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LIBERATION MAIDEN Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on March 7, 2013


LIBERATION MAIDEN
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Boss battles with an epic scale; fight dozens, if not hundreds of minions while trying to beat down a tower of death.
  • Bonus missions mix up the basic formula.
  • Background story has Suda51's distinctive and quirky style written all over it.

CONS

  • Gameplay depth exhausted by the second level; new ideas never really explored beyond their introduction.
  • Short campaign (4 missions and 1 giant boss stage) ends up feeling like a prelude to an unfinished title.

VERDICT

Liberation Maiden may be short, but its Zone of the Enders-lite gameplay ramps up quickly and ends on a high note, making it worthwhile even if it does leave you wanting for more.


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Before releasing Liberation Maiden on to the App Store, Level-5 and Grasshopper had the option of putting the game back on the drawing board to enhance and otherwise improve on what was a decent - if short and unsatisfying - shooter. Instead what we're treated to is a version that makes good use of the touch-screen, and has at least added left-handed controls, but still leaves the player wanting for more.

You play the role of the now-deceased President's teenage daughter who has been elected to run the country in his stead. Strange as that sounds, it only gets weirder as she then proceeds to jump astride her giant mech, plowing head-first in to a war zone against the Dominion and their corruptive Conduit Spikes.

If you've played Zone of the Enders you'll be familiar with the basic gameplay of flying around and strafing enemies from the sky, while dragging your finger across the screen to target and unleash a volley of deadly projectiles. However the game utilizes a risk-reward mechanic whereby the missile charges (called 'Deflector Nodes') are also used to shield you from damage directed at your mech. Absorbing damage will also deactivate nodes, making your offensive strikes weaker as well, but for each enemy you destroy, more will be reactivated.

It's a juggling act that proves to be overwhelming at first, but once you're familiar with the give-and-take style of combat the game quickly settles in to a familiar pattern of 'destroy enemies in an area, and kill three smaller spikes in order to fight the final giant spike'. Said 'spikes' are also lacking in variety and are content to throw the same missiles and lazers at you, while the bosses simply add one extra obstacle to avoid compared to the last one.

Thankfully the game is over before the violent repetition turns in to boredom and leaves you with one last epic boss battle to save New Tokyo. It's just a shame that bonus missions, unlockable media, and different difficulty levels don't provide enough incentive to stick around beyond the 30 minute or so gameplay of Liberation Maiden.

If nothing else the iOS version provides a cheaper way to experience Goichi Suda's micro-shooter, so it's not all doom and gloom.

Screenshots

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