There are a lot of features you can use to make a positive first impression. A lot of major studios and big-name developers rely on the reputations of previous games they’ve made in the past. Other times, they can rely on a major feature within a gameplay trailer or a demo. Manafinder is much more humble in its approach. It makes a very small first impression, but there is truly a lot more to discover about this game than its initial impression would give off.
The Role you Play
You play as Lambda, An exile from the city of Manahill. She is a fighter who primarily fights with a spear, but is capable of fighting with several other weapons. She can also learn several spells and can improve her stats by getting the spirit dust she collects from battles in exchange for blessings from the gods.
Later on in her adventure, she also teams up with a dog named Scar. You can get assistance in battle from other allies throughout the game as well.
The plot begins with Lambda getting exiled from the capital city of Manahill by King Vikar. She is then cast out into the wild and forced to fend for herself in the wild among several wild beasts. She eventually comes across a settlement that uses manastones to produce a protective barrier for its citizens to keep the beasts out. However, this barrier requires manastones for power. Lambda takes on the role of a titular manafinder to seek out more manastones and help continue to protect the other exiles.
Manafinder uses a pretty standard turn-based combat system with some slight variations. Lambda can collect a variety of weapons and choose which one to attack with. Each weapon can be more or less effective against the different types of enemies you encounter. You can also learn multiple different spells which are consumed by manashards that you find throughout the game.
The gameplay is also mixed up with the occasional minigame thrown in. There is ore to mine, there are racing games hosted my citizens of the settlement, trivia quizzes, and some other quests to pursue.
Manafinder is a very linear game. You progress through the different areas at a rather steady pace with little deviation. There are other side missions that you can do for other exiles in the settlement. These side missions can include doing mini-games, exploring other dungeons and hunting especially difficult monsters. The different missions you do for the exiles are optional, but can result in getting extra items, stat boosts and equipment. In total, the game can range from around 12-14 hours long.
I would call the music in Manafinder decent at best. There are some good melodies throughout the different tracks, and they match well with the scenery. However, it doesn’t do much more than create the necessary ambiance. It doesn’t go further to set any kind of tone or mood for the area you are in.
The music that does attempt to set a tone like the battle music has its own issue: It gets incredibly overplayed. You go through most battles very quickly and usually end up only hearing the first 20-30 seconds of the battle music. After a while, it starts to get repetitive.
One of the single best features of this game is your dog companion, Scar. Scar will bite enemies and heal himself with komabiscuits when he is low on health. He will usually copy Lambda and attack the same target, but he can also be directed to target a specific enemy. He can also be directed to fight defensively or offensively. What makes him especially great in battle is that if Lambda falls in battle, Scar can continue to fight until the enemy is defeated or until Scar falls as well.
One of the exiles you meet in the settlement is an animal trainer who can train Scar to make him stronger and raise his abilities.
The Talking Parts
There is a lot of dialogue throughout the game. Different characters can be very expressive to reflect their personalities. They can also show off their emotions with little emoticons that appear in windows over their heads.
Some of the cutscenes even go the extra mile by having more detailed depictions of the action to break away from the more simplistic art style.
Z…We’ve Reached the End. Anything Else?
Manafinder has multiple different endings depending on the different dialog options you choose. Depending on the dialog options you choose, you can build up different relationships with different characters, and it can lead to different outcomes and different endings.
When you finish the game, you unlock the game’s New Game+ feature. This allows you to keep all of your experience and equipment so you can pursue the other endings very quickly.
Manafinder is a lot more than what you would expect. At first glance, it looks like a rather simple game, but when you dive in deeper, it delivers a whole lot more. It has a very engaging story, well-written characters, excellent combat and a plethora of extras. This is a game I can easily recommend to anyone looking for a solid turn-based RPG.
Final Score: 9/10
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