The PlayStation VITA has been getting much love as of late with Severed, X-Com, Civilization and last week Square Enix continued the pattern of stealth releases for the system, by bringing Adventures of Mana to the west which starts off 25th anniversary celebrations of the MANA series.
The MANA series started way back in 1991 on the GameBoy with Final Fantasy Adventure or Mystic Quest for us Europeans. The MANA game most of you will know and remember would likely be Secret of Mana for the Super Nintendo and unlike Mystic Quest, I have played it.
Now we’ve got the brief history lesson out the way, let’s talk Adventures of Mana which is a remake of the original GameBoy game which has been praised over the years as one of the best Action-RPG’s on the GameBoy.
Well the case cannot be said now for Adventures of Mana (AoM) on the VITA, AoM is no means a bad game actually it’s quite good at what it is a 2D Zelda-like not a RPG which most of you may have been thinking from its Final Fantasy origins, if you have no prior knowledge of the MANA series.
In AoM you start of be naming your chosen Hero & Heroine who have to stop the Dark Lord of Glaive from destroying the Tree of Mana, all very much standard stuff. Along the way on the over world you will battle monsters in real time with various weapons & spells to head to the next town or dungeon.
Whilst in town for instance you will meet various characters whom may even join you briefly, have the opportunity to buy new gear & items and most of all process the story.
Which goes head to dungeon, find weapon which lets you advance through the area, defeat boss, get item, return to the start or where you use the item and repeat with some puzzles mixed in involving items and weapons.
One of the issues here is, during one dungeon I needed a key to open a door and I had two options keep destroying enemies in till one of them drops a chest for a key or go back to a shop to buy a key. AoM can become repetitive & random due to things like that, instead of let’s say Zelda where there will be a chest with the key for the next room to move on within in the dungeon.
Let’s talk positive’s though, AoM has a lovely chibi like art style and decent soundtrack but most of AoM is simple. Which works to its benefit that if you’ve not played an Action-RPG before then AoM, due the light RPG elements as part from buying gear the only other real RPG elements is some simple levelling up in four classes as you earn Exp by defeating enemies. This all makes AoM a great starting point for newcomers and for the fans of the MANA series this remake will have stuff they will know and love about the series.
I played the game on VITA, it looks good and controls well but if you’re not on VITA island then don’t worry as AoM also came to smart devices. I’ve not played AoM directly on a smart device but the VITA does allow AoM to be played using the touchscreen as well as buttons, I prefer using buttons myself but have messed around with using the screen and it seems to work well enough, hopefully it’s the same on your chosen way of playing.