Sword of Mana Game Boy Advance

Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Stakes its claim as one of the best free-roaming action adventures of the year...Deep and compelling. It lives up to its legacy. [Jan 2004, p.157]
  2. Bursting at the seams with all the great elements that make this franchise so remarkable. This is by far my top pick for greatest Game Boy Advance title of this holiday season.
  3. With two different quests, multiplayer support, awesome graphics, and rock solid gameplay this game is a hands down winner. [JPN Import]
  4. Certainly one of the top RPGs on Game Boy Advance. It shines most in its subtleties, but unfortunately those are all too easy for many players to miss.
  5. The inability to save at will is the only real weakness in this title. It is one of the few immersive Gameboy Advanced titles out there.
  6. A beautiful, fast-paced, fun game that can be recommended to all fans of role-playing games. It may not be the best RPG on Game Boy Advance, but it is certainly in the upper echelon of the genre.
  7. 80
    One of the biggest drawbacks of Mana is the story. Any RPG—especially any RPG made in this day and age—had better have a great story if it’s going to keep your attention. But Mana’s tale is lacking conflict, its characters are dull, and its towns are full of…well, not all that much interesting.
  8. Even though it's a bit on the short side, Sword of Mana offers above average gameplay with nary a string attached.
  9. If you’ve played "Final Fantasy Adventure" and were looking to have as great of an experience with this game, you might be a little let down. Thankfully, Sword of Mana does not continue the downward slide that the Mana series seems to be suffering from in recent installments.
  10. Fans of Secret will be sorely disappointed with this - but as we said, for all its failings, the 20 or so hours it takes to finish it are still enjoyable. It's just that the quality isn't as high as we expected. [NGC]
  11. Fans of the series won't be disappointed, but they definitely won't be blown away either. [Jan 2004, p.159]
  12. Has a surprising amount of depth for a GBA action RPG. The leveling system is pretty unique and engaging and the forging system is very deep. However, the controls are clumsy and frustrating and the teammate AI is very lousy.
  13. 75
    Most people will find Sword of Mana to be a mediocre game, while staunch series fans will find that it gives them exactly what they want.
  14. There are better portable RPGs on the market, but this stroll down memory lane will keep you busy. [Spring 2004, p.34]
  15. 75
    There aren’t many puzzles in the game, which help to eliminate constant battling in RPGs, and therefore the game can become a repetitive - albeit enjoyable - hack and slash adventure, often leading to lower motivation to keep playing.
  16. The lack of multiplayer is especially rough since your AI partners have all the intelligence of your average oak tree. [Jan 2004, p.74]
  17. There's a ton to do, and it lasts for a respectable number of hours.
  18. 70
    It definitely just barely squeaks in there a little higher than the "above average" moniker, with a lot of little things that drag the experience.
  19. Makes a great entry-level gateway for the uninitiated while offering veterans a breath of fresh air from their stuffy, convoluted, multi-layered, overly complex next-gen games.
  20. 67
    Frustrating because of the repetitive, mapless dungeons, and stupid because of the lame story. [Jan 2003, p.46]
  21. 65
    If you were expecting Sword of Mana to be the classic RPG that "FF Adventure" was, though, you may want to lower your expectations slightly. If you don't, you may be surprised -- in both good and bad ways.
  22. 62
    If you’re willing to take a bit of a downgrade in control and gamble with a bit of frustration in exchange for a terrifically paced story that unfolds in just the right way.
  23. We were hoping for a passionate display of Square's rekindling love for the RPG craft. Instead, Sword of Mana hangs around its competitors in relative mediocrity instead of blazing the trail the SNES title did all those years ago. [Feb 2004, p.109]
  24. Once you begin playing, though, you realize that Sword of Mana's interface is among the most ill-advised in recent memory.
  25. Follows every role-playing cliché and rule but does so with style. Sadly however the flaws within the game remain too obvious and Sword of Mana is merely a slightly above average game that deserves a slightly above average score.
  26. The fact that there are two characters may warrant another play-through for some, but the lack of much difference between the two will probably not be worth it for most.
  27. Running around thwacking enemies feels fun enough, but poor A.I. renders your other party member nearly useless - you'll often have to switch between them just to keep them from getting killed. [Feb 2004, p.128]
  28. 60
    Most of the problems seem like a series of bad choices, as if decisions were being made because they weren’t sure how to do it better.
  29. 60
    Has fun, straightforward gameplay and a simple heart. There is a little more to it, like plenty of game-time extending side quests, but some of the extras just seem like coronary blockage.
  30. This game looks good and will appeal to fans of the "Zelda" series, although it never touches the heights achieved by some of Link’s escapades.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. Nov 22, 2013
    It feels like a Legend of Zelda RPG; which is in no way a bad thing if a little clunkier when it comes to lining up attacks. It's simplicityIt feels like a Legend of Zelda RPG; which is in no way a bad thing if a little clunkier when it comes to lining up attacks. It's simplicity helps with it being a gba game when it comes to navigation and combat and the story reaches the levels of a final fantasy game. Full Review »
  2. Sami
    Aug 14, 2005
    Sword of Mana is a far cry from Final Fantasy Adventure and Secret of Mana. First of all, for a portable game, Sword of Mana is the most Sword of Mana is a far cry from Final Fantasy Adventure and Secret of Mana. First of all, for a portable game, Sword of Mana is the most unportable game I've played. Save spots (yes, they actually _downgraded_ the save system) are nigh, and you might well be reading a very slowly drawn out plotscene for 15 minutes, then battle for half an hour before finding a save spot. In a portable game, this is simply ridiculous. In addition, the menu system is completely horrendous, with important choices hidden under a layer of menus, and several options which should be presented together strewn in completely different parts of the menu tree. Simply everything in the game is lacking, from characters to plot to music to control to the ridiculous weapon upgrade system. Do yourself a favor: instead of Sword of Mana, search the original Final Fantasy Adventure. The 10-year old classic is leaps and bounds ahead of its remake. Full Review »
  3. sAsHidelR.
    Sep 9, 2004
    This game rocks!!!!