Awesome Music: Game Boy soundtracks never sounded more exciting than this.
Broken Base: The Adventures of Mana remake of the game being iOS- and Android-exclusive outside Japan rubs a few people the wrong way. On the same note, it not being on the Nintendo 3DS for some reason also tends to attract some ire, seeing as the original game was released on the Game Boy and the remake looks like something the 3DS could easily handle in terms of graphics.
Slightly averted, now that the PS Vita version has been quietly released in North America and Europe.
Player Punch: For a monochrome 8-bit game, it's positively brutal. A quick rundown:
You lose your best friend, Willy, right off the bat after he gets mortally wounded in a gladiator match.
You meet the girl when her sworn protector dies.
The unnamed town greeter NPC for Wendel is backstabbed and is never seen wandering the streets again. Forgot him, didn't ya?
When you go to rescue the girl from the Dark Lord, you fail because Julius uses the opportunity to kidnap her and ascend to the land of Mana.
When you help Amanda get the curse cure for her brother, a Medusa's tears, there are none... but Amanda undergoes a Body Horror, and begins to mutate into one herself. She begs you to kill her and take her tears before she can no longer control herself.
When you complete scaling the Tower of Dime (the alternate way to reach the land of Mana), Robot Buddy Marcie offers to throw you to safety after the Load-Bearing Boss dies. Once you do, Marcie reveals that it lied and is unable to jump after you — it knew that if you knew it couldn't, you'd waste time trying to save it and you'd have both died.
Finally, when you finally defeat Julius, you find out that he drained all of the Mana Tree's energy, destroying it. The girl has no choice but to become the Gemma, the new sprout of the Mana Tree, and you're left alone, becoming the newest Gemma Knight to protect her. What's worse is that she had no children, meaning that when she eventually falls, the Mana lineage will end and the world will be fucked. However, this last point was retconned in Secret of Mana, as it is heavily implied that the protagonist's parents in that game were the boy and girl from this game.
That One Boss: The Lich inflicts more damage than any other enemy in the game; with skull projectiles and an annoying figure-eight movement pattern, avoiding damage is very difficult.
That One Puzzle: The infamous palm tree puzzle in the desert outside Jadd. The only hint that the game gives you as to finding the entrance to the next dungeon is "Palm trees and 8". This was known to stump many a gamer for ridiculous amounts of time. The solution, for those curious: Walk in a figure-eight pattern around two random palm trees on one random screen in the massive desert.