Oh, shut up and help me remodel the Mana series page!
I couldn't miss the chance to practice my drawing!
- For the first game in this series, see Final Fantasy Adventure. For a more comprehensive look at this series, please visit the Wiki of Mana. Certain links will take the reader to corresponding pages on Wiki of Mana.
The Mana series, known in Japan as Seiken Densetsu, is a series of top-down action role-playing games published by Square Enix. Initially developed as a gaiden to the original Final Fantasy, Mana chronicles a series of worlds each held in perfect balance by an omnipresent Tree of Mana and the warriors who seek to protect or exploit it.
As of 2022, the series comprises four main games, three corollary games, one active MMO, three defunct spin-off MMOs, and multiple remasters.
The first two Mana games have the player controlling the protagonist(s) from an overhead 2D or high-angle 3D perspective as they traverse an immersive world, much like in The Legend of Zelda series. Battles are fought in real time, with the strength of physical attacks tied to a spirit gauge; the fuller the gauge, the stronger the attack will be. The player can also choose to attack rapidly, but doing so drastically dampens the effect of each strike. The party can also use a selection of weapons and change them on-the-fly in order to gain advantage in battle or solve puzzles in the open field.
Like the Final Fantasy series from which it broke out, Mana allows certain characters to cast magic, also in real time. Although delays are possible in some titles, spells never miss their marks. However, each spell must be invoked through calling one of the eight elemental Mana Spirits that has domain over the desired spell.
As in Final Fantasy II, weapon and skills development in the first two titles is proficiency-based; the more the player succeeds in landing blows or casting spells, the stronger the effects. The third installment adds a job system wherein characters evolve into different roles and gain new abilities as their stories progress. It also replaces the skill system with a point-based progression model as in recent Final Fantasy titles.
Other RPG staples, like equipment, stats, and consumable items, are also present throughout each game.
Although this series has received nearly universal acclaim from critics and fans, few new Mana titles aside from remasters have been released since 2007. This is attributed to large portions of the original development team, including series creator Koichi Ishii, having left Square Enix. The series has since been transferred to the directorship of Masaru Oyamada, whose experience with it as a player allowed him to shadow Ishii for a time. As Ishii left circa 2007 to pursue his own development studio in the wake of changes at Square Enix, Oyamada, who had been tasked with porting popular titles to smartphones, gradually assumed his new role after working on a conversion of Secret of Mana. Oyamada has since converted the first three games in the series as well as Legend of Mana to be playable on modern hardware, and is currently set to launch Echoes of Mana, the series' fourth mobile game and third gacha title, on April 27, 2022.
Other connections to Final Fantasy
- The Mana series has borrowed the chocobo and the moogle from the Final Fantasy series. While the former's purpose and nature are consistent across both series, the latter are timid and fearful creatures against the gregarious and energetic moogles of Final Fantasy.
- The main characters in Adventures of Mana and Secret of Mana have been frequent guests in the main series and other spinoffs, as well as in other products from Square Enix: