A genuine Super NES classic, Secret of Mana holds a special place in the hearts of those that played it back in the day. Its blend of role-playing action, gorgeous visual design and evocative music remains a treat even today. The series has persisted across multiple generations since, but the original is still best. Or is it? Last week, Square-Enix released a 3D remake for PS4, PS4 Pro, PC and even PS Vita - and we've played them all.
But what makes this game special? Secret of Mana holds up today and was considered good enough to make the top 21 line-up for SNES mini, and this is perhaps surprising bearing in mind its troubled development. Originally designed for the Super NES's CD-ROM attachment, a collaboration with Sony, the game was originally lined up as a launch title for the Super Disc format - a vast adventure that would take full advantage of the extra disc space rather than simply slapping a few Redbook audio tracks on the disc like many other titles. When the CD project was killed off, Square management pushed the team to complete the game on cartridge instead. The team was forced to cut content and dialogue, reducing the game to the form we know today but despite obvious shortcomings resulting from this process, the game still went on to become a classic.
The action driven combat stands out as its most unique feature - up to three players can join-in for cooperative action, quite unlike anything else on the system at the time. While exploring the world in search of the eight Mana temples, players are treated to remarkable 16-bit pixel art. Beyond the expressive characters, beautiful rivers ripple through the numerous valleys, animated grass tiles blow gently in the wind and colour math is used to create some great effects.
Square Enix has offered up another look at its forthcoming Secret of Mana remake on PS4, Vita, and PC, this time highlighting its spruced up opening movie.
The first gameplay footage of the Secret of Mana 3D remake has surfaced. It's not the best quality and it's a little jerky but it's our best look yet at Square Enix's surprise retro-remake for PC (Steam), PS4 and Vita.
On show are the opening sequences of the beloved Super Nintendo action role-playing game, where village boy Randi pulls a sword from stone and begins a grand adventure.
It's hard to draw too many conclusions given the quality of the footage and having not played it. Clearly the animations are more complex and the 3D world has more screen-filling heft.
UPDATE 11.45AM BST: PlayStation Store pre-orders are now open (thanks, Alcifer) so we know the 3D remake of Secret of Mana will cost £33 on PS4, which isn't cheap. Optional in-game purchases are mentioned - but what are they for? If pre-orders get downloadable armour perhaps you can buy it too?
There's no Vita PS Store page yet and the 3D remake of Secret of Mana doesn't appear to support Cross-buy (buy once on PS4 or Vita to own the game on both).
ORIGINAL STORY 9.30AM BST: The best game in the world ever, Secret of Mana, is being 3D remastered for PC (Steam), PS4 and Vita, and will be released 15th February 2018.
The Seiken Densetsu series - better known as the Mana series in the west - is coming to Switch, at least in Japan.
Adventures of Mana, a remake of the precursor to Secret of Mana, is now available on Vita for £10.49 / €13.99.
Square Enix has resurrected for iPhone (and iPod Touch) one of the best action RPGs of yesteryear: Secret of Mana - and it's out now.
Beloved SNES action RPG Secret of Mana is due to arrive on the App Store before the end of the month.
SNES classic RPG soon to be touchable.
Nintendo plans to add brilliant Square Enix Super Nintendo action role-player Secret of Mana to the Wii Virtual Console on Boxing Day.
SNES role-playing classic Secret of Mana adorns the US Virtual Console this week. We don't usually bother to write about what's up there, but this a special occasion.