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A possibly interesting game, but the bugs are preventing me from finding it

  • Muninn
  • 07/06/2012 08:31 PM
  • 310 views
Mana Quest is a game by NCP_Productions. It is in the same series as Mana Quest 2: Corruption of Kings, which seems to be completed even though the first is not.
As this game is not yet complete (as well as due to other factors, which I shall discuss later), this review may be rendered inaccurate in whole or in part by subsequent releases. I will try to update it with new information as necessary.

Summary
Mana Quest tells the tale of Princess Amber of Adena. For the past quarter-century, Adena has been enjoying plentiful harvests and much fortune. On the Princess's birthday, however, the royal court is visited by a foreign nobleman, Sir Goreington, who claims that the rest of the world has been suffering as a result of Adena's prosperity. Goreington promises that within one year, Adena will be destroyed and its Princess killed.

Not all is lost, though, because the King vaguely recalls a prophesy regarding the divine artifact, the Mana Stone. Princess Amber decides that she must set out to find the prophet who gave this prophesy, so that she may learn how to save the kingdom from destruction.

Story: Not particularly good, but it might become so later
From just what I played, the story was basic and not particularly attention-grabbing. Since the story was just getting started, however, it is hard to tell whether or not this is representative of the story as a whole, or merely the way the story begins.

Presentation: Not Spectacular, but rather well-done
I'm pretty sure Mana Quest uses the default RPGMaker VX Ace resources, although my lack of experience with the program means that I cannot say for sure. The graphics look nice and don't clash with each other stylistically, although there are some odd choices here and there (For example, one battle in a desert region provided me with a battle-background depicting volcanic crags)
Battle music was okay, but the game really excelled with town music. (Once again, this may or may not be default resources, but it was well-chosen).

Intended Gameplay: Rather Lacking
The only gameplay that I encountered in Mana Quest was combat using the default battle system. This area of the game was quite the disappointment, as there is only one party member (Amber), who has the sole battle options of "Attack" and "Heal". At Level 3, she gains the additional spell "Cure", giving her the option of healing Poison.
Battle in this game tends to be a very binary affair: Either you are intended to fight a group of enemies (Slimes, Hornets, Bats) and will quickly defeat them while taking minimal damage to yourself, or you are out of your level range (Large Snakes, Orcs, Wisps) and will be killed within one or two turns should you not take the chance to run away. The single exception to this occurs in the Northern Cave, where one room contains a single Orc who can be beaten around level 3, and another that contains a single Large Snake. However, due to the lack of combat options, even these fights consist solely of attacking when at full health and healing when below it. The outcome just happens to be a little bit closer than most other fights.

Gameplay Issues: Quite Unfortunate
From the beginning of this game, I was encountering bugs and questionable design choices. I will not bother to describe them here, because most of them are minor in the face of the three that I will describe.

- Firstly, the game can be broken by exiting the ship directly into a town. This prevents you from getting back on the ship.
- Secondly, there is massive variation in encounter difficult in several regions. I found a cave populated by Spiders and Rates, neither of which could do enough damage to be a threat to me. I then ran into a group of 3 Orcs, who killed me in a single round. Similarly, the first dungeon, The Northern Cave, contains Slimes and Bats (who aren't a threat even at 1st level), a Single Orc (just barely beatable after grinding to Level 3), and groups of 3 Wisps (Deal so much damage that every turn has to be spent healing, even at level 5).
- Thirdly, the game is unbeatable, because the Guard who prevents you from entering the Northern Cave also prevents you from leaving the cave, and cannot be made to move. Since the Northern Cave is a required dungeon, there is no way to advance the plot past "We must search for the prophet".

Final Verdict: Inconclusive. (N/A)/5 Stars
I don't think I can fairly say that I dislike Mana Quest. The story was simple and the gameplay was uninteresting, but my experience with this game was cut off so early that I can't in good conscience call it bad. I would like to see a version of this game that fixed the gamebreaking issues (and hopefully tuned of a few of the balance problems, as well)

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Muninn!
Thank you for reviewing the demo for Mana Quest 1!!! I was aware that there were many glitches in the demo. I glad you gave it a go and could give me some feedback. This was this first game I EVER attempted to create. So I was unaware of the character stats compared to the stock enemies. So there is a GREAT imbalance in the battle system. I also made this game while on the trial of RPGMaker VX ACE. So therefore there are many things that got done wrong. I tried taking on a much bigger project then I realized for such a short period of time. Mana Quest 2, which is actually complete, has similar issues.

In the Northern Cave there is a horrible glitch that traps you from going back to the kingdom. You should, however, be able to proceed to the house of the Wise Man beyond the cave in the forest. There you can pick up a second team member for the party.

Overall I agree with all the evaluations you have made of the game. There are many broken elements in this game. It was indeed a test run for me.

Thank you once again for taking the time to play and review what there is of the game to play.
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