Review by ParaFish

"Just a SNES version of Crystal Chronicles"

Children of Mana: DS Review

A SNES version of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles

Children of Mana for the DS has the same atmosphere and feel as most of the other mana titles. However, Square-Enix never seems to return to its original formula of Secret of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3. Does this new title live up to its name? Find out in the review.

Gameplay: 7
Like I said in the preview, this is no Secret of Mana. Does that mean its not fun? No it still has fun factor to it. The gameplay can be put simply as this. Children of Mana is basically a SNES version of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles for the Gamecube. You will not have to be confined by the Miasma this time around but you will have to search for a mana egg and place it on a pedestal of light to proceed through each floor of a dungeon. The game reminds me a lot of Shining Soul (GBA) or Shining Force (PS2). There are a lot of enemies on the screen and battle may seem like fast paced button smashing with little movement strategy. Enemies in the game do a good amount of damage, so you can't really rush into a pile of enemies swinging wildly. Your main strategy is to pick enemies off and move onto the next batch of foes till you can locate that mana egg. Combat may seem extremely repetitive. All 8 elementals are in the game but you can only equip one elemental at a time. This in turn means that you can only equip the 1 support and 1 attack spell assigned to the elemental you chose to equip for that dungeon. I found that spells were pretty useless and that weapon combat was a lot more practical. There is very little story in the game (basically just enough to define why you are in the dungeons). I enjoyed the game overall though. You should have the same degree of fun in multiplayer as you would in Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. Single player can be a drag sometimes but it is good if you want to play a dungeon here or there in your free time. The gameplay basically boils down to choosing a dungeon to fight in, traveling through that dungeon collecting items, defeating that dungeon's boss, arriving back in town to sell items and such. It's simple but sometimes simple is the way to go.

Graphics: 10
The graphics in this game are very colorful and full of life. The dungeons are beautifully detailed and a real treat to venture through. The Mana series has been known for its colorful bright worlds and beautiful landscape. The title definitely lives up to the series name in this aspect. Every world is exciting to visit and a variety of all the Mana series monsters are all here. The graphics consist of color and detailed sprites in a 2D world. Children of Mana: DS strongly resembles the graphics found in Legend of Mana (PS1). All in all the graphics were very pleasant to the eye and holds true to the nature of the Mana series.

Sound: 5
Sadly… nothing too memorable. It is your standard run of the mill RPG adventure music. Secret of Mana was known for its upbeat, emotional soundtrack. This title however lacks any enthusiasm in the music department. Basically the music and sound are just average, nothing legendary.

The mana series has never seemed to pull off the magic that was once Secret of Mana. Like Sword of Mana (GBA) and Legend of Mana (PS1), Children of Mana: DS has familiar elements that the Mana series is known for, but it just does not compare at all to Secret of Mana. It seems there is a lot of artistic enthusiasm in the game but no gameplay or music inspiration. In closing, this title was a good play through but it was just another average game. Nothing spectacular… nothing special.

Final Score: 7/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/03/06

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