Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Liberation Maiden

The Nintendo eShop has some pretty nice games out there already, but most of them lack that console quality polish that people are used to seeing in bigger games, such as Mario or Metroid.  Enter Liberation Maiden, a game developed by SUDA 51 and produced by Level 5.  Liberation Maiden was one of the games developed to be a part of the Guild01 compilation of games.  For those not familiar with Guild01, it was a 3DS cartridge containing four different games made by four different developers. Liberation Maiden was one of those games, and two of the other four,  Aero Porter and Crimson Shrowd, are also now on the Nintendo 3DS eShop

Now, then back to the game at hand.  Yes, I said that this game was made by SUDA 51, and no, it is not your typical SUDA 51 game.  Unlike his most recent games which were very much mature and jammed pack full of sexual innuendos and violence, this is definitely one of SUDA 51's more normal games.  So, the story goes as this: it is the future and your character, named Shoko Ōzora, has just been elected President of New Japan.  As her first order of business, Shoko heads off on her mech called the Kaihoki Kamui, or Liberation Maiden, to free Old Japan from the harmful technology that has eaten up all of the nature of Old Japan.  Yeah, the story sounds a bit weird, but the funny thing is that it sounds normal for something that comes from the mind of SUDA 51.

So the gameplay takes you across five levels in an action-shooter type of game.  You control the Kamui with the Circle Pad and then lock on/take aim at your targets with the stylus.  To fire, you release the stylus from the touch screen, and you will shoot at whatever the Kamui was locked onto.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, you need to manage how many shots you fire, as the energy that allows you to take your shots also acts as your shield.  If you take damage, it will take away your ability to fire a ton of shots and to shield you from oncoming damage.  If you fire too many shots, you will leave yourself vulnerable for taking direct damage, so you really do not want to get hit too often.  The good news is that defeating enemies adds to your shield/ammunition.

The game is fun for what it is, but most of the missions are to just find and destroy smaller enemies to reveal a semi-big enemy, before you can make your way to the boss fight at the end.  Along the way, you can complete extra side missions for some extra points. These are entirely optional, but undoubtedly required to get that high score.  However, the five levels do not like to stray too far from the basic find- all-enemies-and-destroy-them mechanic.  The levels will try to do something such as a stealth mission, but these slight changes to the gameplay only last so long, and quickly revert back to the sane old fast-paced shooting action.

Overall, Liberation Maiden is an excellent game, and it shows the potential of what the Nintendo eShop can deliver.  Some complaints are a control scheme that tailors to right-handed people and ignores left-handed people such as myself, and the gameplay can get a bit repetitive.  However, the game is still so much fun to play.  It might not be something that people would turn to very frequently, but every now and then, it can provide some quick fun.

Released: 2012-10-25
Publisher: Level-5
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture


The repetitive nature of the missions is what made me put it on the backburner. It really is best suited for quick bursts.

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