Secret of Mana Review
- A classic Action-RPG now available on the go.
- Deep storyline that has influenced further sequels.
- Streamlined AI controls and quick-slots to aid players.
- Auto-saves on most screen switches.
- Co-op sadly missing from this release.
- Fiddly 'ring command' system; confusing more than bothersome.
Secret of Mana for iDevices may not be the full-remake that some fans might have expected (especially when it lacks the co-op), but it's still an incredible classic RPG that genre fans should add to their collection.
- Full Review
- App Store Info
If you haven't had the pleasure of playing Secret of Mana by Square (now Square Enix) on the SNES and you're a fan of RPGs, then I highly recommend grabbing this title. Oh wait... this is the beginning of the review. So er, as I was saying, Secret of Mana, otherwise known as Seiken Densetsu 2 (Holy Sword Legend 2) is one of those bullet-point moments in gaming history that has resulted in the game becoming a cult hit and an influential title thanks to its wholly unique gameplay style.
Your adventure begins with Randi (a minor outcast in his home village) being exiled for 'desecrating' the holy sword protecting them and is quickly swept up in to a world-wide battle as an ancient war machine is slowly revived in order to plunge the world in to chaos once again. With Chrono Trigger another couple years away, this title introduced players to a detailed Action RPG system complete with AI controlled party members that could be played in co-op with your friends if they decided to plug in a controller. Randi is joined by Primm (the party's nominated healer) and Popoi (a slinger of deadly spells). Combat occurs in real-time and is tempered by the use of a charge bar for your weapons, rewarding players with higher damage attacks if they wait for the bar to fill and initiating powerful alternate attacks if the attack button is held down beyond the '100%' mark.
The translation of the game's 'ring command' menu system in the App Store version is a little off the mark, with players requiring a bit of experimentation to find the appropriate 'ring' with the items they require (swiping up and down modifies the ring you're on, left and right will change the character). The addition of quick-slots streamlines the combat, preventing the need for taking manual control of characters as often as the original, but those looking to attempt the harder challenges in the game will still require more finesse to survive in-tact.
Visually, the largest upgrade is wide-screen view that gives you more time to react in certain situations, however the smoothed graphics and sharper text is more superficial than truly outstanding. Secret of Mana is a pleasant surprise for iDevices and a welcome one for handheld fans itching for a truly in-depth gaming experience; a classic well worth grabbing for RPG fans.
July 18, 2014
Gamepad support has been added.
Initially released in Japan in 1993, Secret of Mana took the world by storm with its innovative real-time battle system and gorgeously rendered world. It continues to stand out among other action RPGs for its seamless gameplay that anyone from beginner to veteran can enjoy.
One of the most memorable elements of the Mana series is the Ring Command menu system. With the single press of a button, a ring-shaped menu appears on the screen, where players can use items, change weapons, and do a variety of other actions without needing to switch screens. This Ring Command menu system for which the Mana series is so well known was first introduced in Secret of Mana and has since appeared in most games in the series.
Play as Randi and his two companions, Primm and Popoi, as they adventure all around the world. At the center of our epic story is the mystical power of Mana. Battle the empire in its quest for control of Mana. Befriend the eight elementals who wield the forces of nature itself. Numerous encounters await at every turn.
Additional Information (reference only):
ESRB Rating: E10+ with Mild Fantasy Violence and Mild Suggestive Themes