Review by PurestProdigy

Reviewed: 07/16/07

An innovative portable action RPG

This game is an interesting spin-off of the Final Fantasy series that shares many of its themes and delivers a wonderful storyline with very few flaws. It has an innovative level up system, impressive monsters, a great battle system and plenty of lifetime. It’s definitely comparable to the original Legend of Zelda in terms of game play, but has a much improved fun factor compared to that game.

The story describes an all powerful Tree of Mana. A man known as Dark Lord is searching for this tree in order to take over the world. The character you play as is a nameless boy fighting day after day in the Dark Lord’s arena. Everyday, his friends die from the battles they face in the arena, and one day he decides to escape. And the journey begins… It’s the same old Good vs. Evil, Light vs. Dark theme that is present in many RPG’s but this game’s storyline does a great job of making it sound non-superficial. The game has some dark points in it and the mood is not always happy, thereby creating a shadowy theme for the plot.

The graphics are what can be expected for such an old system. You have your character GIF un-impressively swinging his sword around, and the spell animations lack the excitement of others in the series. The monster design however is quite original, and the bosses are incredibly impressive. The storyline scenes aren’t especially extraordinary (don’t expect any CG cinemas!), but they get the point across. The environment is also quite bland and you move from room to room or place to place by watching the screen scroll to the next area. The game’s world map itself is simply a series of blocks with the block your character is in bolded in black.

The gameplay is superior in comparison to similar games such as The Legend of Zelda, but that’s to be expected being that that game is so much older than this one. After the opening sequence, you are placed straight into battle without warning! After this first battle, the game is incredibly easy to pick up, but as you get further, expect the difficulty to increase a lot. The game’s bosses can be tricky, but using the new experience system can make things easier for you. Every time you level up, you can choose to add extra points to either your power, stamina, wisdom, or will. This grants freedom to a player in terms of them being able to choose how to balance their player. As for actual battle, it’s the same general hack-and-slash that we’ve all seen before. You get spells later on in the game, and when your battle gauge at the bottom of the screen fills up, you can use your special attack. This gauge will fill up faster if you choose to increase your will when leveling up. If you increase your will enough you will have another special attack available for your use.

This game is also long. For a game boy game, it’s actually incredibly long, but it’s worth it. Expect to take about twelve or so hours to beat it if you plan on picking it up. This makes the save function on this game so incredibly convenient. It’s almost impossible for the game boy’s batteries to last as long as you will normally take to beat this game. And it’s also convenient because your character may die often while playing, or you just feel like taking a break. I’m not saying it’s impossible to beat it in one sit, I’m just saying that it’s not likely.

Overall, this game is pretty impressive for a game boy game, and an excellent step into a new series. For a game of its time, it has great gameplay, innovative features, and superior graphics to other games of its era and genre. Hopefully, if you decide to pick it up, you will spend countless hours enjoying this game as I did.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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