Secret of Mana (2018) — could have, but did not. Review
Genre Roleplay, action
Publisher Square Enix
Publisher in Russia “Buka”
Developer Square Enix
Minimum requirements Intel Core i3-4330TE 2.4 GHz/AMD Phenom 9850 X4 2.5 GHz, 4 GB
RAM, graphics card with 1 GB memory and DirectX 11 support, such as NVIDIA GeForce GT 730/AMD Radeon R7 240, 11 GB hard drive Internet connection and a Steam account
Recommended requirements Intel Core i5-4590T 2.0 GHz/AMD FX-6350 3.9 GHz, 4 GB RAM, graphics card with 1 GB memory, e.g. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750/AMD Radeon R7 260X
Release date 15 Feb 2018
Age limit 6 years
Platform PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC
Official website

The game was tested on PlayStation 4

A “pixel” of the game obsolete is not as fast as made in 3D. And the modern audience is favorable to them — enough to remember how much I love Terraria, Stardew Valley, Fez, and many other indie games. Even ancient The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past we can with pleasure pass without thinking about her age. Therefore, the announcement of a remake of Secret of Mana was surprised not so much by the fact of its appearance, as the desire Square Enix to replace the “warm tube” pixels cartoon 3D. The result is even worse than one could imagine.

No secrets

Obvious flaws are evident in the first five minutes, during familiar scenes with walking on a log characters. Their model seems to look very good, but during conversations they have never asked. It looks very strange, because in the remake of some dialogs designed in the form of rollers on the engine, which for obvious reasons wasn’t in a version for SNES. Why aiming the camera at a person, not expressing any emotions? What is the meaning of 3D?

The poor guy in the center knows no other emotion

This visual style is one of the few updated items for Secret of Mana. The differences between the remake and the original can be counted on the fingers. Came voice all replicas (English version at the unkind tradition turned nightmare, you better try Japan), added AutoSave to each new room, the maximum number of items in the inventory can now be increased. The music is also decided to upgrade — some songs worked, others have become worse. Nothing outstanding in the music, but to annoy it will not, and if you want you can include the original version.

The rest is exactly the same game as 25 years ago, and in the case of Secret of Mana is not a compliment. Three-dimensional graphics, but still so bright and colorful, too much contrast with the outdated gameplay mechanics that it was still possible to forgive a game with a 2D style. For example, the combat system will seem absurd to the modern user — you make a shot, and then wait a few seconds until the gauge at the bottom of the screen fills up to 100 %. So constantly waiting, waiting, waiting, regardless of the equipped weapon — the sword, the bow, the axe work on the same principle.

In fights the visible and the other negative — the strange reaction of the enemies on strikes. The first hit often knocks them back, then they lie on the ground and after some time get up. And if they strike again while they are not moving, the damage will be far not at once. When they rise, you will see them flying out the numbers, and they are once again crashing to the ground. Because of this (and because of the above mentioned scale of energy) even the most simple the fight is three times longer than could be if the developers of the remake have tried to make the process a little more modern. And the hitboxes of the models leave much to be desired — visually it seems that standing far away the enemy is missed, but in practice, you see, in the sky fly figures of damage.

Sometimes opponents impose on the hero effects, stun him for a few seconds

The main character, as well as his workmates who join later, no any skills. Killing enemies increases their levels, which leads only to increased supply of lives. Almost all the basic features, including the ability to evade attacks, can be changed using the armor you want to buy from merchants. And then the remake of Secret of Mana also demonstrates his senile roots — store show who of the characters can wear a particular item, but about the characteristics of things no one tells you about. Buy, go into inventory and only then compare. Well at least give an achievement for purchasing all of this stuff, and it would be quite a shame.

Pathetic attempts

Transfer problems can be infinitely long, and directly to the Secret of Mana almost all of them are not — it’s just the old game with its age-related shortcomings. Some of them the developers of the remake seem to be trying to fix it, but like they gave up halfway. For example, redrew the map and added mini-maps to each location, but they are useless. If you don’t know where to go, you can open the shared map of the world and see it the text describing the next target. It will be only the name of the zone that you need to arrive and where it is located — look for yourself. Including the game after a three-day break to remember the location of certain palaces and forests will be very difficult (from experience!). Can help unless placed in some places the signs.

But artificial intelligence is obviously not touched — it is extremely low. When you find yourself in a new area, almost all NPCs start to behave inappropriately. The guards standing face to the entrance to the Palace, grandmother and other NPC run into the wall and mindlessly walking to nowhere. Companions of the protagonist can get lost in three pines and eventually die killed by the enemy, from which you tried to escape. Local co-op saves, but those who prefer to play alone, endlessly stuck in the stones companions will sooner or later plague. Fortunately, in the remake it is possible to increase the supply of first aid kits in the inventory to treat the poor fellows, but you need to look into the settings. If you do not, it is unlikely that you will know about this feature and continue to suffer with four sweets and chocolates before the next meeting with the dealer.

When the companion dies, the character runs her Ghost

So oak artificial intelligence indicates that the source code in the updated Secret of Mana has undergone minimal changes. But there are other oddities. One of the initial scenes one character beats up another with no animation — just one model fit to another sound slap. It looks fine in a primitive pixel in 2D but not in 3D. The dialogues also decorated a ridiculous trio of the main characters gets in a pile, approaching to the character, and then the girls depart in different directions, and only then begin the conversation. It takes a lot of time if you consider that to have to constantly communicate with vendors, with the story characters.

The final nail in the coffin of the remake was the optimization. Not going to pay much attention to the loading screens, greeting the player at the exit of each zone — in a game of this quality have nothing surprised. But somehow the authors managed to make a hideous frame rate on the PlayStation Vita, and even provided periodic “bleeds” as a PC, and on PlayStation 4. Perhaps, in fact, the AutoSave was added for this and not for the sake of convenience? We’ll never know, but Square Enix is still trying to fix the situation and release the patch.


For many players, Secret of Mana is a vivid childhood memory. Today, the story is about a boy who found the sword and released the monsters, after which he was banished from the village, seem too naive and childish. But when it is framed in a nice “pixel” adventure, to her and treated like a guest from the past. The remake makes the game better or worse, it just makes you think about wasted resources and the unwillingness of Square Enix to celebrate the 25th anniversary of good game quality updated version. Secret of Mana deserves a lot more, but it turned out useless nonsense, in which the shortcomings of the original deliberately emphasized and increased.


  • good story with funny characters;
  • the fact of the “resurrection” forgotten classic game;
  • the presence of autosaves.


  • inappropriate visual style;
  • the lack of normal facial animation of the characters;
  • outdated mechanics clearly does not attract a new audience;
  • the maps are no good;
  • constant refilling and periodic “crashes”.
Graphics It’s funny that the controls probably would have been higher if Square Enix decided to leave on a pixelated visual style. And so the remake looks ordinary, sometimes even primitive. 5
Sound Updated music mostly sounds good, but fans of the classic soundtrack may include songs of the SNES era. The English voice is impossible to listen to — it is better to run the Japanese version. 6
Single game Long campaign, during which you will resent and resent, then rejoice and have fun. And will wonder about why this remake even exists. 5
Multiplayer In split screen mode for three players don’t have to put up with the stupidity of teammates, but the rest of the shortcomings of the remake will not disappear. 5
Overall impression The case when is better to pass the original version for the SNES console and forget about the existence of this “remake”. 5

Read more about the ratings system

Secret of Mana (2018)

See all images (15)















See all
images (15)



Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.