My first impressions of Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven was that it felt like a game about collecting women. Gradually more and more would come to live in your inn for various reasons and simply never leave. Then I realised that was exactly what the game was about and found the concept utterly disturbing and concerning. It was at this point I realised this was a Japanese game and therefore the sexism was fine and I dropped the matter. Actually, no I didn’t. And I’m really annoyed because mechanically Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven is good, but it lets itself down with its premise.
While the various maidens that you ‘collect’ in your adventure are super powerful and can wipe out squads of enemies in the blink of an eye they all still wear about as much as your average naturist and fawn around the main character like hungry dogs. You can customise the name of your character, but it is always a boy. You standard pathetic, but ultimately good boy. You can develop relationships with the various maidens ala the Person series, but without as much depth. These will trigger missions for you to complete. Beat the mission and you become ‘closer’ to that sister.
The combat in Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven is enjoyable and surprisingly satisfying. By this point the game had severely pissed me off with its tone and I was ready to drop kick it out the window, but the missions are actually decent. Taking place on a gridless map, each character has a certain speed value that indicates how far they can move and dictating turn order. Where Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven sets itself apart is how unturn-base it feels. Deal a 10 hit combo and your character can perform an additional action. When the battlefield is frequently littered up 100 enemies to bosh at 10 hit combo is a common occurrence. The battles are over the top and silly, but enjoyable. However, this has not made me like the game. Now, all I wish is for this combat system to be repurposed so that it can be enjoyed without all the ridiculous ‘woman collecting’.
Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven is a comparably short JRPG, but it does have 7 different endings. The ending differs depending which sister you are ‘closest’ to. I could barely stomach the time I spent with this game let alone 6 additional playthroughs. The games we play send a message about who we are as a culture and Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven is frankly not culture I would like to belong to. Games should be helping to push social boundaries, not helping us to stagnate.
Should you buy Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven? No! It represents a lot of the things that a wrong with the videogames industry and we as consumers shouldn’t stand for it. If games like this don’t get bought then they will fade out and new, better games will replace them.
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