4.5 out of 5


  • Characters
  • HD-2D remake
  • Soundtrack
  • Classic gameplay
  • Multiple endings


  • Cheap moves ruin some boss fights
  • Overview Map

Switch, PlayStation 4, PC
Square Enix
Square Enix
RPG, Strategy/Tactics
File Size (Minimum)
4.7 GB
Release Date (NA)
Jun 22, 2022
Release Date (JP)
Jul 22, 2022

LIVE A LIVE, once a Japan-only role-playing game (RPG) when it was released on the Super Nintendo (Super Famicom) in 1994, made its remake appearance on the Nintendo Switch in the summer of 2022. Less than a year later, the PlayStation 4 and PC also received the remake. RPG fans who fell in love with Square’s renaissance era in the ‘90s will want to play this one, and they now have a few ways to play it.

All Grown Up

LIVE A LIVE - Screenshot

The LIVE A LIVE remake received an HD-2D remake, an art style that blends dynamic 3D backgrounds with 2D pixel sprites. It’s a popular style that’s been in demand for every sprite-based game since Square released the first Octopath Traveler in the summer of 2018.

When comparing the original 1994 Super Nintendo game to the remake, the gameplay mechanics and style brought a flood of nostalgia for those growing up in the ‘90s. If Square can take a game like LIVE A LIVE and make it look this gorgeous and fun to play, the thought of other popular titles like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and another Japan-only title, Bahamut Lagoon, could melt your mind. Let’s go, Square!

It’s All Coming Together

LIVE A LIVE - Screenshot

The 1994 LIVE A LIVE was directed by Takashi Tokita who a year later went on to direct the wildly popular RPG, Chrono Trigger. LIVE A LIVE didn’t get as much credit as it should for bringing in the interesting elements that paved the way for that classic. For example, here, you’ll play as a gunslinger preventing a gang of thieves from wrecking a town and also as a miniature robot on a spaceship solving the mystery of the human crew being killed off. Additionally, in the Near Future chapter, your robot companion is quite reminiscent of Chrono Trigger’s Robo. Let’s also mention that you also visit a prehistoric era. Compared to the original game, Square kept as much content as possible in the remake, from its gameplay to the original designs. Nice.

In LIVE A LIVE, you can play the first seven short chapters in any order. However, you won’t spend too much time in any particular one, though some are a little longer than others. Basically, the point of these chapters is to understand each main character’s story. After completing all seven, a Middle Ages chapter appears and things get twisted, but let’s leave the surprises for you to enjoy. Completing all eight opens up a new story where all the game’s chapter characters meet in one world to take down “the evil one”.

Also like the later Chrono Trigger, there are multiple endings to LIVE A LIVE. Players have a choice to slay the evil being at the end, walk away to fight different bosses, and more. It certainly gives a high replay rating as the dialogue and storyline changes based on your actions. Additionally, one of the twisted storylines is playing as the evil doer himself where you fight against each of the chapter heroes in their respective chapters.

Let’s Brawl

LIVE A LIVE - Screenshot

The fighting style in LIVE A LIVE is a tactical, turn-based RPG. Characters are placed on a grid layout like a chess board. You’ll move your characters around, where you can initiate a command (e.g. attack, defend, flee) and the enemy does the same. Your character’s stats will determine who acts first. Some battles will flood the entire board with enemies, but if you kill the enemy leader (indicated by a flag icon on the character), all the enemies disappear.

Boss fights are interesting as well, with your character, a 2D sprite, taking on a large, highly detailed 2D enemy that takes up at least a quarter of the board. However, some fights feel cheap, since you can use the same technique over and over till you win. An example of this is having Masaru in the Present Day chapter using the Aloha Clap against the final boss. This move pushes the enemy back while doing damage and makes the boss use their turn to move closer to you. Rinse, repeat, and you will win. Random battles do get more complicated in the last chapter to the point where it’s almost not worth the time to grind in order to level up. Though it is recommended to have a set of characters to be at least level 20 if you want to survive against “the evil one”.

There are a few chapters where you will have random battles. However, some do not, such as the Distant Future chapter which is basically a sci-fi murder mystery. The Present Day chapter is set up like an arcade fighting game, think Street Fighter, but battles are on a grid setup like any other chapter. Each chapter is different, fun, and sometimes a bit weird. The fact that the boss in the Wild West chapter turns into a purple horse at the end just doesn’t seem right, since it’s based on wild west stories.

Where Do We Explore?

LIVE A LIVE - Screenshot

When exploring, and more so in the game’s last chapter, the mini map located at the bottom right of the screen is quite minimal. It only marks either your location, your next destination, or places you must visit. There’s no indication of paths or even signs showing where you visited. The overview map, which is full screen, is worse since it just shows illustrations of a castle, a mountain, a village, and the big bad’s cave entrance. Sure, the map pulses in purple to show where you are, but it’s not very specific beyond that. So, what’s the point of it? At the very least, add a compass to the mini map to prevent players from getting lost.

GO! GO! Steel Titan!

The music in LIVE A LIVE received some love as well. With the instrumental tracks and even with some lyric-based music, the game feels more alive and very energetic. The lyric song, “GO! GO! Steel Titan!” is sung by Hironobu Kageyama, also known for singing Dragon Ball Z’s “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA” and “We Gotta Power”. His musical score brings the familiar vibes of ‘90s anime back in this LIVE A LIVE track. It’s fun to listen to as you operate a giant robot, fighting against a giant God-like bird figure.

The 1994 version was originally composed by Yoko Shimomura (Legend of Mana, Super Mario RPG, Kingdom Hearts), and she returned to work on the arranged versions for the remake. Each chapter’s scores, from exploring to battling, are fun and charming. Overall, it’s an awesome soundtrack for RPG fans to add to their library.

LIVE A LIVE - Behind-the-Scenes for Go! Go! Steel Titan! - Nintendo Switch


LIVE A LIVE is downright fun for RPG fans. Each chapter is uniquely different, the characters are interesting, and the soundtrack is energetic. The map system may be too experimental, though. Still, it’s a satisfying adventure to enjoy over and over again.

A review code provided for this review and gameplay footage. Looking for trophies and achievements? Visit our LIVE A LIVE trophy guide.

LIVE A LIVE - Gameplay Footage (Switch)

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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