Heroes of Mana review

  • Fresh take on the franchise
  • Excellent use of dual screens
  • Charming sights and sounds
  • Idiotic AI
  • Lots of slow down
  • Bad pathfinding

Once one of the premiere franchises in role-playing games, the Mana series has struggled to keep with the times. Its glorious 16-bit days have been followed up by a number of games ranging from mediocre to poor. A bold change was definitely required for Mana, and that's exactly what we have here in Heroes of Mana. The action-RPG gameplay the series was known for has been replaced by real-time strategy. Sadly, this exciting new direction is marred by numerous gameplay flaws.

Heroes of Mana is incredibly rife with potential. Its new style of gameplay takes excellent advantage of the Nintendo DS' dual screens, the graphics are charming, the story is decent, and there's plenty of Mana flavor to satisfy longtime fans. The RTS gameplay is pretty well balanced and engaging to boot. Unfortunately, the game feels like it could have used a few more months of refinement to reach its full potential.

The biggest and most annoying problem in Heroes of Mana is your team's intelligence. As you're commanding units, building up resources, and strategically taking over a map, you'll inevitably have a unit that'll piss off and not follow orders. Your lonely soldier boy will suffer from some horrific pathfinding or simply forget what he was supposed to do. This is likely to happen a few times per mission, which gets quite annoying. The elegant control scheme is rendered ineffective because you'll have to do a lot of hand holding with some of your troops.

Additional development time really would've gone a long way into improving Heroes of Mana. Aside from the aforementioned AI issues, the overall pacing and frame rate needs work. Addressing these elements of the game would have improved it immensely and really have emphasized the big genre change. Instead, we're left with another title that's pretty much what we expect from Mana these days - an average game (irrespective of the genre change) that's nothing compared to series' heyday.

More Info

Sep 14 2007 - DS (UK)
Available Platforms: DS
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Square Enix
Developed by: Brownie Brown
ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending
PEGI Rating:


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