If you're on the market for an old school action role-playing game that'll keep you reasonably entertained for a good few hours, you can't really go wrong with Adventures of Mana. Released on mobile devices earlier this year, it's a remake of Game Boy title Final Fantasy Adventure – or Mystic Quest as it was known in Europe. Despite its transition from 2D to 3D visuals, this is a release that retains its traditional feel, and even though it'll never take you by surprise or go out of its way to impress, it's still capable of scratching that retro itch.
In many ways, Adventures of Mana plays a lot like an older Legend of Zelda game. You view your hero from a top down perspective as you navigate an overworld map that houses small towns and dungeons, and as you move from one screen to the next, enemies spawn in and take to patrolling the immediate area. The overworld itself is full of dead ends and branching paths, making it seem maze-like at times, but a minimap is on hand to at least give you a better idea of where you're going – although it's worth mentioning that the minimap can actually be disabled if you're looking for the full old school experience.
When it comes to gameplay, things don't get much simpler than what's on offer here. X is your one and only attack button, allowing you to take a swing with whichever armament you currently have equipped. From swords and spears to clubs and chain flails, there's a decent amount of weapon variety – each instrument of destruction boasting its own unique attack.
Combat, as you can imagine, isn't a complex affair. Hit and run tactics are the order of the day, smacking your foes a couple of times before stepping away to avoid retribution. Standard enemies pose no real threat unless you're unfortunate enough to get swarmed from all sides, but bosses are at least a little more engaging thanks to defined attack patterns.
In some cases, weapons can also be useful outside of combat. The sickle, for example, lets you slice through thick vegetation, which can lead to the discovery of new areas. Slowly but surely, you'll build up an arsenal that's as deadly as it is practical, gradually giving you the tools that are required to progress through the game. It's simple, traditional design, and in this age of big open world titles, it's arguably quite refreshing.
Much like its gameplay, Adventures of Mana likes to keep its story simple and to the point. It's a classic tale of good versus evil – a heroic knight and a fair maiden saving the world from a power hungry baddie – but it's told with a degree of charm. The only potential problem with the narrative is that it's easy to forget what you're actually doing. Plot points tend to come and go in the blink of an eye, and if you're not paying attention, you can miss a line of dialogue that acts as your only insight into the current scenario.
Visually, Adventures of Mana proves to be a colourful if uninspired fantasy jaunt. The Vita's screen does help the 3D models pop on occasion, but by and large, its looks are serviceable at best. In contrast, its reworked musical score is surprisingly good, featuring some catchy little tunes – although the repetitive dungeon theme can certainly grate over time.
The role-playing genre has come a long way since 1991, but that doesn't mean Adventures of Mana should be cast aside. The simplicity of its gameplay makes it a nice portable snack, and as a faithful remake of a Game Boy title, it's hard to fault – just don't expect to get too excited over this dusty old quest.
The GBA remake is a better remake in almost every way but this stays true to the original in both content and gameplay. It's a matter of what you'd prefer. And it's not like the GBA version is available anymore so... I prefer the character designs in this. They are simple yes, but they are easier to accept. Don't know how to explain it. That was perhaps the single thing I hated about the GBA remake. This game goes for a much more perhaps timeless fairy tale look.
I think you SHOULD play this first if you haven't played a Mana game. Then you should go for the SNES games and finally the GBA remake/imagining of the first game. And if you still haven't had enough you can always try the GB original and the DS games. Wait, there's probably a PS1 game too that I personally haven't played yet.
Uh, opinions aside, Mana, it exists and it's back.
Secret of mana is definitely in my top 10 favorite games. I wish there was a modern sequel that kept some of the style. Honestly, I'd even go for a remake. That being said, I can't play this because I don't have a vita and I'm not huge on buying iOS games.
Looking forward to this game. Two question: can you save anytime? How long is the game?
how come pushsquare did not review zero time dilemma?
As soon as it's on sale it is going to be mine!
@ztpayne7 If you have a SNES there are places online that you can get a repro cartridge of Secret of Mana 2 which is the sequel to Secret of Mana.
The Mana series as it is called here is actually called Seiken Densetsu in Japan. This game is the first game in that series while Secret of Mana, or Seiken Densetsu II as its called in Japan is the second one. Seiken Densetsu III which is the third game in the series was never released outside of Japan. However through fan translations it can be found as Secret of Mana 2 through various outlets. Each game can be played on its own or together for a bigger story.
Final Fantasy Adventure is one of my favorite GB games, so I picked this up as soon as I could. I'm a good ways into it now and am having a blast with it.
Im on the fence but if buying this shows Square that theres still a fanbase on the Vita which in turn leads to a Setsuna port, Im down
Playing it right now. Had to restart after 3 hours in as I messed up on the levelling which would stop me getting that plat.
6 seems fair, but I REALLY love the soundtrack. It feels so nostalgic & I've never even played the originals!
@brendon987 You can save anytime you like & it autosaves pretty frequently.
I needed this to complete the Mana collection.
I wish they tightened the combat up a bit and fixed the random enemies that spawn literally on top of you. Other than that, a decent release.
@brendon987 You can save everywhere. The game is not very long by todays standards but it's not super short either. Or that depends on if you know what to do and if you spend time grinding. All the puzzles are pretty much identical to the GB version.
Is this available on PS3 as well?
@Rukiafan7 Nope, Adventures of Mana is Vita exclusive.
I'm going to buy a Playstation TV just to get this game.
And I only want this game because Secret of Mana is sooooooo good.
I want there to be a remaster of ALL of the old Squaresoft games.
Especially Bahamut Lagoon, and Alcahest and Live a Live and ALL OF THEM. Treasure Hunter G.
Vagrant Story HD Remaster!!!
@vitalemrecords I meant console/handheld wise it's Vita exclusive. I don't count iOS.
@ToddlerNaruto lol - okay?? I don't count vita then. Game has never come out. I win.
@vitalemrecords I was never trying to compete or win? XD
@ToddlerNaruto just joshin
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