So after the massive lack of gaming with the region locking hoo ha previously, I got my paws on one of the Mana series: Children of Mana. It's for DS, so works everywhere. Finished it in just over 12 hours, and I had my pre-final-boss save at level 49. I did one or two side quests but they seemed to be bog standard retrieval quests so I decided to just power my way through the main storyline.
Maybe I'm getting jaded but I found this title just not catching my heart. The art, music and controls are top notch - it's mainly that the game is more or less a variant of young-kid-saves-the-world. Again. But with a twist, he does not get the girl in the end. Yup, getting jaded.
If I really wanted to, there's 3 other characters to play with but just not feeling it. The boss fights are surprisingly simple, in fact one of the main bosses (Mana Lord) was giving me the willies due to the visuals but... got taken down by pure simple button mashing >.> The last boss was surprisingly easy as well, seemingly 3 attack patterns, that's it.
The only boss that gave me a really hard time, was the boss made out of the "revenants". According to the game clock, I spent half an hour just taking that sucker down >.> What's more amusing, is I killed it offscreen, without knowing how I did it >.> Evidently, yours truly was taking down the boss the wrong way.
Watching some youtube vids, it seems like all I needed to do was knock some broken masonry at the boss, that was it, as regular weapons do no damage in its gestalt form. I only tried that as my very last hit, randomly swinging the hammer to hit a piece of that specific masonry... and it went offscreen... and killed the boss offscreen.... >.>
The hard way (tm) was to wait till the boss splits up into revenants and then attacking the one with glowing eyes. Which is not only really difficult to see on a DS, you could not see the glowing eyes if the target was facing you with its back to the screen!
The main part of the game, which is dungeon crawling, revolves around finding a portal, and a "gleamdrop", a key that will open said portal and take you to the next level of the dungeon. I was button mashing for most of the game, but later stages challenge you with large packs of monsters that will surround you and give you a good beating, so a more tactical approach (read: keep distance and use multi-arrow attack from afar, wash and repeat) needed to be taken.
But that was it basically, going into dungeons over and over to move the storyline forward. It became very repetitive as there were no puzzles, nothing majorly different between dungeons - basically just different tiles for the dungeon and new critters for the later stages, with some recolours.
Music wise, it's really well done, but I can't really say I got a theme down in my head. The strongest impression I have of the music is the final boss fight, that was some nice pipe organ music - which immediately reminded me of FF6's 3 god fight.
A few FMVs abound in the game, short, but pretty good. I have a feeling the same company that did the FMVs for Solatorobo did these, they have a very similar feel and style.
I have Radiant Historia arriving sometime this week, hopefully it will be less hack and slack dungeon crawler than Children of Mana.