An RPG for everyone
Secret of Mana has always been one of my favourite games of all time. Its gameplay, art, and music was the spark for everything I love today. This 16-bit classic was ahead of it’s time, and certainly a soft spot for many gamers. I recently played through this gem again in preparation for the HD remake, and once again I found myself whistling along to the music and getting sucked back in.
Secret of Mana’s story follows Randi, an orphan boy, and his newfound friends Primm and Popoi in their quest to save the world from complete destruction. It’s a cliche concept, but it doesn’t put a damper on the game in the slightest. With solid combat, a wonderful soundtrack, and a world to get lost in, it’s a hard one to put down.
Throughout the game you will collect new weapons and elementals to cast magic, which makes up the bulk of the game. You level up characters, weapon skill, and magic by fighting an array of creatures and baddies. The combat consists of attacking and waiting for your stamina gauge to fill back up to 100%. This works kind of like a primitive stamina bar from today’s games. Weapons gain power by collecting orbs from bosses, that are then brought to the dwarf blacksmith Watts. Weapons and magic level up through use in combat, which can be a bit tedious at times, but give a significant advantage with a bit of investment.
All of the areas you travel to have a distinct atmosphere that keeps you looking forward to the next section of game. Most larger towns offer an item shop to stock up on items/armor, and an inn to heal up/save the game. This game carries an infectious soundtrack that you’ll be humming long after you shut the game off. Each tune fits the area you’re currently in, and helps keep pace of the game very well.