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Review: Liberation Maiden

3DS Level 5 Grasshopper Manufacture Liberation Maiden eShop

Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: Level 5
Platform: 3DS eShop
Release Date: Out Now
ESRB: T for Teen



If there’s one thing that Grasshopper Manufacture is known for, it’s games with crazy premises. Responsible for games such as Killer 7 and Lollipop Chainsaw, there’s good reason to expect the wildest. Surprisingly, Liberation Maiden serves up a more grounded premise. Rather than some insane, supernatural romp, Maiden is a shoot-’em-up where you pilot a robot suit and fight for your country. Despite the simple premise, Grasshopper’s made a solid game, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it’s theirs.

Set 100 years in the future, the story concerns the rebellion of New Japan, led by President Shoko Ozora, against the world-conquering super nation Dominion. Piloting a state of the art mech, the Liberator “Kamui,” Shoko sets off the free New Japan from Dominion by purifying the land and reclaiming their resources. Although moderately interesting, it's a simple premise and it doesn’t develop much between missions. Unfortunately, it ends prematurely and leaves the plot hanging.

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The gameplay is simple as far as the genre goes with little precision required in both shooting and movement. Basic movement is handled with the circle pad while the L button is used for strafing and can be configured to be toggled or held. The rest of the controls are left to the touch screen. Kamui’s basic missiles are fired by sweeping across targets to lock on, scratching to charge, and then releasing to fire. The laser weapon simply fires based on where you touch. Tapping an icon in the top right of the screen switches your weapon and an icon in the top left launches a bomb after chaining enough kills.

What’s challenging is knowing when to attack and when to dodge. Kamui’s attacks use Deflector Nodes, which also comprise the suit’s shield when inactive. This means that attacking for too long leaves you open to damage. Although the controls are technically solid, they aren’t without issues. The biggest issue is that there’s no option to switch handedness. The touchscreen movements required aren’t very precise, but left handed players should be aware that no concessions are made for them.

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It’s worth noting that your liberation of Japan will probably take under two hours. The replayability comes from meeting the conditions to unlock gallery items, replaying again at higher difficulties, and score attacks of the stages. There is no online leaderboard for this mode, though, so you’re left with trying to improve your personal best instead of competing with others.

Accompanying the fast paced action, Liberation Maiden’s soundtrack delivers an impressive collection of songs that fit the thrill of combat. It’s disappointing that there isn’t a sound test mode included with the unlockables. The voice acting in the game is also very well done, even though the cast is comprised of a couple of actors. Visually, the animated cutscenes are well done and the in-game graphics are solid, though lacking in detail. The 3D effect is also average. Terrain and key buildings popping up nicely, but most of the cities remain fairly flat and uninteresting.

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Ultimately, Liberation Maiden fits how I feel about most of Grasshopper Manufacture’s games: nothing special but definitely fun to play. It’s not a game that will last you long unless you love self-improvement, but it’s a fun concept that is executed well and leaves you wanting more.

 

Pros:


+ Fun and simple gameplay
+ Great soundtrack and voice acting
+ Involved multi-stage boss fights

Cons


- Anticlimactic ending
- Low replayability
- No left-handed control scheme


 

Overall Score: 7 (Out of 10)
Good


It doesn’t last long, but Liberation Maiden is still a lot of fun despite the tiny package.




4 Comments

I don't think Suda would appreciate you calling his package tiny...

Just kidding, great review man. I didn't even consider the lack of leaderboards until you brought it up, but in retrospect having them would be really nice.

Also, I don't know about you but it definitely feels like a Grasshopper game in one aspect... Posted Image
That is true, Corsair. That's definitely the one part of the game that totally fits Grasshopper.
I'm playing this right now. I'm only on Stage 3 but I'm a little disappointed. The game doesn't really seem to have enough content to back up its price, other than the fact that the presentation is topnotch. But that's just the thing - the presentation has more effort put into it than the gameplay. Great voice acting, anime cutscenes, decent enough graphics, but...the gameplay is kinda barebones. The controls are so bizarre that it feels more like After Burner than a shmup.

I'm playing this right now. I'm only on Stage 3 but I'm a little disappointed. The game doesn't really seem to have enough content to back up its price, other than the fact that the presentation is topnotch. But that's just the thing - the presentation has more effort put into it than the gameplay. Great voice acting, anime cutscenes, decent enough graphics, but...the gameplay is kinda barebones. The controls are so bizarre that it feels more like After Burner than a shmup.


Yeah, I really wish there were more to back up the price tag it has, or that the eShop would do sales so I could at least recommend the game at a discount. I know the controls are a bit different with the touch screen and all, but it gave me a heavy Rez vibe with all the lock on.

 

 

 

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