Backstory (2 out of 5)
There are always translation issues with any foreign game and Mana Chronicles is no exception. The most obvious oddity is the fact that Lucifer is a pretty Anime girl, leading the hordes of hell, in an invasion to wipe out mankind. The reason behind the invasion is also unexpected, as the purpose is to stop humans from destroying the world - surely we can all sympathize with that?
In any case, you’ll kick off the action as a pretty minion of Lucifer’s called Fratley, before taking on the role of Leon; the last remaining human leader. Imbued with a bit of help from God (Mars in this case - yes it is confused), you capture Fratley and get to use her as a second in combat. The crazy storyline has little impact on the actual game, which is essentially a side scrolling hack and slash, with some RPG elements thrown in.
Controls (3 out of 5)
Touchscreen controls are always tricky and in Mana Chronicles you have an onscreen directional control at the bottom left (up, down, right and left). On the bottom right of the screen you’ll find your various weapons and powers. It’s pretty accessible and easy to pick up and play.
Gameplay (3 out of 5)
For a game billing itself as an RPG, Mana Chronicles is far too action focused. It actually reminds me most of Double Dragon (except far more basic). You walk along from left to right, hacking and slashing enemies until they die. At the end of each level you’ll find a boss to dispatch. There are occasional chests to open up for power ups, but all your leveling up and new powers are unlocked automatically as you progress. The more combos you pulled off during the level, the more points you get at the end. You can flick open your inventory and select armor and extra items, but it is pretty limited.
Each level essentially consists of walking along until you see some enemies, turning back to create some space and then unleashing sword combos and ranged attacks on them until they die. Now walk forward to find the next batch and rinse and repeat until you reach the end. It is a real button masher, and there is little tactical challenge, apart from switching swords for specific opponents and unleashing your powers at the right time. You can use Fratley as a supercharged destroyer and make short work of the more challenging bosses.
Graphics and Sound (4 out of 5)
The art style is very cute and this is probably the strong point of the game. You have an overall map to select individual levels from, and each chapter starts (and sometimes ends) with a text based conversation cut scene. The isometric view works well and the visual effects are quite good.
The action is backed up by a decent variety of music and the sound effects do their job.
Verdict (3 out of 5)
Mana Chronicles offers a campaign mode which is fairly short, but it is quite fun. If you like side scrolling hack n’ slash action then you’ll enjoy this. There really isn’t much more to it. Mana Chronicles on iPhone will set you back $1.99 and on Android it costs $2.24.
This is another title from Spearhead Entertainment and we also recently reviewed their Phoenix Spirit game.