Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven is a strategy RPG available to buy in the UK through the Nintendo eShop. Although European players may bemoan that Lord of Magna didn’t get a physical release over here, unlike Japan and the U.S, in retrospect we should be grateful that the game ever saw the light of day. With developer Neverland Ltd going bust, midway during the game’s creation, publisher Marvelous AQL was forced to step in and finish off the project. Rest in peace Neverland. It’s sad to see a studio, which has been doing the rounds since the SNES era, vanish – particularly as they were the folks responsible for the popular RPG farming series Rune Factory.
Maiden Heaven’s protagonist is a friendly chap named Luchs. He’s an innkeeper by trade, but due to a tourist shortage Luchs supplements his income by mining for precious gemstones at a nearby cave. One day, whilst exploring the caverns in question, Luchs stumbles across an amnesiac faerie named Charlotte who is hibernating inside a giant crystal. Upon awakening from her slumber Charlotte accepts Luchs’ offer to temporarily work at his inn, as a maid, until whatever time she is able to recover her lost memories. The life of a hotelier/miner is not a tranquil one however. When hostile creatures begin to ravage the land Luchs is forced to set off on a quest to locate Charlotte’s six estranged sisters. Only by reuniting the seven faeries will Luchs have the power to save the region from strife… in addition to acquiring a cute workforce of girls that dress up in French maid outfits.
Gameplay wise, Lord of Magna’s battle system is reminiscent to the combat found in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. The enemy forces and the player-controlled party (which consists of Luchs and three female companions) take it in turns to move around the map. How far a character can travel and the attack radius of their weapons is conveniently marked using a red indicator. There isn’t much strategy to proceedings other than trying to position your troops in such a way that they can whack the most foes possible (either directly or by smacking them into groups of other enemies.) Any character that can slay ten or more opponents in a single strike is rewarded with an extra turn. Vanquishing the opposition is also how Luchs earns crystals, which he can trade away to purchase items and new skills for his allies.
My rating for Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven is a three and a half out of five. The game lacks polish (which is no surprise given its turbulent development) but overall it is good fun to play. I do however wish that the creators would have mimicked the gameplay of something like Fire Emblem or Disgaea. The combat system we get, although novel, can get monotonous due to the durability of the enemy units. Slaying legions of peons with a single swipe of your blade is fun, but tackling the commanders is another matter entirely. Due to their deep health pools it takes numerous attacks to make the bosses yield, making the levels drag on for longer than they should. The best advice I can offer to impatient players, such as myself, is to reduce the opposition’s stamina by setting the game’s difficulty to easy.
Although the game’s combat could have been better I have no other complaints. Lord of Magna’s soundtrack is nice to listen to and the voice acting, although limited, is solid. On the visual front there are some brief anime cut scenes to enjoy and I dug the adorable in game graphics, which remind me a little of Harvest Moon. The game’s plot emulates what you would find in a harem show, but thankfully the story avoids the less savoury troupes associated with the genre. Luchs is a gentleman instead of a sleazy pervert and there is no tiresome squabbling between his potential love interests. The contest for Luchs’ heart is amicably determined by whom the player decides to date in between missions. For the record I picked Elfriede, the bespectacled tinkerer who speaks multiple languages. If I ever replay the story, via New Game Plus, I’ll try to court Diana – she’s a lady who talks to teddies and she also refuses to wear panties!