We love all sorts of games. Sometimes it is hard to cover a game in our traditional review style that’s why we have tidbit-style reviews. These shorter reviews cover games that deserve attention too but simply don’t fit our good, mixed, and bad template. In addition, they get a monthly summary article to give them even more reader attention!
Mangavania | 66%
Publisher: Sometimes You
Developer: Alexander Nikolaev
Mangavania is a retro action-platformer consisting of twenty levels in total for you to complete to finish the game. You play as a ninja named Yuhiko who attempts to clear the underworld he has ventured within to find a cure for his brother. Each level requires you to find spirits which will allow you to advance to the next level. Of course, it’s never that simple. You will be tasked with slaughtering enemies, careful platforming, avoiding traps, and knowledgeable exploration if you are to reach your end goal successfully. There are even some friendly souls who will give you little tips and pointers should you manage to find them. As standard, you have three lives per level so it’s always in your best interest to be careful around each dungeon or you run the risk of having to restart the level from scratch. A playthrough will probably take most players around 1-2 hours to complete; it’s also super easy to pick back up if you need a break.
There are purchasable upgrades you can acquire as you progress through the levels, earning currency as you go, that will come in extremely useful. The combat is pretty average but what makes it interesting is the varying types of foes you will encounter because some can be quite troublesome when confronted. The platforming element was great fun and permitted me to traverse and navigate dungeons in different ways while using the wall-climbing mechanic skillfully to avoid damage in my immediate path. Timing and precision can be important meaning if you make the wrong move, it could be fatal. Each dungeon also has a scoring system which is created based on how quickly you can successfully reach the end of the level. The higher rank you get, the more currency you earn to unlock abilities. It should also be known that this currency can also be used to revive you at your last checkpoint; how it’s spent is entirely up to the player.
Now, onto the graphics and audio of Mangavania. With its combination of a monochrome colour palette and pixelated art style, the experience certainly came across significantly dated which didn’t appeal to me. However, the minimal addition of red colouring that is dotted around the levels and seen in combat gave the game a glimmer of detail that was vastly missing overall. Being created in the retro style will provide nostalgia for some – I’m just not one of those people. Concerning the audio, I was even more disappointed and found it extremely difficult to sit through the ear-grating tones and sounds that could be heard throughout the gameplay. The music was not to my taste at all but did fit with the retro aesthetic that resided in Mangavania. The rough edges and horrible pitches were far from pleasant in my opinion. Unfortunately, the sound effects didn’t fair much better either. Whenever I landed an attack on an enemy, I didn’t immediately link the sound to their death and instead often thought I had taken damage, not to mention some of the strange sounds made by them anyway. On a positive note, the motion of swinging my sword was always a nice sound to hear. Overall, Mangavania is an old-school-styled platformer which was enjoyable for the gameplay but failed to impress me with its visuals and audio.
Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!