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Video Game / World of Mana

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(The World of) Mana series, also known as the Seiken Densetsu (Legend of the Holy Sword), is a group of mostly action RPGs, most of which also tenuously share a setting. Most of the games center on a Mana Tree, the source of magic in the world, and the eponymous Mana Sword.

Games in the series include:

  • Final Fantasy Adventure (1991, Game Boy)
  • Secret of Mana (1993, Super NES)
  • Seiken Densetsu 3 (1995, Super Famicom; Japan only, a fan translation is available via emulation; commonly nicknamed Secret of Mana 2)
  • Legend of Mana (2000, PlayStation)
  • Sword of Mana (2003, Game Boy Advance; first remake of Final Fantasy Adventure)
  • Children of Mana (2006, Nintendo DS)
  • Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden (2006, Java ME cellphones, Japan only; second remake of Final Fantasy Adventure)
  • Seiken Densetsu: Friends of Mana (2006, Java ME cellphones, Japan only)
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  • Dawn of Mana (2007, PlayStation 2)
  • Heroes of Mana (2007, Nintendo DS)
  • Seiken Densetsu: Circle of Mana (2013, iOS/Android, Japan only; a card battle game released in GREE. Discontinued service in September of 2015)
  • Seiken Densetsu: Rise of Mana (2014, iOS/Android; 2015, PlayStation Vita; Japan only, although the fact that a Rise of Mana trademark was registered in Europe suggests that it was at least considered for localization; featured 8-player co-op. Discontinued service in March of 2016.)
  • Adventures of Mana (2016, iOS/Android/PlayStation; third remake of Final Fantasy Adventure)
  • Seiken Densetsu Collection (2017, Nintendo Switch, Japan only; contains the first three games with added features, such as saving in the middle of gameplay and a Sound Test.)

Manga in the series include:

  • Seiken Densetsu Legend of Mana (2000, by Shiro Amano, based on the game of the same name; later collected into a two-volume set in 2008)
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  • Princess of Mana (2007, five-volume work by Satsuki Yoshino, set 300 years after Children of Mana and 310 years after Dawn of Mana)

Novels in the series include:

  • Seiken Densetsu Legend of Mana - Amata no Tsuchi, Amata no Hito (2000, by Hiromi Hosae; a novelisation of Legend of Mana)

Unfortunately, to some extent the Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles series have usurped the place of World of Mana in the Square Enix pantheon, with the aforementioned games featuring the 3D version of the three-character action RPG gameplay for which the World of Mana series was once known. This has caused Square Enix to start scrambling to find a different genre for the World of Mana series, such as the RTS Heroes of Mana and pure action game Dawn of Mana, the latter of which was extremely poorly received and criticized (especially in Japan, where it was straight-out badged Seiken Densetsu 4 and seen as a completely unworthy successor to that name). Similarly, the franchise's mobile efforts have not been met with much enthusiasm; while trademarks for Circle and Rise were both filed in English-speaking territories at certain points, localization plans never came through and the reception of the games in Japan was chilly enough to result in both of them lasting about two years apiece before being shuttered.

The Square USA game Secret of Evermore is sometimes confused for being part of the World of Mana, but while it was obviously inspired by Secret of Mana (it has a ring-based menu system and uses many of SoM's combat mechanics) it doesn't have any of the Mana story elements in it, and magic effects are based on alchemy formulas rather than, well, mana.

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