Thursday, 17 February 2011

Children of Mana (DS)

Another guest post by Ocean.
The older Mana series are dear to my heart, and a huge inspiration for me. I saw the reviews for the newer Mana series, and they were pretty disappointing. I have tried out Sword of Mana, and I was not a fan of that one. Final Fantasy Adventure (which Sword of Mana is a remake of) is one of the games I've replayed most. I felt they dragged out the story and added silly stuff that didn't add to the game.

But how does Children of Mana fare?

The day before I beat the first dungeon. As I didn't want to replay the beginning, I decided to go ahead. I saw a guy up top in the town, remembered my destination, and ran off to talk. I forgot to restock and buy equipment beforehand and just went straight into the field. And lost.

The town looks nice! But this is the only town. Halfway seems like more development time went into making this town nice than making the game fun!

No it doesn't, and aaagh dudbears! They have probably learned from their lesson in Legend of Mana and do not force you to learn their horrible language at least. Dub!

Quest system! Oh, I sort of like sidequests... what? You have to PAY to take one! Luckily, they are pretty cheap and the rewards in comparison are fairly good.

This is the only spirit you need. Pick it up, forget the rest exist. This game has a wonderful magic system: You can only use 2 spells in the dungeon. One support, and one attack. You'll probably not use the attack one much because of its MP cost and the wait, and the support one heals you so you'll just use that.

Now in the dungeon! One thing I noticed while taking the screens, is that it's just very pot and spike happy. A floor, some walls/ceiling, and the rest is pots. The older games had very nice mapping. Not this one. Just randomly generated stuff! Oh and you have to find a gem thing in one of alll of these pots, then bring it to a certain spot to get to the next floor (called zones). Repeat for anywhere between 4 and 20+ zones.

Item drops! They are relatively generous with it when you have a lot of pots around. I reached my max candy limit and still had plenty around so I could heal my minor wounds. You can also pick up weapons/armor and stuff too. Most likely though you won't be able to use them until later levels. Also you can't even equip anything until after every 4th zone, or when you're at the town.

Gem system! You get random gem drops from treasures or monsters so you can place them here. You at times get bigger gem boards so you can stuff more in there. Well, some gems take up more than one spot though. I generally just stuff them with Attack + gems and forget about it.

Here's the other objective to getting to the next floor you might have: "Eliminate all monsters". Well, what you see is not what you get. See the purple circles? Enemies are warping in, and they like doing so. Each enemy can already take some hits to go down, and then multiply it by all these new enemies coming in, it feels like it never ends!

Damn you! Anyway, repeat something like this for 16+ floors once you start getting further in the game, and it reaally becomes repetitive.


Ocean also takes a more in depth look at Children of Mana at his blog, dev.oceansdream.net.

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Semi-Random Game Box