About This Game
- COMPLETELY SKILL-BASED COMBAT: Each enemy has its own set of skills, behaviors and collaborations. Learn their patterns and discover their weakness before they lay their hands on you.
- EXCITING PROGRESSION: Be responsible for rebuilding and maintaining your guild’s village. Meet new characters, choose your traps, your weapons and keep track of your discoveries and unlocked content.
- HANDCRAFTED & PROCEDURAL GENERATION: Designed to make each new run a completely new experience. Each room is handcrafted to get the most out of the combat, but you’ll never explore the same dungeon twice.
- OS: Win 7 or later
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6320 (2*1866) or equivalent
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce 7600 GS (512 MB) or equivalent
- Storage: 400 MB available space
<>The game definitely feels best on K+M
<>Turning Controller vibration off does not work
<>There are at least 3 characters to play as, and each feels great and unique
<>Shields are pixel accurate, and exposed areas can still be shot
<>The AI behaviors are important to pay attention to (Boars won’t attack unless provoked, for example)
I remember playing Mana Spark in its earliest stages, back when it was a free alpha demo on Gamejolt. It was neat, and worth an occasional playthrough, but nothing mindblowing at the time. It had a neat little gimmick in that enemies would synergize their AI, so small goblins would ride on beasts for added mobility and shielded enemies would naturally move to defend ranged enemies. The pieces were there for something that, with some balancing and more content, could become a real classic.
Unfortunately, it didn’t really get either of those things. The amount of available content, both starting and unlockable, is pitifully small compared to others in the roguelite field. A home base with only three possible shop upgrades. Two unlockable characters, one unlocked automatically after the first boss, the other hidden besides the world’s easiest Zelda puzzle. A positively broken piercing arrow upgrade that trivializes anything with a shield. Almost zero expansions to the AI interaction since the original alpha. No unlockables to extend the item pool, or any items that drastically change gameplay. Three bosses. Zero secrets. Not even a unique visual aesthetic to help it stand out in the ever-growing heap of a genre.
After beating the entire game once, you unlock the Spicy Burrito challenge, without a fraction of a doubt the worst challenge ever conceived. Going through the entire game with only one hit point is a decent starting point, but it’s immediately crippled by also having you go through the entire game without collecting a single upgrade. In a game where enemies scale up under the *assumption* that you’re collecting these upgrades, it quickly devolves into boring repetition. Binding of Isaac had a "no items" mode, but that was restricted to treasure rooms, instead of completely gimping the player. This isn’t challenging, it’s tedium.
Mana Spark just plain isn’t worth the time. It doesn’t have anything that stands it out in a crowd, no unique visuals or immersive secrets to hunt down or anything. There are other, bigger roguelites out there, and you’d be better off playing any of those instead.
Your goal is to progress through several procedurally generated dungeons and kill the final boss.
+Great pixel art graphics
+Various upgrades and characters to choose from
-Bosses only have 1 or 2 attack patterns and they’re really easy to memorize
-Characters aren’t balanced very well
You can get several useful NPCs using this method. For example you can get an NPC that will upgrade your items, study your enemies and put them in a weakened state or make you food that will give you stat bonuses.
The game’s dungeons layout is procedurally generated but the rooms are handmade so there shouldn’t be any weird glitches with the rooms. Once you go to the dungeon you will begin at an easy forest area.
The enemies are very weak there and die in 1 or 2 hits and don’t do a lot of damage so it will be easy to get through the forest area. You advance in the dungeon by activating levers spread across the dungeon.
Once you enter a room the doors are locked until you kill all the enemies, so you should think carefully about the rooms size you’re going to enter since if you enter a large room with a lot of enemies at low health you could die easily.
The game has a wide variety of enemies and they all have their own attack patterns that you need to memorize. There are some purple altars in rooms that give you upgrades like health up, damage up, more shots and others.
There are also rooms with an altar with a spike in front of it. If you take 2-3 hearts of damage on that spike the altar will activate and you can choose an upgrade you want to be embedded with your soul so it won’t go away even if you die.
Once you beat 1-3 dungeons you will get to a peculiar room where you can buy new items, use your coins to spin a randomized upgrade or save your game.
For example, you could get your damage upgraded a lot but lose health or you could get a lot of hearts but get your hp put to 1 and since the spin is randomized sometimes you could get upgrades you wouldn’t want to take at all since the negatives would outweigh the positives.
Also, one thing that makes the game challenging is that when you die you are sent back to your encampment so you need to be careful.
Combat System and Characters
The games combat system is great. There are three characters in the game and they all have their own combat style and abilities. The character you begin as is the hunter. He has 3 hearts and his weapon is a normal longbow that fires 1 arrow at the start of the game. You can, however, upgrade the amount of arrows your bow shoots.
When you shoot with the hunter you stop for the time of the attack which means you have to be careful when you shoot because you could get stuck while an enemy is charging at you. The advantage the hunter’s longbow gives you does outweigh the stopping while shooting. You get good range and a high damage, which means you can kill enemies quickly from far away.
The hunter’s ability is to do a roll to dodge enemy attacks. It has a small cooldown but other than that you can use it an infinite amount of times. It’s great since you’re invulnerable when you roll and you can even go through shots without taking damage.
You unlock the second character after you defeat the first boss. She only has 2 hearts, unlike the guard who has 3 hearts. Her weapon is an x-bow that you can use while moving. It has a quick rate of fire since you can shoot it while moving. It does have a greatly reduced damage penalty so you have to rely on dodging a lot more. The xbow only fires 1 arrow as well, but you can upgrade it just like you can with the longbow.
Her ability is a fast dash that you can use three times in quick succession. It has a longer cooldown than the hunters roll and you can only store 3 of the dashes. You are again invulnerable while dashing, but the dash is so fast that it probably won’t be of advantage to you.
The third character you unlock by discovering him in the dungeons. He is in a prison cell somewhere in the dungeon and you unlock him by doing a small puzzle in the room.His weapon is a sword that can hit several enemies in one area. The sword doesn’t have a very good range and the damage is pretty low.
He has 4 hearts though, so he is more of a tank that you can use to get up close to enemies. His ability is a shield that can block almost all of the shots in the game. The best way to use the shield is to block all of the enemy attacks while getting close to them since he doesn’t have any kind of dodge ability.
The game’s bosses are poorly designed. Their attack patterns are very simple and easily memorized. The normal enemies offer a greater challenge than they do. The first boss, for example, only has 2 attacks and spawns 2 minions everytime it attacks.
Once the boss is dead you get a lot of runes, a new character and get to continue with dungeon exploring.
The second boss is also unimpressive and easily memorized. It blows twice in the place it’s going to appear and shows up for around a second, so you really need to time your shots. After he’s shown up 2 times, he will start launching fire from the floor 2 or 3 times and you need to dodge them. Then the cycle repeats until it’s dead and you advance to a new area.
The final boss is a bit more complicated, but still way too simple for a game like this. It begins with a monster shooting big slow bullets that break into multiple small bullets when they touch a wall and they bounce off the walls so there can be a lot of them in the room at once. He also makes walls behind you, so it’s harder to dodge the bullets.
Once you’ve got the boss to around half of its health, it will turn into a witch that will fire quick bullets at you. They’re really easy to dodge though. You just need to circle her and once she stops shooting, you hit her once and the cycle repeats again.
When you’ve got the boss to around 1/3 of its health it turns into a monster again and you repeat the same as earlier until it’s dead.
Content & Pricing
The game costs 8.20€ and it’s a great game for that price. If you’re bad like me it can take over 10 hours to just beat the game once and after that, you can experiment with other classes and items.
The game uses pixel arts as the game’s graphics. The pixel art quality varies depending on the enemy/environment. The bosses have big and detailed sprites and the character models have very simple and small sprites.
The game is optimized quite well, I didn’t have any issues with performance. (GTX 680, I7-7700K, 16GB DDR4)
The bugs I encountered didn’t have a bad effect on the game. They actually helped me with the game. One bug I experienced was when I unlocked most of the foods with a lot of runes and I got a super fast rate of fire and a lot of health.
It didn’t break the game, but it should still be fixed since it kind of ruins the challenge of the game.
I would recommend the game to anyone who likes roguelikes.
Review based on version 18.104.22.168
Fun combat is important because the game is repetitive. This game seems like a good game for short sessions, but I can see how it could be annoying if you wanted to play this for an entire afternoon. On every player death, the game restarts again. Keep playing the same levels over again, fight the same bosses again, in the same order, and seeing the same monsters types on those levels. The levels are not exactly the same, to the point where movement can be memorized, but I have beaten the first boss a several dozen times and seen the second boss only twice.
Anyway, the game uses the Unity Game Engine, and it takes about 350 MB of install space. My computer uses radeon mesa graphic drivers, and it ran a little too slowly at times, even at minimum system specifications. Almost seemed like it was loading disk assets during the fights. Well, just be aware that you may need something a little better than the base minimum or a fast hard disk drive.
-Procedural elements: Maps are tile based, and there arent enough tiles to make every play through feel truly unique.
-Items: There are a decent amount of items, but many serve basic functions like increasing damage or health. While this isn’t bad in and of itself, it also means that many runs aren’t terribly diverse.
-Actual Length: There is no looping, and the game itself just doesnt last very long. This isnt innately bad, but I dont think such a strict limit to playtime really helps it stand out from other titles in its genre.
-Combat: There isn’t anything wrong with the combat, but it is also advertised as being "deep souls-like combat", where you "fight smart enemies that will plan and collaborate between themselves to defeat you". The combat is fine, really, but it’s not that.
-Skill based: It’s also advertised as being "heavily skill based", which may be the case, but was not my experience. Though I encountered difficulty during my frist few attempts, I was able to beat the game within roughly 3 hours of cumulative play.
That said, there are things I do think Mana Spark did well:
-Strength Curve: As you play the game, you unlock things between runs that give you more health, let you do more damage, etc. If sombody was struggling to suceed in this game, they have the advantage of being able to start each run stronger than they did when first playing the game.
-Art: Looks nice, items have interesting models, music in camp is good.
-Characters: Each character plays differently, which really helps give the player some variation.
It may sound like I dont like this game, but I want to stress that it really isn’t bad. If the game were expanded I would easily reccomend it, but in its current state it simply lacks the content it would need to make it replayable. That said, if you like the way gameplay looks and are interested in it despite the limitations it has, go ahead and get it. At it’s core Mana Spark is a well made game, and being a small game doesn’t change that.
I need to get this off my chest. I had doubts going into this coz i was worried it was gonna look like Songbringer and that trash is borderline atari graphics… that being said the pixel art is indeed NES style but non intrusive and flashy at all the right moments. The enviroment doesnt seem as dull and messy like the forementioned either… now does this game have flaws? umm Ya huh! especially when it comes to the controls and controller(s). The looking speed is so fast and loose its hard to make your shots hit and make it frustrating playing it on the couch with a big screen… Although the Keyboard & Mouse is the best choice, it could use a little more improvement and work is so desperately needed on the controller input. (maybe a button for looking ahead) The right stick should not move the camera unless wanted. IF your a dedicated K&M person, this game should be in your library. Its exactly like the trailer shows. combat is tough but can and will be FUN over time. The Rogue like nature of the game the same as any other but a bit more forgiving so thats a nice treat for newer/not good players..
Bottomline, This is a game that will keep u saying "Just 1 more run i swear!" XD
Simply put…. ITS ADDICTIVE!!!
If you die, the game exits.
If you get an achievement, the game exits.
at 1.5 dollars an hour the price is effectively steep, but still a good game and i probably will get a bit more out of it.
Mana Spark is a game I have anticipated for a long time and while I did end up enjoying it I was expecting a bit more I suppose, read more below to get a deeper understanding.
I am having a blast playing this, even when writing this review I am still not done with this game because it still has much more its hiding deep below the dungeons.
Though I wouldn’t classify as a rogue-like its more of a rogue-lite since you become stronger with each run.
There are 2 types of currency, coins and runes, coins you use in the current run to buy upgrades or items, runes you save for the next run once you reach the upgrade room.
Its the place where you can pick which character to play and upgrade stuff, think of it like the breach in enter the gungeon, you can purchases permanent buffs but can only choose one, you can upgrade your items and also can unlock weaknesses to monsters, and if you venture further you can pay the recruiter to get more people in the camp and unlock more options and new things.
Items you find in the dungeons ends up being sold to you in the camp
Progression in the game goes like what I said in the camp before, you can buff your character, start off with an active item that you can upgrade, you can also find sacrifical rooms in the dungeon to permanently bind one of your relics to your character, relics you find in the dungeon they can give you either damage up, or health up or speed and many other buffs.
The game goes like a few levels an upgrade room in which you can use your coins to choose between 3 relics, or heal up or buy an active item, also you can save there since it is a checkpoint but remember this is a perma-death type of game so if you die you restart from the beginning, the saving works just if you want to save your run and exit game, and after the boss room you enter the next dungeon.
As you can see this is pixel-art done in a wonderful way that adds life to the game, I just love it, also the music in the game and the sound effects are almost too perfect, the game comes with a decent lore in it and an interesting beginning cut-scene with a gruesome story.
Monsters are not always acting solo they’re smart and effect each other as sometimes one with a shield will act as a protector to the ranged ones, they get harder that way so you have to separate them and fight them independently and some will transform others into spiders…and necromancers do their stuff…etc, so the AI in the game is really cool.
So here is what I wasn’t very thrilled about this game.
– For some reason the game says is "souls-like combat" let me tell you aside from the melee character this game plays just like enter the gungeon except its more brutal, even with the melee character its still absolutely nothing like a "soulslike" combat ..its a top down shooter at best, its a good one but I don’t know why use that description.
– Progression in the game is very linear "you’ll never explore the same dungeon twice" is stated in store page but you do because the first boss is always the same, the 2nd one is always the same and so on and so on .. I wish they changed like in enter the gungeon or binding of isaac, if they were randomized or something, I did really like the boss fights and their music but sort of hoped for more variety in design.
A shorter version of the review
+ Good difficulty curve with fast-paced satstifying combat.
+ For its modest price it brings out a lot of good content.
+ Responsive devs that quickly fixed the memory leak issue that prevented me from getting further in the game.
+ Interesting AI patterns and enemy movements.
So yeah I have to say for that price ? Its a really great game if you’re into rogue-lites and top down shooter games then this is a good choice, brings out hours of content, challenging difficulty and great replayability, absolute solid game for that price 9/10.
In a world where being human means you’re on the bottom of the food chain, monsters that can wield the energy known as Mana hunt down and enslave those weaker than them. Humans hide as best they can, and those that are found are either put to work, or outright killed. One day, a band of monsters happen upon a human settlement, and began raiding it, though instead of simply slicing through everyone they come across, the monsters located specific people in the camp, and kidnapped them. Finally having enough of the way things were, a group of humans decided to strike back at their tormentors.
By definition, Mana Spark is a rogue-like, dungeon crawling RPG, with a procedurally generated map that makes each playthrough feel unique within itself, and a “Binding of Isaac”-esque upgrade system where you gain one random item every amount of floors that powers your character up in specific ways. In a run, the player is tasked with tracking the monsters to their lair, and fighting their way through hordes of different foes, each with their own attack patters, damage output, and special abilities that put the player on edge, and makes each encounter one that requires their full attention.
There’s a single playable character in the beginning, as well as two unlockable ones that you obtain through progression. You start out with Ellis the Hunter, who has medium damage, and fights at a distance with a bow. His arrow shots have a cooldown after each use, and he is rooted in place when he is aiming to take his shots. He also can dodge enemy attacks with a well-times roll, that provides invincibility frames if used correctly. After that is Jasika the Crossbow Guard. Her crossbow doesn’t require her to stand in place while she shoots, and she can fire at quite a considerable speed. On top of that,she can dash around with incredible speed; but her bolts do less damage than Ellis’ arrows, and her dash has no I-frames. Finally, we have Wyatt the Warrior. Forgoing the safe and cautious mentailty of fighting from a distance, Wyatt strictly fights using a sword, which does the most amount of damage out of the three characters, and a shield which roots him in place, and allows him to tank certain attacks, in exchange for having no movement based escape abilities. How you use these characters, and their effectiveness is up to you, and I’ve found playing with all three to be enough of a different experience that each one deserves to exist.
A good resistance effort is only as good as its support, and these three have an entire camp of individuals brave enough to lend their talents to your cause. Runes are the currency of the realm, and these humans are eager to get their hands on as many as you can bring back from your travels. Vihan keeps records of the lore you come across, as well as being able to weaken a certain enemy type for a price. Faisca the Blacksmith can upgrade your equipment once you use it once, and Michael the Chef can cook meals for you to bring along that buff you in certain ways, like giving you more health, damage, and even making enemies drop gold coins more often.
In the beginning, getting used to how each enemy fights, as well as how quickly you can die by something you weren’t aware of or overwhelmed by can be a frustrating experience, but one that makes you want to immediately head out and conquer as soon as you’re faced with new opposition. The game is hard, and your health usually dwindles down very quickly, which is reminiscent of game like Dark Souls or the aformentioned The Binding of Isaac.
The map is laid out for you immediately, so you can chart your progress as you go, and your goal in each floor is to find the staircase that’s indicated by these red bars. The exit is blocked off until you locate the switch or switches necessary to unlock it, which prevents you from simply gunning it to the end, and can put you in a precarious state when you have just a sliver of health left, and you have to fight your way through yet another room full of enemies. Certain rooms offer a little more variety to the mix with miniboss rooms, which offer an optional challenge to face a more advanced foe in exchange for a new item, and some loot. There are also offering rooms that can allow you to bond an item permanently to your character by bringing your health down to one, and facing off against three waves of random enemies. After a certain amount of floors, you’ll come across what’s known as a Peculiar Room, which allows a brief respite from your journey as you spend your gold on items, new equipment, and even rest to step away from the game. Each enemy, as I’ve said before, has their own methods of attacking. You’ll need to memorize and adapt to each one, in conjuction with others if you hope to survive. Some enemies even work together, such as the goblins riding the wolves, and skeleton warriors protecting nearby orcs or necromancers.
After delving deep enough, you’ll come across one of the bosses of the game, which add a little more challenge to your quest, and open your path up to the next, more difficult area.
The graphics themselves are pixelated sprites, and are done very well for what they are. Animations are fluid, water effects ripple and reflect like they’re supposed to, sound effects are on point and don’t feel out of place, and the soundtrack compliments the aesthetic that the game is going for quite nicely.
And with that, I mean…that’s the game. After you inevitably close the gap between your skillset and the game’s difficulty, you’ll find quite a lot of repetition. There are nineteen enemies in the game. And although the game boasts that each playthrough will feel unique due to the amount of rooms that you can enter, I imagine that by the end of your playthrough, you’ll find that you’ve played in each one over four-dozen times. The items themselves are also slightly shallow, as each character essentially pulls from the same pool of items barring ones unique to each characters’ abilities, and you’ll have builds that end up looking quite similar to each other in in subsequent playthroughs. There are also only three areas to play in, and three area bosses, making each run seem unfortunately all too predictable.
The final boss, which I won’t show as it may spoil the story, is also way too over-powered. The bosses health bar is easily double that of the previous two combined, the attacks deal far too much damage, and can make spending over twenty minutes trecking through the same environments over and over an unlikable experience. I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, but I also don’t like having my time wasted by getting cheaply one shotted by something when I had full health.
Speaking of challenges, there IS a challenge mode that you can unlock after beating the game for the first time, which strips you of any add-ons your character has besides their base abilities, and locks you out of any progression your character could unlock by random item drops, shops, or miniboss fights. Sadly, this is the only post-game content, and you can easily find yourself without things to do after beating everything the game has to offer. In my opinion, the game has very little replay value, outside of challenging yourself to the spicy burrito challenge.
I enjoyed my time playing this game for the most part. I enjoyed getting everything unlocked, and am planning on returning to finsih the challenge mode, but a part of me feels like there’s more that could be added to the game. It’s far too linear, and for the price the game is being sold for, ten dollars, it definitely needs a few upgrades. The original Binding of Isaac is only five dollars, and Rebirth is fifteen, and I feel these two games offer more content and replayability.. I’m giving this one a 6/10. Great, tight controls. Good visuals and audio, but too sparse and linear of gameplay. It needs more content!
Video review here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thOUkWVu0UY