A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Aside from gender, the list of characters kids can initially add doesn't seem to feature much diversity.
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Ease of Play
Kids get details about the game controls and other basic information, but elements of the unfolding story aren't clearly explained.
Violence & Scariness
Kids engage in frequent battles using a variety of weapons, although the outcome isn't graphic. No blood or gore is shown, though killing monsters is implied.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several female characters wear short crop tops and low-cut outfits, including one top that looks somewhat like a bra.
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Products & Purchases
Kids will see references to in-app purchases that could make the game move faster. Characters in the game come from the various Mana series previously released by app and
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Echoes of Mana is a downloadable adventure game for iOS and Android Devices. There's a fair amount of fighting, as kids battle other characters using weapons ranging from a boomerang to a staff and a sword. While their opponents are primarily monsters, and virtually no blood is shown, killing them seems to be the ultimate goal. There's a somewhat excessive amount of items and types of currency to comprehend and gather -- too much to explain in a tutorial, probably, but the app doesn't really try to. Kids will need to click on the Help option in the main menu to find out what everything is used for. They don't have to purchase anything to play, but they'll see some plugs for currency packages they can buy, which cost $0.99 to $79.99. Kids can keep playing and earn some of those items -- but at least initially, they may not have enough Spirit Crystals on hand to harvest a new character, for example, when the app prompts them to.
Is It Any Good?
While the graphics are excellent, other aspects of the app aren't notably original or exciting. Echoes of Mana is the latest installment in the Mana game series, which was introduced more than two decades ago. The storyline involves trying to find a special sword to save the Mana Tree, which supposedly can restore life. After rescuing someone from a jail cell your character suddenly appears in -- without any explanation of how or why they arrived -- kids set off on a series of quests without knowing how a weapon could save a tree, or what to do with it when they find it, one of several unclear plot points. In addition to leaving out some key details, the storyline unfolds at a fairly slow pace. Before they can click through to the next screen, kids have to wait while another character pauses and responds to a comment with "..." A number of conversations feel pointless because they don't reveal more about the characters or plot.
The battles, unfortunately, don't happen as frequently and may not last as long as kids would like. They'll have a decent amount of control in them, though, if they don't opt to automate those scenes. They can select their character's battle moves as they play, and if they think of it ahead of time, can customize their allies' strategy settings to target the closest enemy or the same one kids are attacking. The battle action isn't always completely smooth -- with multiple characters fighting at once in the same area, it can be hard to tell exactly what's going on. Conversely, characters sometimes move off screen as they're fighting, making the action hard to follow. Still, even with some viewing issues, the battles provide a nice break from the meandering story. Hardcore fans might get a kick out of seeing the classic Mana characters. Kids who are unfamiliar with the series, though, may be left with some questions about the plot -- and as a result, might have a hard time getting engrossed in Echoes of Mana's missions and fantasy world.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.