Rise Of Mana Is Free To Play, But It Looks Like It Retains The Heart Of The Mana Series

By Spencer . February 26, 2014 . 12:46am


While Square Enix has released a lot of free to play games, we’re relived to see that Legend of the Holy Sword: Rise of Mana is not another card game. Rise to Mana is an action game with a multiplayer mode that brings up to eight players together for massive crab boss battles.


When you’re on the field you can switch characters on the fly and as the trailer shows even mid-combo. Rise of Mana looks like it has the spirit of the series and if you’re not convinced you can try it first. The game will be available for iOS soon and an Android version is slated for release later this year.

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  • Crevox

    Spencer is trying his best to show the mobile game in a positive light

    I fear the comments will not agree

  • SirRichard

    While it is nice that they didn’t just shove out another card game and call it a day, touch controls are horrifically unsuited to an action game like this. It was a control nightmare just getting my iPhone to be able to post this comment, people play games on this?

    Then there’s the whole F2P with micro transactions thing. Kills any and all hope for it right there.

    • DanielGearSolid

      Huh? A nightmare to post your Comment?

      • SirRichard

        Yeah, I posted that comment this morning while waiting for a class to start in uni, navigating the internet with just a touch screen is surprisingly infuriating. The phone I had before this was the same, except its touch screen issues extended to the phone’s OS as well. I’ve no idea how people are expected to play even a simpler action game on these things.

    • Wtv

      Well, you could play The World Ends With You only with touch, so it’s possible.

      Also, post things with the PS3 controller is a nightmare too, that doesn’t mean that it’s a nightmare to play games in it.

      I don’t have/don’t want a iPhone, though. And my smartphone with Android will never run it. So whatever.

      • SirRichard

        That’s a silly comparison to make, the PS3 controller is designed for playing games, it’s what the PS3 does. Browsing the internet is a core function of smartphones (there’s a reason why internet access is a big part of contracts), and yet it’s an awkward, frustrating affair on near every phone I’ve tried (the only ones it felt smooth and easy on were my friends’ high-range Samsung and HTC phones, so I guess eventually it’ll get better).

        And if they can’t easily do something that’s touted as one of their core features because of the given control interface, how on earth are you meant to cope for action games like this without making it unsatisfying?

        • Wtv

          Because the game is not made by the same people who made the smartphone.

          What I meant is that we can have a game with touch only controls that works. Even if others things are hard to do. Square just needs to work it out, and they already did one time in the DS.

        • DanielGearSolid

          You must use crappy devices. Touch functionality in general isnt perfect, but awkward and frustrating? I have to disagree

    • Kumiko Akimoto

      I guess you wouldn’t like the 3ds or wii u

      • Did you miss how those have buttons?

        • Kumiko Akimoto

          Ohh yeah because they never make a game that’s dependent on the touch screen function huh?

          • Almost never exclusively, no. And when touch controls are incorporated, it usually isn’t a compromise by necessity like it is in console-style games crammed onto a mobile phone.

          • Kumiko Akimoto

            Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen nor does it mean it’s not there. Touch controls are not harder to use then touch controls on moblie.

      • Assuming your fingers aren’t freakishly thin, it will always be easier to handle a 3DS or Wii U touchscreen since they don’t require finger contact like pretty much all modern smartphones.

    • Kungfuchan13

      Just wanted to say… I know of some very good action games for iOS (in my opinion). I was most impressed with Thera by mobagel, but that was never finished and it’s 2D, so you can’t really compare. The other game I was thinking of was Wild Frontier Zero (completely different from Wild Frontier). Tap and hold/drag to walk around, swipe to roll, tap monsters to attack, swipe (after certain conditions)/tap button to use skills. It seems that Rise of Mana will have a similar control system, except maybe not the swipe skill commands. It’s not bad.

      F2P with micro transactions… Seriously. I don’t see what’s wrong with it. Personally, I’m a fan of MMOs, especially MMORPGs, and I only play free games. Usually ones with micro transactions. Haven’t payed a cent, and I’ve fully enjoyed every game (except for the ones I didn’t like, of course). Okay. Maybe not every game, but you get the idea. Most games have ways to get good content in the game without having to pay real money. The ones that don’t, well… The devs or whoever failed.

      About touchscreen controls for games: There’s always the matter of getting used to the controls. A person who only plays Wii games would probably have some trouble playing a PS3 game for the first time, even if it’s the same type of game. Same idea for touch screens.

      As for my personal opinion, I’m pretty excited about this. I was interested in how it seemed like you could change the characters’ genders, but they’re just outright different characters. ._. Iris (Probably more like Illys, but I don’t care.) has that weird unicorn horn thing… o.o Co-op combo attacks with your other character… Nice…

    • Ric Vazquez

      I’m really starting to hate mobile a lot.

  • Migon

    I am surprised how good the game looks in both looks and playstyle but without any proper controls I think it will be a pain to control, never been a fan of touch controls.

  • SetzerGabbiani

    Looks surprisingly polished…an actual attempt was made here. Touch controls kill any affection I might have for the game, however.

    • Don’t forget F2P, or as is likelier the case, “Pay constantly to play a game that’s not horribly inefficient and broken”.

  • Nana

    I don’t agree that it retains the heart at all. However, it IS an improvement compared to the garbage Square Enix usually throws onto mobile platforms, so I commend them for that, at least.

  • Yuuki

    atleast it isnt an card game!

    • echokanon

      I might be wrong but I think they already did a mana mobile game before but I’m not sure whether it is a card game

  • Kaitsu

    Okay, I revoke my last comment from the last article. I already don’t mind mobile games. I was just iffy on f2p. But this looks interesting and actually nice looking. The current f2p mobile game I’m addicted to is Brave Frontier, and I haven’t spent a dime. If it can give me a fun thrill like that without feeling forced to use real money, then I can definitely accept this game. I’ve already accepted mobile as a gaming device. At least for the RPG department anyway.

  • notentirelythere

    I mean… well, I’m actually excited for an opportunity to play this! It looked like good fun. Love the new main character designs.
    Can’t say the rest of the visuals live up to Mana expectations but HEY, Squeenix has gotta start somewhere with different approaches to F2P games.
    Hope there’s good news as far as the pay model is concerned: here’s for a game that gives players a ‘fair shake’! I’m not sure how much it matter in a wider scope, but when it’s all for cosmetics, convenience, or wider gameplay variation, I’m much more likely to drop dosh.
    Knowing Squeenix, though…

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    Kenji Ito, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Hiroki Kikuta and Yoko Shimomura will be the ones working on the soundtrack… my god. I really look forward to what they will cook up.

    • pekikuubik

      Those are all composers that have worked on the series before. I find it far more likely that they’re just going to take a bunch of tracks from the old games and spruce them up a bit, FFXHD-style. Maybe a couple of new compositions if we’re lucky.

      • MrSirFeatherFang

        Exactly, I know they’ve all worked on the series before. Even if it’s just a spruce up, I love all these composer’s music. I think they already have a grasp on the “essence” or feel the the series/franchise. It sounds “like” Seiken Densetsu/Mana already! (at least to me it does).

        Ito is also doing something on SaGa as well, and I really am looking forward to that.

  • Senka

    If phones must be something to be taken seriously by game companies, then I hope they all move towards being real quality games as this one seems to be. I’m impressed by this one… for a phone game.
    Seems like a waste of that music towards the end, but that can always be obtained separately.

    Also, I remember there was another phone game a couple months ago that also looked surprisingly decent: http://www.siliconera.com/2014/01/03/exe-create-kemco-released-3d-jrpg-looks-good/
    Looking at their most recently released phone RPG, it feels like Kemco has created their own RPG Maker for phones, which may not be a bad thing even if it literally does look like RPG Maker.

    • Shippoyasha

      System power wise, there is nothing stopping them from making games that are ambitious. Maybe memory storage concerns factor in as well as phones needing better control schemes (add on or Bluetooth controller support would be great).

      They didn’t even need to worry about making a chibi character design considering so many modern phones and tablets have the screen resolution and size for normal character designs.

      • Senka

        Oh, okay. I did always wonder about that stuff. This game looks to be at about a PSP level. You’re saying phones could do Vita/3DS/PS2 quality games? It’s just that developers are scared to put as much effort into a phone game as a normal game? That’s a shame.

        But to be fair, it does seem very strange to me when phone-users think $10 is really expensive for a game, and $25 is some abhorrent price. Though then I think about the relative quality of the games on App Stores, and I understand.

        But then… if a group could make a truly high-quality game on a phone like they would for a handheld or even console, that’s such a huge market with a lot of accessibility. The fear of not selling is that great?

  • pekikuubik

    The heart of the series left with Ishii.
    Who knows though, maybe they’ll pull off a successful transplant that’ll appeal to the mobile device generation. It’s not something I’m interested in, however.

  • ragingmerifes

    Time for me to actually drop the prejudice and try this out.
    But I don’t have an iOS nor do I want a japanese App Store account… well, I tried.

  • Göran Isacson

    Huh. I admit that I got some nostalgia feels from seeing the laser crab and hearing the theme from when they fall into that new world, and hey: it IS an action game. Guess all that’s left now is to see if they can craft an interesting action game with multiple people playing together on mobile. Then again considering this just seems to be aimed at Japan, I suppose they already have all the data they could possibly need on internet speed and how stable the connections are.

  • fawzowz

    s-shoot… I dunno why…. but I want this, and that theme song with Kokia really hook me up

    • Anime10121

      Because it actually looks good :(

  • the_rain


  • The Watcher

    Crabs that shoot lasers = unlimited fun

  • Kaseladen


  • dragoon_slayer12

    This looks like it belongs on the 3ds, even Vita. I don’t know why the hell they do this. Not confident enough, digital title only. Have faith, physical and digital, not that hard…. Sony needs to make the Xperia Play Z, cuz playing games like these on a phone sucks…. I wish PlayStation Mobile was more integrated to the Google Play store than the crap job it currently is.

  • Kenny Loh

    R.I.P Square-Enix…

  • Namuro

    I was thinking “Wow, Rain (Rein maybe, I dunno) is pretty cute, then I saw the character selection screen…


  • Everything that came after Legend of Mana was awful, though. It says a LOT about how far SE has fallen when making a ‘real game’ is enough on its own to give them a free pass

  • Bunzi

    I want to support this. It looks like they wanted to put this on a game system but were demoted to smart phone, or something. If enough people download it, it could help the Mana franchise as a whole , potentially.

  • Spirit Macardi

    Oh crud, this game actually looks fun. That makes the fact it’s not for a dedicated gaming device even worse!

    This looks like something that could have easily been on the 3DS where it could have actual controls.

    • Anime10121

      But then they wouldnt be able to microtransaction those select few who would spend thousands on the game :(


    • Strain42

      Serious question, what determines whether or not something is a dedicated gaming device? I do about 80% of my gaming on my iPod Touch (I don’t even have any music on it) while my PS3 is largely used for Netflix and YouTube.

      Honestly, I’m just glad the Mana series is still around and the game looks pretty good.

      • The primary function of a device. An iPod Touch would be considered a music player as its primary function; what a person uses said device for once they purchase it, that offers multiple functions, is up to the end user.

        • Strain42

          So again, serious question, does that mean the PC is not a gaming device? The primary function of a PC is hardly to play games on it.

          I understand that it may not be the main focus or purpose of the device, but I admit it irks me somewhat when people act like iOS devices can’t be considered consoles (in general I mean, not pointing any fingers here)

          • The PC is a special case that is capable of doing things that a user wants it to do as long as it has the necessary power to do so. The PC is as much a gaming device as it is a educational or business device, to name a few.

            Before my (2nd gen) IPod Touch stopped software updating, I’d play the hell out of ‘Cut the Rope’ and most Kairosoft titles. Since the system only uses touch controls it makes the games take a more simplistic approach that some gamers find “unchallenging” or “repetitive gameplay.”

          • Strain42

            Well that hardly seems fair then. What you just said about the PC applies just as much to an iPod Touch. It has the power to play games just as much as it can play music or run other apps.

            And the iPod has a lot more than just touch screen controls. Many games also utilize motion controls, and Papa Sangre II (starring Sean Bean) actually uses sound as part of its gameplay. Phantom Hourglass for the DS was 100% touch controls and I don’t remember anyone saying it was too simplistic to count as a game.

            There really is nothing that makes an iOS or Android device “not a real console” beyond certain gamers that basically go “I hate mobile games, so they don’t count as games.”

          • Well, the iPod Touch is one of the many examples of how far computing – and technology – has come: from its simple programming to the advance, complicated procedures it can now perform. Who would’ve thought a PC would be able to media of any kind? Only once the components improved did such things become possible.

            I know that but its USP was the touch control, that was better and more responsive than anything else at the time.

            Phantom Hourglass for the DS was 100% touch controls and I don’t remember anyone saying it was too simplistic to count as a game.

            True. However, would the game – or the Inazuma Eleven series – play the same on a iPod Touch? No they wouldn’t. Look Level 5’s upcoming Wonder Flick. It looks like a game being played with physical controls but commands limited to the “flicking” of said commands via touch controls.

            There really is nothing that makes an iOS or Android device “not a real console” beyond certain gamers that basically go “I hate mobile games, so they don’t count as games.”

            That’s an individual opinion that has no bearing on a developer making games for whatever device they choose to use. As long as you enjoy your gaming, does it really matter what others think?

          • J_Joestar

            Well your original question was “… whether or not something is a DEDICATED gaming device?”
            And a PC is a bit of a different creature all together due to the high degree of customization it can be built as a dedicated gaming rig or something that can just game on the side.
            Most iOS devices are pretty much designed to do something else as their main function and gaming is just something it can “also” do.

  • Γεώργιος Αρχαιοκαπηλίδης

    Is that a smartphone game? No way!

  • Tenshigami

    Most mobile stuff I’m able to shrug off and ignore, but due to this being my beloved Mana series, I don’t know whether to desperately want a localization, or just give up and weep.

    It looks like it’d be a lot of fun, but then I realize I’d be playing an Action RPG on a small screen with my fingers covering up all the action. That really does put a damper on things.

  • Christopher

    I don’t understand why they don’t just bring it to the eShop or even the PSN. I can only imagine it is because this will have mico-transactions EVERYWHERE

    • Lordshade

      they don’t exactly avoid microtransactions on eShop, see Bravely Default’s SP drinks.

  • Happy Gamer

    Most mobile games I genuinely enjoyed were games that out into consideration that touch screens have limits, and were not F2P games. Squids for example, I was totally glued to my phone for awhile. This game def does look cool tho.

    • MK

      The official site says this supports controllers.

  • It actually literally doesn’t retain the heart of the Mana series though, unless Koichi Ishii is involved with this game and I’m not aware of it.

  • Ultima-X

    Then why isn’t it on handhelds and consoles?

  • SetzerGabbiani

    This looks like one of those games that might get a port to 3DS or Vita depending on how well it does. It’s a known brand with decent production values.

  • gulabjamal

    Is that some Kalafina I hear before the cute cactus ending?

    • echokanon

      Rather than Kalafina, it gave me more of an Ar Tonelico vibe, maybe its just because the performer did sing some songs for that game too

    • Silmer1a

      Kokia is the singer

  • You all keep whining about this and that. I’m going to wipe the joyous tears from my eyes because, holy shit, look, a new Mana game, and it sounds like a Mana game, and looks like a Mana game, and there’s no weird whip physics to wrestle with, or bad RTS pathfinding, and just LOOK at it!

    I mean, I don’t have a phone capable of running anything near this, and I wish Sony or somebody would step up and get some of this stuff haggled into Vita ports (because I don’t see Nintendo’s infrastructure coming close to supporting third party F2P games), but, like…

    *I can’t be mad about this.* There is a new Mana game. The series is trying to exist, even if it’s in a weird, low-budget way, and I am just… SUPER fine with that. Be low-budget; frankly most of the high budget ones near the end were sort of awful, anyway. Just keep this beautiful little world alive and keep pumping out sweet tunes with it and I’m pretty content.

  • Ric Vazquez

    So excited for this title…until I saw for iOS and Android, mobile is becoming such a killjoy for me.

    • echokanon

      As long as it doesnt go by the pay to win formula, I’m still fine with it

      • Ric Vazquez

        That’s acceptable I guess

  • WyattEpp

    “Retains The Heart Of The Mana Series” without lovely, lovely pixels? Some heresy goin’ down, here…

  • IkouKuhn

    I can understand with the whole F2P micro transaction, but for controls, there are external gamepads for phones, I hope this game support that.

    BTW dat KOKIA soundtrack.

  • KingxKing

    A legend of mana remake!!!

    for IOS… WHY SQUARE WHY!??

  • CH3N9

    Just what the heck is SE thinking?

  • Wesley Kenneth Houpt Mattingly

    Put it on 3DS or VIta and I will play it. Action RPG Tablet Game is an oxymoron.

  • I would love this on 3DS or Vita sooooo much.

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