"Seiken Densetsu Meets Crystal Chronicles"

So, I just finished my first of two imports for my DS. The name of the game, as you should know, is Children of Mana. I'm not one for introductions most of the time, so let's just cut to the actual review.

Controls:

The control structure of this game is adequate. You have two forms of attack, one with A and one with X. You assign one of four different weapons to these buttons, which are the chain, the hammer, the sword, and the bow. It allows for something different, instead of just a hack and slash limited to one weapon at a time. All 4 weapons have have three different kinds of attack: The default attack, a special attack, and a fever attack. The default attack is a button press. The special attack requires you to charge your weapon, and the fever attack requires you to be in Fever mode and charging your weapon. It does pretty decent damage. A bit about the Fever mode: When you kill enemies, your Fever gauge rises. Once it's maxed, you can hit select to be able to use your fever attacks, which kill enemies quickly.

The menus are easy to navigate. You can use the touch screen for this, but I found that throughout the game, it just isn't worth using the touch screen, when the directional pad moves much faster. Your standard game menu allows you to save, equip items, equip gems, check your status, exit a dungeon. There's a 6th option, it was never selectable for me, I assume it's for multiplayer support (Trading items, etc. I don't really know though).

As for talking to people, usually you have two options, whatever the character is used for, like a shopkeeper, and then the option to talk to them. Primary options include shopping, changing your elemental, and training.

Sound:

I found that this game has a good soundtrack. It's decent at times, the boss themes aren't too bad, and I only found one track to be annoying in a dungeon, primarily because it was calm and tranquil as opposed to the environment, where you're killing things.

Game Play:

You're going to run around and kill things. This is the premise of the game. Kill enemies, defeat the boss, go back to town, buy and equip new items and gems, talk to everyone, head to the next dungeon. At this point, you're wondering why anyone would want to play this game. Well, it's fun. The dungeons are all varied, and based on a theme. The environments, to an extent, can be destroyed and interacted with. Enemies can be knocked back into each other (This can get fun with the hammer, causing chain reactions). There's a magic system, I don't recommend using it much, because it's worthless. I used three elementals throughout the whole game: Salamander, Shade, and Wisp. However, they had cool effects. Salamander dealt fire damage, Shade could deal damage or turn you invisible, and Wisp could heal you for 30 HP (This gets worthless later on) or deal damage. Side quests exist too. There's an agency in the mall that hires you out for money and items to do different objectives, which mainly consist of head to dungeon and kill all enemies, or get to a certain floor. You get paid, gain a level hopefully, it's not too bad. There's other side quests with characters too, which net you special items, but I didn't do any of these. The actual dungeon levels consist of bringing a mana egg to a mana portal. There are four ways to obtain it: Destroy parts of the environment, open treasure chests, kill a certain enemy, or kill all enemies. The portals usually have to be found by destroying something with the hammer. Every four levels, with the exception of the final dungeon, which ended up being every five, has a respite. It brings up a menu where you can choose to change equipment, change gems, save, or leave. It's useful and convenient. This game has multiplayer. I believe all players involved must have a copy of the game, and there is no WiFi with other players across the world, but it's a fun little romp together.

Graphics:

The graphics in this game most resemble Sword of Mana and Legend of Mana. They're great and full of life. The levels are all themed to their specific element, which changes it up a bit. I believe the world we're going for to describe the graphics is vibrant. The character and monster sprites all fit in, and a good portion of the Manaverse monsters make a return, however, no rabites until the third dungeon.

Conclusion: 8/10

I found this game to be a worthy import title. It comes out in English at the end of this month, so, pick it up if you want all the details on the story, or if you prefer your games in English. This game does warrant a $30 purchase, and try to get a few of your friends to pick it up too so that you can enjoy the multiplayer fun that should come with it.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/09/06


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