After Cosmos' chosen warriors gathered Rhythmia and defeated Chaos, the balance in the rhythm of the world was restored. However, all things being in a cycle, Chaos regained his strength and Cosmos has once again summoned her champions to collect Rhythmia and vanquish Chaos.
Curtain Call follows in the footsteps of Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, with new modes and characters as well as over 200 songs from the Final Fantasy franchise, including scores and characters from, amongst others, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2, Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Final Fantasy Type-0, or even the movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The player first chooses four characters to form a party that will be used to challenge the only mode available form the start, Music Stages mode, which consists of playing a single music tracks to get a high score; the remaining characters will have to be unlocked later by gathering crystal shards. Each party member can be equipped with up to four abilities that will trigger during the stages. These abilities need a certain amount of points to be selected, and the total points cost cannot be higher than each character's point limit. One of the game's new features is the Collecta Card Crystarium, which makes use of collectible art cards to boost the character's attributes.
The same track types return from the original Theatrhythm: Field Music Stages (FMS), Battle Music Stages (BMS) and Event Music Stages (EMS), each with their own play variations. As notes appear on the top screen, the player may use the stylus, the buttons, or a combination of both in order to slide, tap or hold the notes in rhythm. Hitting a note perfectly makes a critical hit and gives more points. At the end of a stage, a critical chart shows how many of the notes the player has successfully hit as critical hits. A new type of notes, the Critical notes, allow the player to deal extra damage in BMS, reward treasure in EMS, or dash further in FMS if the note is hit perfectly.
In FMS, the party leader travels in the chosen song's themed scenery and has to get as far as possible before the end of the song. Characters with higher speed will move faster and one with more endurance will take less damage if they stumble. Notes are displayed in a single line, with silver notes leading to a featured zone in which a chocobo replaces the character. The better the player performs in the featured zone, the faster the chocobo will be. If the player misses notes, the character will stumble and be replaced by the next one. The further a character gets, the more treasures will be rewarded. Some songs feature an airship rather than characters and chocobos. In those stages, the note lane moves closer and further from the screen as the song plays, making the lane seemingly go through changes in shape and speed. The notes also appear bigger or smaller depending on their position.
In BMS, the screen has four lanes, each corresponding to one of the party characters. As the notes are played on each lane, the characters fight enemies that appear in the background, dealing damage as the player successfully hits notes. After sustaining a certain amount of damage, the enemy will be defeated and give way to the next one, sometimes a boss. Each enemy defeated has a chance of yielding treasure, so stronger characters who deal heavy damage are the most efficient. The BMS featured zone allows for a monster to be summoned and deal extra damage. If the player performs poorly during the featured zone, only a chocobo will be summoned.
EMS are songs from key moments in the Final Fantasy games, with scenes from the game playing in the background. The note target moves around the screen following a path at varying speed, and the player must hit the notes accordingly. The EMS featured zone rewards the player with an extended version of the song when performed successfully.
The game also includes a VS mode that can be played online, offline or against an AI opponent. In the VS mode, the player faces another team, each team fighting against monsters. Whichever team has the highest score by the end of the song wins. To gain the advantage over the opponent, the player fills an EX Gauge as notes are hits. This gauge triggers an EX Burst with various effects once it is full. Such effects include hidden notes that appear only when they are near the target, changes in speed, stronger enemies and judgement, which only counts the perfect critical hits, all the other hits being considered as bad. While under judgement, bad hits also take points from the player's score.
The Dark Notes from the previous game have been replaced with the Quest Medley mode. The player must go through a branching path, completing various music stages and reach a final boss fight. The different areas include FMS and BMS, and can yield keys needed to access certain branches, be boss encounters or have save points from which the player will start again if the party gets defeated. The damage taken during the music stages carry on. Only healing magics and items used between stages can make the party recover. Each stage counts as one day, with tents being used to make additional days pass. As time progresses in a Quest, the experience rewarded by completing stages is increased. Airship passes can be acquired to move further and get to destination. The high scores and critical charts from the stages completed in Quest Medley are shared with those from the default Music Stages mode. Completing a Quest Medley unlocks additional quests of varying length that can be shared via StreetPass.