Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Video Game Log: Heroes of Mana (DS)

Real-time strategy on the DS? Impastabowl! But they did it. Despite the massive dissapointment of Children of Mana (the first in this "World of Mana" series that takes place in the same universe as Secret of Mana but managing to leave all the good bits out), I decided to add this game to my wishlist and give it a swing. I mean, RTS. It has to be good, right?

1/2/08: I've played maybe four two hours so far, and I kinda wish I hadn't. You control a ship that's a carrier of sorts. You build your buildings inside of it, so you don't ever have to worry about space or power or that stuff. There are two resources, Gaia and Treant (which you might remember from CoM if you were unfortunate enough to have played it), and your one worker unit can gather them. You control a series of hero units with equipable items and talents. You can bring three of the heroes on to the battlefield, and the rest provide you with a "Support Aura" bonus of some sort. You can select units by tapping them with the stylus, or by tapping the "group select" button, which pauses the game and allows you to band-box select a group of units. It works... sorta. My hand cramps up while playing HoM on the train. Combat is simple; there is a "balance of power" of sorts where each unit type has another type it's strong against and one it's weak against. Anyways, I'm going to play more and see if it gets any better.

1/3/08: Adjusted the play time above from 4 to 2 hours; apparently time goes really slowly. I noticed a few things in my 30 minutes of HoM on the train this morning. The control scheme is actually quite useful ONLY if you always deselect the units (tap the "C" button on screen) when you're done ordering them around. This is because, unlike a mouse, you only have one control action (tapping), so there's no right or left click to deselect units like a PC RTS. Also I noticed most resource sources only have something like 5-10 of the resource in them, meaning that you have to move your ship around a lot or have your gatherer units (rabbites!) travel far.

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