Square-Enix has been running a sale on its mobile games catalog for almost two weeks, but it’s been limited to the Google Play store until now. Between now and the end of the week, you can save a fiver on the iOS version of Secret of Mana [$7.99], which is usually $8.99.
Secret of Mana was originally released in on the SNES in 1993 and has since been re-released several times before landing on the App Store in 2010. It was never as overwhelmingly popular as Square-Enix’ flagship 16-bit RPGs, but it’s proven timeless and seminal in its own right, easily the most popular of the now long-running Mana series.
In its setting, plot, and mechanics, Secret of Mana was breezier and more lighthearted than many of its contemporaries. While Final Fantasy VI was offering self-serious steampunk dystopia, the trio of Boy, Girl, and Sprite were riding a dragon named Flammie.
It also made some smart concessions in order to balance its action-RPG combat with more traditional party management: customizable companion AI. It was rudimentary -- you could set each companion on a spectrum between attack and defense -- but it worked and, years later, I still enjoy setting up Byzantine party tactics in games like Dragon Age and Final Fantasy XII.
And the music! Dear God, I could spend hours wandering the Ice Country and listening to crystalline tones and perfect harmonies.
Last fun fact: a lot of the early development work that went into Secret of Mana was eventually re-purposed and laid the foundation for Chrono Trigger after the abortive SNES-CD add-on, designed by Sony before they started working on the PlayStation, fell through.
In any case, back to the present: Secret of Mana was recently updated to support Retina and 4-inch displays along with bug fixes for both the virtual and MFi controls. It’s not a Universal update, but it’s something.
Secret of Mana will be a cool $3.99 until Sunday, the 10th.
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