New Mana Game by Square Enix
Who would have thought that from being a spin-off of Final Fantasy, Mana would later establish itself as an equally successful game series? From Final Fantasy Adventure (the first Mana game launched in 1991), the game eventually expanded to multiple sequels and spin-offs. Originally trademarked as Seiken Densetsu, the series became known as Mana in the US and other countries outside Japan. Although the early version of this game is merely inspired by Final Fantasy, the sequels managed to provide the Mana franchise its own identity. For instance, the unique real-time battle system instantly separates the Mana series from the Final Fantasy titles that are known for their iconic turn-based combat.
All the Square Enix – Mana titles share some common elements including its signature Ring command system that allows the player to make decisions in the middle of battle. Appearance-wise, the series is known for its visually stunning graphics that will take us all to a magical world of “Mana”, bringing those fantasy books and imagery into life. The beautiful visuals are also accompanied by beautiful pieces of music from different well-known composers, a perfect fit for a story-driven RPG.
In celebration of its 30th Anniversary last year, Square Enix launched two of its classic Mana games (Trials of Mana and Legend of Mana) on the Play Store not just to give a nostalgic game experience to Mana fans but also to introduce the iconic game to a new generation of RPG lovers. The last Mana title (Rise of Mana) was launched in 2014 and was exclusively designed for mobile devices and PlayStation Vita. In an attempt to make it a mobile-friendly game, they introduced a new narrative and a free-to-play model similar to most mobile RPGs today. Rise of Mana, however, didn’t share the same success with other titles and the game was later discontinued in 2016. The recent releases from the franchise were either a 3D Remake or a Remastered version of their classic titles.
Introducing Echoes of Mana
Surprisingly, 8 years after the launch of the Rise of Mana, Square Enix is making another attempt for their Mana franchise to conquer the mobile platform. Echoes of Mana will be the latest addition to their lineup and is expected to be released this year. The game is now available in the Google Play Store for pre-registration.
Nothing much is known about the entire premise of this new Mana title but according to the official trailers that they released last year, the game will follow the story of two children and their newfound friends as they weave their way through worlds of patchwork in search of the sword of Mana’s secret.
Echoes of Mana features pseudo-3D graphics with anime-inspired character designs similar to Ragnarok. It also features a simplified swipe-and-tap battle system where every attack and skill can be executed through tap-based buttons. Apparently, Echoes of Mana will not be getting the same visual treatment as what Square Enix did with Trials of Mana (2020). Instead, players will be greeted to a 2D (or Semi 3D) environment similar to those fancy free-to-play gacha games and visual novel app games in Japan.
Interestingly, as the game embraces the mobile platform, it also highlights a great number of multiplayer elements including a co-op battle where you can team up with other online players to fight against tough bosses and to complete various missions.
What really makes Echoes of Mana special is the fact that the game is a homage to previous Mana titles. – Bravo to Square Enix. Think of it as the “Dissidia” of the Final Fantasy franchise where characters from previous titles are set to appear alongside the main character. This is where the game’s “gacha system” is strategically incorporated. As a gacha game, players may summon various heroes of the series either one by one or as a bundle using both free and paid currency.
Some of the featured characters from the past Mana titles include Sumo (Final Fantasy Adventure), Amanda (Sword of Mana), Dark Lord (Adventure of Mana), Julius (Final Fantasy Adventure), Randi Primm, Popoi, Thanatos from the Secret of Mana, Duran, Angela, Riesz, Hawkeye, Kevin, and Charlotte from the Trials of Mana, Shiloh and Serefina (Legend of Mana), Ferrik and Wanderer (Children of Mana), and more. These characters are also voiced by well-known Japanese voice actors like Miyuki Sawashiro, Kiko Uchiyama, Hiro Shimono, and more. Square Enix always does a great job with title.
If you are a big fan of the Mana series (or all square enix titles) and if you have been following the franchise ever since the first game, Echoes of Mana is definitely something you should add to your device. The game shares both nostalgic and new gaming experiences at the same time. They managed to incorporate some of the classic Mana elements while adding a new MMO approach to it. If you are up for a new Mana adventure, feel free to visit the Google Play Store now and pre-register!
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