Saturday, 13 June 2015

Review - Lord of Magna Maiden Heaven 3DS

Maiden Heaven is a place on Earth

Lords of Magna Maiden Heaven is the latest title developed by the minds at Marvelous, featuring a dream team of staff from the smash hits Rune Factory and Harvest Moon this latest title digs it's claws into a more Strategy RPG style of gameplay.Will the game be the bountiful harvest it should be or will it just be an obscure rune on the EShop?

Lords of Magna is available NOW from the Nintendo E-Shop priced at £24.99. 
Review code provided by Marvelous 

As most people are aware this title as with Rune Factory & Harvest Moon were a little up in the air after the recent bankruptcy and licences changing hands, fortunatly Marvelous kept this title going and had so much faith in it that they reassembled a somewhat "dream team" to finish and realize there vision, now thanks to the wonders of EShop you too can find out why they made the push to deliver this title. 

The game stars the lovable Luchs, proprietor of a small village inn. Promising his late father that he would run the inn and treat every customer like family, naturally no one comes to the village until the very events of this game.

One day while discussing the fate of the Inn, Luchs heads to the nearby cave aiming to gather some crystals to sell on and cover overheads. Of course it doesn't pan out quite right, monsters turn up and just as it's about to get rough Luchs finds Charlotte trapped in Crystal. 
Smothered in mystery and apparently combat prowess Charlotte quickly deals with the monsters and thus our journey of friendship and values begins.

Throughout the game you'll meet one of the best casts around as of late, between quirky residents of the village, new maidens and the side cast. The game is almost Visual Novel like in between combat (think Tears to Tiara) so you get helpings of character development with sprinklings of fan service for those who enjoy it, it's certainly not Senran levels but there is the flash of leg, maid outfits and subtle writing aplenty. 

Visually the game is stunning, vibrant colours aplenty and visually appealing character art. The character models themselves are animated quite nicely with subtle movements which bring the model to life. The only issue is sometimes during the story scenes the models act like they have tank controls and skip a tonne of animation frames, it's a little off putting but the majority of the time you are treated with some quality and warm designs.

The audio is a treat in this title, a well done vocal dub and pleasing background songs await you, nothing amazing to write home about but the music does it's job and in places has that nice warm feeling you need for this game. As mentioned the game is dubbed which is usually something to worry about but the voices here are all quire well done, not every sentence is dubbed so it's a little off at times when the characters just grunt or utter one word but the overall quality of the dub is great.

Gameplay as mentioned earlier really has two phases, you have the Visual Novel style story telling then the battles, do have to mention that there is a little bit where you can explore and talk to people but you don't really do much here bar bridging the gap between VN and Battle. The battle system is one of the most interesting yet painful things about this game, think if you will that someone decided Pinball would work as a turn based strategy game and you get the basic idea.

Like in most SRPG systems it's a turn based affair, within this you also have to factor in AP which is built each turn, higher moves require more AP. Each move has a certain radius hit can hit so that is also a factor, the move will then send it's target/s back, here is where the pinball factor comes into it.When an enemy hits another one it creates a combo, hit 10+ you get another turn, use this to your advantage and you'll dominate the battle sections, naturally you'll have various special skills to help you along with wider or further hit radius, status effects and other RPG staples, The enemy count on this game works great with this system, it's like Dynasty Warriors level of enemies at times so strike lucky and watch the combo rise!.
As good as this sounds on paper unfortunately it does have a few problems, sometimes it just doesn't work for you, the enemy counts make turn taking a time slogging affair & finally the game doesn't really challenge you after a certain point so it just becomes a little ho hum.

All in all it's an interesting little title with some brilliant narrative and character development, unfortunately pacing seems off towards the later half of the game as characters get introduced and don't get as much development. Battle system starts off good but never really evolves with the game and the difficulty doesn't help matters by being a walk in the park. This is a nice feel good title with some great writing, there is potential in this to make a truly great game and I hope we see another title with the issues addressed, you'll be hard pushed to find another title like this on the 3DS and is a perfect title to move on to after the likes of Rune Factory 4.


Who Should Buy This?

  • Fans of Harvest Moon/Rune Factory/Hometown Story 
  • If you enjoy Visual Novels 
  • Looking for something unique with a feel good theme 

Who Should Avoid This? 

  • If you want some hardcore RPG action 
  • Walls of text ain't yo' thing
  • Wanting a deep and engaging battle system 

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