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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Story, but Fun Gameplay
In truth, there really hasn't been a great Mana game since Secret of Mana back in 1993. Every Mana game since has been met with astonishing mixed feelings, and Children of Mana is no different. Why did I buy it knowing this? For the same reason many Mana fans continue to invest in Mana games. There's always hope that the next installment will give us the same joy that...
Published on 17 Jan 2007 by leonardo

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun in short doses
Here we have one of the most highly anticipated DS releases in the form of Children of Mana which, while fun at first, can become tiring rather quickly

Visually the game is quite impressive. No 3D elements, just nicely drawn classic top-down sprites, detailed backgrounds, smooth animation and subtle but effective visual effects. The presentation is very good...
Published on 6 Mar 2007 by Mr. W. A. Johnson


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Story, but Fun Gameplay, 17 Jan 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
In truth, there really hasn't been a great Mana game since Secret of Mana back in 1993. Every Mana game since has been met with astonishing mixed feelings, and Children of Mana is no different. Why did I buy it knowing this? For the same reason many Mana fans continue to invest in Mana games. There's always hope that the next installment will give us the same joy that Secret of Mana did. Unfortunately, Children of Mana does not do this. It doesn't rekindle the magic Secret of Mana gave us, but that shouldn't suggest it falls short of it either.

The world is in peril when a mana imbalance threatens to send the world back into the dark ages. It is up to a hero or heroine to stop this from happening and thus you'll set out to save the Mana Tree and the world itself. Children of Mana by no means has a great storyline going for it. At least where it falls short in story it more than makes up for in gameplay.

No matter how you look at it, Children of Mana is a dungeon crawler. It is an RPG, but it falls into the dungeon crawling category. When you enter dungeons they're just swarming with monsters, and you'll be surrounded before you know it. So you'll have to make your way through a dungeon battling everything in sight until you reach the boss, take him on, and then you're done. Rinse and repeat. The process does, at times become annoying, but Children of Mana offers some variety and interesting aspects to the gameplay to make up for it.

The first tidbit of interest is how combat works. It's actually pretty fun to go through dungeons killing things. It's surprisingly addictive for the first couple of hours. You've got three hit combos you can perform on enemies. You can knock enemies into other enemies. There's quite a bit of intersting things you can do. However, what also sets it apart from a lot of dungeon crawlers is that you can't ahead of yourself too fast. First and foremost, you can't equip and use everything you find right off the bat. The game will actually restrict you from using overly powerful weapons until you have access to certain dungeons or until you meet certain expectations. This keeps the game from being too simple too fast.

You'll also have access to magic, of course. Each time you go into a dungeon you can take a spirit with you and use the magic that spirit provides for you. It's interesting to play around with as well. In dungeons you can also dual wield weapons, although not in the way you'd think. When I say duel wield I specifically mean you can equip two weapons but only use one each time. So you can't go about swinging both of them at the same time, which probably would've added more variety to the gameplay otherwise.

Along the lines of giving your character a different assortment of weapons, you can also give them gems that can improve their stats or combat abilities. It's interesting, but not really all that deep. You'll mostly find or purchase these gems.

Another interesting aspect is that the game is completely linear should you decide to not to dwell into the many sidequests the game has to offer. Children of Mana is not shy about offering you side missions to go on, and they're actually pretty well worth it. However, should you decide not to do any sidequests, the game becomes extremely linear.

The problem with the gameplay, however is that this rinse and repeat formula becomes very tiring very fast. The objective in just about every dungeon is to find what's called a "Gleam Drop" and then bring it back to the "Gleam Well." It's annoying mostly because each dungeon plays out in the same way. Fight through a horde of enemies, retrieve the Gleam Drop, fight a boss and leave. Over time it becomes increasingly repetitive. Thankfully, Children of Mana has a great remedy for that too. It's multiplayer. Up to four players can play at a time, and the game is so much more fun that way. You and your friends can make your way through dungeons together, and sometimes it's just a blast to do. There are moments of slowdown when playing in multiplayer mode, but it's nothing to get too frustrated with, because it doesn't happen too often. The multiplayer alone adds a lot of variety and complexity to the gameplay.

As far as graphics go the game doesn't look too bad. The sprites look like they're ripped straight ouf of Sword of Mana... and the game is completely 2D. However, the Mana games have not been about taking graphics to the limit, they've been about its unique art style, which in Children of Mana is absolutely gorgeous. Its artwork is just beautiful to look at. Each environment is given extremely good detail. The only problem, as I mentioned, are that the sprites are not nearly as detailed. Musically, Children of Mana sounds fantastic. It's one of the best sounding DS games out to date. Very few of the current games hold a candle up to its fantastic soundtrack.

The bottom line is simple: Children of Mana is a very fun game to play with a very mediocre storyline. There's just enough variety and interest in the gameplay to keep one going for the adventure, even if the storyline is just not all that great to begin with. However, keep in mind that Children of Mana really is just a dungeon crawl, and it's uncrealistic to expect an RPG that's all about dungeon crawling to have a fantastic storyline that will blow you away. Also, even with its vast amount of variety in the gameplay, the whole rinse and repeat is so repetitive that some gamers may not even find the game worth going through at all.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun in short doses, 6 Mar 2007
By 
Mr. W. A. Johnson (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
Here we have one of the most highly anticipated DS releases in the form of Children of Mana which, while fun at first, can become tiring rather quickly

Visually the game is quite impressive. No 3D elements, just nicely drawn classic top-down sprites, detailed backgrounds, smooth animation and subtle but effective visual effects. The presentation is very good with some impressive cutscenes. These are very few and far between, but it keeps them special. The menus can be a little confusing at times - one example is if you pause the game during a battle, the default option is "Return" - choosing Return will return you to your home village, not to the battle. It is noted, but it will catch you out a couple of times and it can be quite annoying. The characters are well designed and the enemies and bosses are quite memorable

The sound isn't so good. Sounds effects are good and voiceovers are kept to a minimum which is something I appreciate while others think it may have benefited from them. But most importantly is the music. Typically games of this nature have an epic soundtrack and Square-Enix's other offerings in the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series are absolutely brimming with memorable, well-written tunes. And for a game that you will be playing for 20 hours plus a good soundtrack is almost compulsary unless you insist on having your own music on. But this is one aspect that the game is lacking. The soundtrack is completely forgettable, bland, and slightly repetitive. I can name one song which is worth a listen (Tower of Mana dungeon theme - awesome tune) but the rest is very lacklustre and not up to the usual standards of Square-Enix

And most importantly - gameplay. Navigation is simple - you have the main village where you live which is a very small setting and features 3 small buildings to look around, one being a shop. The rest is (I didn't count) - about 10 dungeons/battlegrounds. There is absolutely no exploration in the game and it makes the game feel really cramped. The game would have benefitted massively from a map you can explore such as in the Zelda games but in this game you are constantly just switching between battles and visiting your village, talking to a dozen characters to find out where you need to battle next. And this would be ok if the battles were really good, which they are... for the first few times. Some characters will offer you little sidequests (more battles) and you can choose jobs to do at the shop (more battles) but these aren't neccesary and are just another way of getting EXP points/extra money

The battles place you in a zone where you have dozens of monsters you need to kill. To progress to the next zone you need to find an item (Gleamdrop) and place it in the Gleamwell. The Gleamwell will appear when you have killed all the enemies of a certain type, it could be hidden in a pot, a bush or a treasure chest but the chances are you won't uncover it that quickly. The battles range from 4 zones to over 12 later in the game, and are unfortunately mighty repetitive. The system is like a dumbed down Devil May Cry where you have a number of weapons, and a limited amount of attacks. The most effect weapon is the sword and you rarely need to use the others unless attacking an unreachable enemy or removing an obstacle and you will find 99% of the game you will spend tapping A A A... A A A... A A A... it's fun at first but highly unrewarding and the battles drag out for far too long at times. Also, the difficulty is very oddly paced - the game starts out incredibly easy, half way through the game suddenly becomes very difficult. This difficult patch is very short, and the game becomes very easy again. For some reason, the bosses in the second half of the game take about 10 swipes with the sword - that isn't an exaggeration. Also, the last boss (which I won't spoil for you) is over incredibly early leaving the game with a bit of an anti-climax

You choose a spirit to accompany you and this can be changed any time you are in the village. The spirit, when summoned, will either attack the enemies with a magic attack or provide you with energy or power. There are a few spirits to choose from but tbh they really feel like an afterthought - they rarely need using at all.

With other RPGs/action adventures, occasionally you will be able to upgrade your weapon to a more powerful one with different properties. In this game, almost every time you level up a new weapon becomes available and they are all the same except the next one up has a more exciting name and offers 2 or 3 extra hit points. With you acquiring new weapons so frequently it feels unrewarding and repetitive as you will upgrade almost every battle. You will also obtain Gems with special powers (added attack/defense points, added health, immunity against poison etc) which is very similar to the Final Fantasy VII Materia system - you can equip upto 16 depending on your status. Gems can be combined but this costs a lot of money, is not reversible and very rarely gives you anything special.

The game is pretty well polished and provided you don't play for too long/too often fans of the genre should have fun with the game. But usually games of this type are engrossing and have you wanting to play more and unfortunately this isn't so with Children of Mana
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great game, but repetitive., 12 Jan 2007
By 
A. P "Persepolis" (Eastbourne, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
It's a great game. The graphics are beautiful, so you wont be let down there. Though it is, essentially, a dungeon crawler. Be wary of this before you buy it, because its lots of hack and slash around various dungeons over and over again.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World of Mana is back with a bang!, 16 Jan 2007
By 
Mr. Adam Riley "jesusraz" (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
The World of Mana is now in full flow over in Japan, but Europe is about to get its first dose of the action with Children of Mana, the début title in what Square Enix is hoping will be the full-on resurrection of a franchise that was unfairly left lying around, with just two recent updates in the form of the PSone's Legend of Mana and the remake of Seiken Densetsu, Sword of Mana (which was developed by an outside company - Nintendo's very own Brownie Brown). What people are eager to know, though, is whether this is a strong enough entry to jump-start the series once more...

Graphics: 9/10

Whilst it may not have 3D visuals, the artistic 2D style is simply stunning and mixed with batches animated cut-scenes, this is one of the most impressive DS games so far.

Sound: 8/10

The Mana games have always had amazing soundtracks, bustling with tunes that embrace you completely, not letting go - Children of Mana has some of these special tracks, but just not as many as prior outings.

Gameplay: 9/10

Unlike other games of this ilk, the dungeon crawling here is broken up expertly enough to ensure nothing becomes boring and is all in fact thoroughly enjoyable right up until the end...

Value: 9/10

The main quest itself is pleasantly time consuming, but mix in the numerous side-quests, multi-player adventuring and the seemingly endless possibilities when it comes to gem fusing, you will at least be looking at thirty hours easily.

Overall: 9/10

Gamers expecting a game in the same vein as Secret of Mana or Sword of Mana may come away disappointed by the gameplay change, but if you wander in with an open mind you will find that this transformation of the Mana world is fantastic. Dungeon crawling games can wear thin over time, but Children of Mana exudes enough class to last the whole adventure...
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3.0 out of 5 stars its ok., 14 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
It's ok and woth the buy. There is one or two things wrong with this game though. One thing is that the gameplay is not as very as many other games. Of what I played so far I most of the time I go round mashing the A buttion killing monsters. This normally dont brother me in games but as in this game it is about 95% of you do. Other then this is ok. The story is fine the soundtrack is wonderful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Happy days are here again!, 11 Sep 2013
By 
David Farrar (Cheshire. UK.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
This is an excellent game at a very reasonable price too. I have many a happy hour & days battling monsters. I borrowed a copy a few years ago & now I have my own!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cute fun adventure, 21 Jan 2007
By 
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
This is the fourth mana game I have played and I found this one a good contender allow not as deep or as long as Secret of Mana. The game style does involve hack and slash like previous Mana games. The graphics are very cute and the anime cut scenes are beautiful. While the game follows a very similar style it can get a bit repeative, especially if you keep dying. On the whole I found it an entertaing and most importantly fun to play and if you are a Mana and/or RPG fan this is worth buying.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Have I been here before? (US Review), 20 Jan 2007
By 
C. O'Connor "chrisuk5" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
Mana? The world needs it otherwise crazy stuff starts happening, and that is exactly how the game opens. Granted you pick from one of four characters and one of eight mana sprites (mana you can later change, but the character you cannot, but don't worry, the stories are exactly the same, I know because my girlfriend completed it with the rabbit!) Basically, the bad guy turns up, nicks the mana sword, threatens to destroy the world and it's up to you to stop him.

Now there isn't an emphasis on story, and this mainly takes a backseat to the action. The game is action based and you'll be able to control two weapons at once, a sword, a bow and arrow, a hammer and a chain, and you'll have to fight your way through dungeons collecting the crystal for the next area as you go along. Annoyingly you wont be able to change your weapon once selected after you enter the dungeon. As you battle, you gain experience which in turn levels your character up making him stronger. The boss battles are usually very impressive including a scorpion boss, a giant eye boss, and a phoenix, and others. The dungeons vary slightly, from buildings to jungles, but it still feels a little repetitive. On the downside, there is only one village where you commune in the game, and thus outside of the battles it feels limited as to where you can go. The game is very fast paced though.

Graphically, the game is pretty nice, there are a few other characters, but generally the game is good to look at. The music stands out as one of the high points with memorable tunes that stick in your mind.

So any big negatives? One. Massive levels of training can be required to progress through a section. Even compared to other RPGs this is pretty bad. Other than that, this is a fast, action packed game with some impressive features to keep you happy for a long time to come.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret of mana clone ? afraid not, 27 Jan 2007
By 
M. hill - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
If your getting this becouse you played the origanal secret of mana for the snes you will find some slight disapointment form this game. but nevermind it will pass!

The game itself you controle ONE person ( no party members ) unless you have a frend with a DS AND a seccond cartrage .. and then you can unlock multiplayer misions apparantly.

The spell syestem lets this game down form it's roots in Secret of mana .. you can only take ONE elament with you ant that elemrnt has two spells .. a offencive and a benifical .. fans of the masivly distructive spells will be let down here. It still would be possable to play the game as a pure mage but wouldn't be recomended to try :)

The gameplay is almost a series of small misions set from people tou talk to in your start town, ( there is also a 'shop' where you can 'buy' misions ror greater rewards ) and the lovable 'flammie' is your way of gettong around .. no tiresome wlaking around.

Despite not quuite living up to it's past I still rate this one of the best games for the DS. The playability is not let down by the lack of versitility in the spell system and the gem powerup system proves a powerful tool to powering op your stats.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very fun, 26 May 2007
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
I got this game because i liked the sound of it and nobody i know has it.

At the start of the game you can pick from four people each have a diffrent life story. The game is a little diffrent on who you pick so if you finish the game you can play it again but be a diffrent character because the game will be diffrent.

I found the fighting quite easy until i got to a higher stage and got very anoyed at it after a while.

This game is packed with action and mystery. I would deffinetly recomend it i love it!
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Children of Mana (Nintendo DS)
Children of Mana (Nintendo DS) by Nintendo (Nintendo DS)
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