If you read any of my reviews or listened to the Single Player Experience podcast, then you experienced me proclaiming that I hadn’t heard of a game before getting it for review, but was blown away when I played it. The latest example of this is the indie game, Mangavania. So what blew me away about the game and who is this game for?
Let’s dive into it.
What is this game? Mangavania is an action platformer, in which you are trying to run through the levels as fast as possible to get the best grade possible. Imagine Mario, if he was a ninja, and if he was in a black and white Manga and you understand mostly what this game is.
I normally don’t do this, but I’m going to provide the game’s description: “Join the adventure as Yuhiko, a young ninja who has gone to the underworld to find a cure for his brother. Free the lost souls to advance to the next level. Find Spirits in secret places – they will tell you a story or give you advice. Explore dungeons, fight monsters and meet new friends!”
The reason I gave you the description of the game is because the game does a poor job of telling you what the game is about. I kid you not, I’ve played this game for many hours at this point and I knew nothing about the game’s story until I read that description. I couldn’t tell you what this game is about, who the main character is, or why we any doing any of these actions. So if you are a gamer that needs a strong narrative then this isn’t the game for you.
I just complained about the narrative aspect of the game, but despite that I put in a ton of hours into this game. I know you are probably wondering why. The reason is because of Mangavania’s tight and addicting gameplay. In this game you play through 20 levels; each that gets tougher and tougher than the last.
To beat a level you have to successfully find and hit 3 different soul bats. If you do that you unlock the door to the next level. Walking through that door marks the end of the level and you get graded for how fast you beat the level. It sounds simple, but there are tons of enemies and traps in your way that makes this a challenging task to accomplish.
Add to that, this game has different abilities that you can unlock. As you get graded at the end of the levels you are given points according to your grade. These points are used to buy the new abilities. These new enhancements change everything. For example, being able to double jump or shoot arrows at enemies changed my playstyle completely. This upgrades also allowed me to go back to previous levels and get better grades on them. There is a lot of replay value here.
The Presentation and Artstyle:
Let’s dive into Mangavania’s artstyle. It isn’t everyday that I play a pixel art game that committed to a monochrome color scheme. For many this will be the deciding factor on whether or not you will play this game. Do you like the black, white and red aesthetic or do you think it’s bland and off-putting?
I think that this choice was the right one. While the game won’t blow you away visually it does stand out from the endless amount of indie games feature a pixel based artstyle. I do want to shout out that the main character, all the enemies, and each level, are well designed.
A negative of Mangavania is the game’s soundtrack. While the sounds presented aren’t bad, they aren’t memorable either. Furthermore there isn’t a lot of tracks to listen to so you are stuck listening to a short playlist over and over again.
Another aspect of the game that won’t appeal to a lot of gamers is the lack of a difficulty slider. If you don’t want a challenging game then you should skip this one. I enjoyed the challenge of each level, but the inability to scale it down is something that will probably turn many off to the game.
Overall/Should You play Mangavania:
If you are a fan of action platformers then the answer is a yes. This is a cheap game that you can get for around $5 that will give you lots of enjoyment. While it does have its faults like the lack of a difficulty slider, the soundtrack and its narrative this is a game that is an easy game to recommend. If you like games like 2D Mario and Castlevania then you should check this game out.
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