session.
  • Golem: The game features ice golem enemies. They almost qualify as Snowlems, but aren't snowman-shaped.
  • In and Out of Character: The roleplayers speak to one another out-of-character, signified by an <OOC> tag, almost as much as they speak in-character.
  • Interactive Narrator: Noab is both the Game Master narrating the game and an NPC whom the heroes speak with in-character.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In stage 4 (Great Balls of Fire), Noab introduces the heroes to the ice golem enemy type. Aubrey expresses confusion, referencing the fact that the image used for ice golems is in fact the basic slime monster that comes with RPG Maker MV, but is shouted down by Noab before he can complete the thought.
  • Leitmotif: The same sinister organ music plays each time Adrian checks on his prisoners.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Shemri has the ears and tail of a cat, but is otherwise human.
  • Love to Hate: In the Golden Ending, Noab tells Adrian out-of-character that he's really got that 'love to hate you' thing down cold.
  • Magic Music: Aubrey has a magical Swap Song ability which allows him to swap places with one of the other heroes.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: The general setting of the game is a magical world of medieval European appearance.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Adrian is a Vampire Lord.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Shemri is implied to be a werefolk, purely for the advantage of exploiting Fur Against Fang.
  • Playing with Fire: Cherry is able to cast a fireball spell. The fire imp enemies also do this.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: The prophecy of the Heroes of Light is acknowledged in-universe even by the bad guys.
  • The Prophecy: There is a prophecy about four Heroes of Light, and it appears that John, Shemri, Aubrey, and Cherry are destined to fulfill it.
  • Pride: Adrian has enough chutzpah to try manipulating fate.
  • Quirky Bard: Aubrey is a bard whose special ability does not allow him to accomplish things directly; rather, he assists the other heroes in reaching positions where they can use their abilities.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Adrian has these attributes, especially after the story really begins and he takes on the role of Vampire Lord.
  • The Real Man: Shemri enjoys beating up virtual goons, although she's willing to rein in her personal preferences for this game.
  • The Roleplayer: Ironically, Adrian is the one who shows the most interest in roleplaying for its own sake. He takes the role of villain, foregoing participation in the challenges of the game, because he believes the antagonist is often the most dynamic and intriguing of roles.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: Shemri thinks this at the beginning of the game.
  • Screw Destiny: Downplayed: Adrian believes in destiny, but attempts to bend it to a time of fulfillment more favorable to himself and his ilk.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Adrian loves the sound of his own voice and has an extravagant vocabulary.
  • Smug Snake: Adrian is intelligent, knowledgable in the arcane, and prideful, but his confidence turns out to be greater than his capability.
  • Spirit Advisor: Noab died in Adrian's dungeon, but his ghost remains to advise those who come after him.
  • Stern Teacher: Noab instructs the heroes in the manner of a drill sergeant throughout the tutorial stages. Later, out-of-character conversation between the roleplayers reveals that in real life Noab is the sternest teacher at Shemri's school.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In stage 14 (Heavy Fire), Shemri assures John she is confident he will lead them through. Cherry remarks that this is a sweet thing to say, and Shemri gets flustered, protesting that she did not mean it in a mushy way.
  • Teleportation: Aubrey's special ability is to teleport himself and another hero to each other's locations.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Shemri wears a ponytail and is the acrobat of the group. She's also the most eager to engage in direct physical combat.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: Adrian tries to make the heroes doubt Noab's origins by suggesting that perhaps he's an illusion created to give prisoners false hope. Aubrey innocently wonders why Adrian would be telling them that if he was. Adrian sighs and declares that Aubrey's lack of psychological know-how makes him ironically immune.
  • Unexplained Accent: Several characters have accents purely for Rule of Cool/Funny.
  • Unfinished Business: Noab's ghost remains in Adrian's dungeon to help future prisoners escape.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: John wants to know why Adrian imprisoned him and the other prophesized Heroes of Light instead of killing them, as he evidently had the power to do either. This leads into Adrian's exposition of his Evil Plan.
  • Wicked Cultured: Whatever else you might say about him, Adrian clearly has a good education and refined mannerisms.
  • Win Your Freedom: Adrian has set up his dungeon so that it's theoretically possible to escape, though he believes it will take a lifetime.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: This is invoked by Noab to establish the setting and briefly conversed out-of-character.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Adrian tries to delay the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Heroes of Light by drawing them all into his dungeon with a spell. In the end, he only serves as the catalyst which introduces the Heroes of Light to each other and forges them into a team.
  • You Got Spunk!: Adrian reacts to Shemri's threats with teasing compliments. At least, when there's a jail door between them.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Cherry's hair, and arguably Shemri's, are colors not naturally found on humans in reality.

    Game Tropes 
  • 100% Completion: It's possible to finish the game having skipped a couple of stages, but completing all stages gives the option of seeing the Golden Ending.
  • Action-Based Mission: Stages 10 (Stubborn Ape), 12 (Heart-Pounding Rescue), and to a degree 18 (Crossfire) feature a higher emphasis on action skill than other stages.
  • Block Puzzle: There are several in the game, some in fairly pure, traditional form, others as components of puzzles involving other mechanics.
  • Character Portrait: Heavily used in cutscenes, with each character having several portraits with different expressions.
  • Cutscene: Frequently encountered and a large part of the game's appeal. Aside from plot point cutscenes, each stage has its own intro cutscene and a hint cutscene which will play if the stage is reset three times. Tip: cutscenes can be fast-forwarded by holding the Page Down key or one of its equivalents.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Death results in a very quick reset of the current stage, and there are no limits on how many times you can die. The game does, however, track how many times you've died on the current stage, and shows a hint cutscene if it reaches three times.
  • Fractional Winning Condition: The exits of the second and third rooms of the hub area will open when five of the six associated stages have been completed.
  • Freeware Games: This game is free to download and play.
  • Golden Ending: There is a more satisfying ending available to those who complete every stage in the game.
  • Hint System: If a particular stage is reset three times in a row, a cutscene which contains a hint will be triggered.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: A very literal example, if you've achieved 100% Completion when you go to the end of the game, you're allowed to pick which ending you want to view.
  • Level Goal: Each stage has four yellow circles which must be occupied by the four heroes to complete the stage.
  • Locked Door: The hub area is divided into rooms by locked doors, which must be opened by completing stages.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The song "Find Your Way" by Darangen plays during the final part of the ending cutscene (both versions) and the credits roll. If the cutscene and credits are not rushed through, they might last to about the end of the first chorus. Whether the entire song plays through depends on whether the player sits back to listen when the final "THE END" message is displayed after the credits, or chooses to continue on back to the title screen.
  • Multiple Endings: There's a regular ending and a Golden Ending available only to those who complete every stage.
  • Not the Intended Use: A few puzzles can be solved by methods that aren't strictly the intended way. The hint cutscene for stage 18 (Crossfire) specifically points out an alternative method for players who may be having trouble figuring out the intended one.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: The game is a collection of puzzles about escaping a dungeon.
  • Player Versus Environment: This is a single-player game about overcoming puzzles.
  • Pressure Plate: Pressure plates are used as a mechanic to turn on platforms.
  • Scripted Event: The game includes various cutscenes triggered by entering a stage, reaching a particular place, or resetting a stage three times in a row.
  • Teamwork Puzzle Game: The game involves switching between four team-mates, each with a unique ability, and achieving a common goal.
  • Timed Mission: Stage 12 (Heart-Pounding Rescue) is set up such that one of the heroes will be killed after a certain amount of time passes if not rescued.
  • Three Quarters View: The game is viewed as if from above at an angle, in classic 16-bit JRPG style.
  • Videogame Objectives: The goal of each stage is for the four heroes to reach four yellow circles, making this primarily the "Go to point A" variety of Videogame Objectives with the modifier of having four points for four heroes. Of course, you typically have to "Solve a puzzle" to accomplish that.
  • Video Game Tutorial: The first six stages involve Noab explaining the controls and mechanics of the game.


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