Originally released in Japan back in June of 2017, Collection of Mana has made its way to North American shores via Square Enix. It was released digitally a few months ago in June and now we have a physical retail release. This game exclusive to Nintendo Switch, Collection of Mana features the three games in the Mana series in all their retro glory.
If you are a new fan looking to play the classics or a long-time fan looking to relive fond memories, the Collection of Mana is a perfect fit for you.
Collection of Mana Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Square Enix Co., Ltd.
Publisher: Square Enix Co., Ltd.
Genre: Role-playing gaming
Modes: Single player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Three classic games in one incredible collection
This all-in-one collection includes Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana and for the first time in the West—Trials of Mana aka Seiken Densetsu 3. Here is a brief overview of the story from each of the three games.
Final Fantasy Adventure
After being captured, imprisoned and forced to fight for your life against monsters everyday—the hero makes a narrow escape from the Dark Lord’s clutches. Before his escape, the hero’s friend tells him to find a Knight by the name of Bogard. After fleeing the castle, the hero stumbles upon a meeting between the Dark Lord and Julius.
You overhear the Dark Lord’s plans: find the key to the Mana Sanctuary and take control of the energy source that sustains life, the Mana Tree. After being detected by The Dark Lord and Julius, the hero is thrown over a waterfall and becomes unconscious.
After waking, the hero finds himself in a strange and unknown land. As he wanders the land, he stumbles upon the heroine in distress and saves her from a monstrous attack. After the hero and heroine become friends, they learn that they both are seeking Bogard and set out to find him and put a stop to the Dark Lord’s plans.
Secret of Mana
The story in Secret of Mana takes place after a war between a civilization and its gods. After exploiting Mana to build the Mana Fortress, a flying warship, the gods are angry. As a result, the gods send gigantic beasts to punish the civilization. Using the power of the Mana Sword, a hero destroyed the fortress and returned peace to the world.
As the world begins to recover, an empire is looking for the eight Mana Seeds to restore Mana to the world and to restore the Mana Fortress.
Trials of Mana
The Goddess of Mana fought a war against the eight Benevodons. Upon defeating them, she sealed them within the eight Mana Stones and then turned her self into the Mana Tree and fell asleep. It is now many years later during a time when Mana is starting to fade and pace has ended.
A plot to free the Benevodons is underway, with the ultimate goal of gaining supreme power both magically and politically.
Classic 90’s JRPG gameplay
Getting into the games from the Collection of Mana might be a bit daunting for some. These games are over 25 years old and aside from being able to save anywhere you want instead of only at save points, no modernization to gameplay have been made. Games at the time were not as accessible as they are today and thus requiring trial and error to be successful.
There are no tutorials and you have to pay attention to everyone you talk to. The clues they give you might not be as straightforward as you think. For instance, sometimes you will need to find hidden passageways to advance that are obvious unless you are looking for them. It reminds me of the days when I kept notes for each of these games and maps that I drew myself to navigate around the world.
Having said this, it was eye opening to see the gameplay evolution between each of the three games as they were released roughly 2 years apart from each other.
Authentic retro visuals true to their original form
In addition to keeping gameplay true to each of the game’s original releases, Square Enix kept the visuals true to their roots. Each of the games have several screen filters that allow you to customize the visuals to your liking. Each of the SNES games are colourful and the sprite work is just as impressive as it was all those years ago.
Sound wise, everything is spot on. And, I was quite impressed with the Trials of Mana soundtrack. It’s almost hard to believe that it was originally produced on a console without a CD drive. The SNES’s sound chip is still impressive by today’s standards.
Collection of Mana is a great way to relive classic Square-Enix RPGs from the 90’s
With a 3D remake of Trials of Mana scheduled for next year, the Collection of Mana is a great way for those new to the series to get a jump start. And, for long-time fans, it’s a great way to relive these games in all their glory. In my opinion, the real gem in this collection is Trials of Mana. It’s incredible to think that game is 24 years old and is just now getting an English translation.
M2 did a great job in emulating each of the game’s visuals, controls, and sounds. The ability to save anytime and anywhere you want is a nice touch and makes the difficulty level of these games more acceptable by today’s standards.
If you are a fan of Japanese role-playing games and the Mana series, I highly recommend the Collection of Mana. If you are new to the series, expect a learning curve during the first few hours of each game. Though it may seem difficult at first, the reward of playing classic games such as these are is well worth it.
+ Virtually perfect emulation for each of the three games
+ Trails of Mana finally gets an English translation and it’s fantastic
+ Great way to get ready for the Trials of Mana remake coming next year
+ You can save anywhere and anytime you want
+ Gorgeous retro visuals
– Gameplay has not been modernized and thus some may find it difficult
– No additional content has been added
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF COLLECTION OF MANA
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5