In October Forbidden Magna for the 3DS was released in Japan, the literal translation of the title is Kinki no Maguna, which sounds wrong to us…so I’ll just call it Forbidden Magna. When I saw who the makers where of this game, I knew I wanted to give it a try. It’s been developed by the same team that made Rune Factory and is released by Marvelous AQL. Now I love Rune Factory, so without even checking out reviews and such, I took the plunge. XSeed has expressed interest in localizing it earlier this year, but nothing new on that front, so I thought I’d best give it a try in Japanese. I really didn’t know much about the game, I’d only seen the trailer and I knew that it was produced by Yoshifumi Hashimoto, so I thought itmust be good. Here I am, 5 hours into the game, and I thought I’d better share my experiences with you.
Your character inherits an inn to run, and quickly after that finds a strange girl entombed in a crystal. Of course the main character is the one to wake her from her slumber, and the Spirit Girl Charlotte decides to stay on at the inn and helps your character as live-in maid. Your character meets one spirit girl after another, so even if I haven’t seen a single guest yet, the inn gets quite crowded. During the “Inn Parts,” you can enjoy conversations and events with the spirits you’ve befriended that work at the inn as live-in maids.
It might be because I don’t know Japanese, so I’ve no idea what they are conversing about. Normally I take pains to translate the texts as much as I can, but I gave that up in this game pretty quick. Some people say Fantasy Life text is heavy, but this one is much, much worse. But again, maybe it feels that way because I don’t know what they are saying, it could be pretty moving stuff.
So why did I put five hours in, and am I not going to stop putting in more hours? Because when it’s finally time to battle, it’s a wonderful gem of a game. Forbidden Magna is really an action game without a grid. So, think Fire Emblem, but without the grid and counting squares to see how far your army can go. Each of the girls and your character take their turn, and before you strike, a red area highlights which enemies you’ll hit. The key to the battle system is to pile monsters into your attack area to get a big combo. Spirit Girls specialize in different attacks like Diana who has a spear that hits enemies straight in front of her compared to Charlotte who has a wide swinging sword. The battles aren’t easy either, and take careful planning to bring to a good end. And that’s exactly why I like this game, and why, if it’s released West, I will buy it again in English. I loved Fire Emblem, and this is as close as I’ve seen another game come.
The graphics are beautiful, vibrant and in 3D there’s a perfect depth. The spirit girls are like you’d expect from Rune Factory, and the game has Streetpass functionality. I’ve had no chance to try this out, but apparently it has to do with growing crops to use in your inn. What would make the game perfect for me, was if it had some sim or management elements, like really running the inn. But aside from my preferences, this is a game to look out for if you liked Fire Emblem or Rune Factory!