What’s so exciting about Legend of Mana anyway?

The action RPG is available now on Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Steam… but what makes it so beloved? Here are just some of the reasons we’re giddy for Legend of Mana.
By Duncan Heaney

Legend of Mana is out now for Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Steam - and, frankly, we’re pretty excited about it.

This is a genuine action RPG classic - overflowing with choice, charm and personality - and one that not nearly enough people have had an opportunity to play before (see point 1 below).

Not only that, but it’s packed with enhancements, including remastered visuals, rearranged music, and more. But let’s dig in a bit and explain why we’re so giddy about this one:

1. This is the first time Legend of Mana has been released outside Japan and the USA

Back in the long-ago times of 1999, Legend of Mana released in Japan. Almost a year later, in 2000, it arrived in North America.

Alas, fans outside those regions never got to experience this incredible RPG… (insert dramatic pause…) until now!

The new remastered edition of the game not only lets everyone finally experience a genuine classic, they can do so in a way that looks and plays better than ever before!

Speaking of looks…

2. It’s as pretty as a picture

Legend of Mana was always a looker, with luscious, colorful visuals, but the remastered version really steps things up to another level.

The first thing you probably noticed by looking at the screenshots and trailers was the backgrounds, which have been lovingly redrawn for this new release. They’re beautiful, bright, and crisper and more detailed than before - each one is like a work of art in its own respect.

The move to HD also makes a big difference for the game - whether you’re playing on a modern display or the Switch in handheld mode, those amazing sprites really pop now.

There have been more subtle tweaks too - for example, the user interface has been updated for the remastered version. It all adds up to a wonderfully distinct look that gives this game incredible visual appeal.

3. …and the stellar soundtrack is just as nice to listen to

The best RPGs have killer soundtracks, and Yoko Shimomura’s work on Legend of Mana is, well, legendary.

What’s awesome is that Shimomura-san has supervised the rearrangement of many tracks for this new edition of the game. Not only that, but players will also be able to alternate between the new and original soundtrack - and there’s even a ‘Music Mode’ which lets you enjoy the tunes whenever you like!

Shimomura-san is one of the greatest composers working in games today - from her work on the KINGDOM HEARTS series to FINAL FANTASY XV, every one of her soundtracks could legitimately be called a masterpiece. We’d never even dream of defining her ‘greatest’ work - and nor would she for that matter.

…but if we did, this one would definitely be in the running. You can listen to the original game’s music in the opening movie trailer and hear exactly what we mean:

Legend of Mana opening movie

4. You choose how to experience the story

The world of Fa’Diel is full of stories to discover.

You play as a protagonist (yes, you get to name them), who sets off on a journey to find the mystical Mana Tree - a magnificent growth seen in a dream. But they (and by extension, you) are surprised to discover that the world map is empty… and it’s up to them to fill it in.

Rather than present a single linear narrative, Legend of Mana lets you play through 68 quests, each with their own self-contained story. These quests center around three arcs of the main story.

The Escad Story Arc, for example, follows Escad, Daena, Matilda and Irwin - four childhood friends whose lives and motives run into conflict with one another in the wake of the Faerie Wars a decade prior.

Alternatively, in the Dragon Killer arc, your hero joins Larc, dragoon of Drakonis on a mission to slay the Dragons of Knowledge, and challenge another dragon, named Sierra.

There’s a lot more to discover, so we’ll avoid ruining any of the surprises, but expect twists, turns and even some emotional moments.

5. There’s a lot of scope for customization

One of the best things about Legend of Mana is how much control that you, the player, have over the adventure.

That’s not just true for how you approach the story, but also how you build and customize your character and allies. For example, the Equipment Smithy lets you forge one of a kind equipment and alter the pieces that you already have.

It can even be used to manufacture enchanted instruments and increase their potency, which let you charge into battle with increasingly powerful - and satisfying - magic spells.

Similarly, you have power over Golems. These are magical life-forms imbued with the power of Mana, and they’ll back you up in combat. You’re able to control their HP and stats, as well as equip them with more than 50 different offensive and defensive abilities. There’s a lot of fun to be had experimenting with different builds.

6. You can raise pets to help you in battle

Super-adorable rabites are a mainstay of the Mana series, regularly appearing as an enemy to defeat. But in Legend of Mana, you can raise one as a pet and make it help you for a change. It’s great.

In fact, you can raise lots of different pets in Legend of Mana. Throughout the game, you’ll be able to capture eggs and hatch all kinds of pet monsters. Not only do you get to be a proud parent of a fluffy (or scaly, or bony or…et cetera) new friend, they’ll also give you access to supportive ‘Synchro Effects’ in battle.

When you raise a pet, they’ll hang out at the monster corral in your home grounds, and if you want to build up their skills, you can send them out on the “Ring Ring Land” mini-game.

And on that subject…

7. “Ring Ring Land” mini-game is available in the West for the first time

The new remaster of Legend of Mana features a cool minigame, which those of you who did play the original US version won’t have experienced: Ring Ring Land!

Here’s how it works - you send your pets off on adventures on a special board where they can battle foes to level up and earn awesome items.

It’s really fun and surprisingly compelling - don’t be surprised to find yourself putting the main adventure on hold to train up some monsters.

Those were just a few reasons to be excited about Legend of Mana - but there are loads more to discover in the full game.

If you’re ready to dive into this classic Mana adventure, you can get it digitally now on Switch, PS4 and Steam.