A game like Mana Spark is always welcome. The replayability of a rogue-like game is almost endless, especially if it nails the “one more go” aspect of other games in the genre. Initial impressions of the game suggest that this is the case and even though the demo is small, it does it’s job, and even has me looking forward to the release. Taking a lot of inspiration from Enter the Gungeon, my first impression of Mana Spark is a positive one overall.
The simplistic graphical design is one of the games biggest draws and is certainly praiseworthy. Even though this kind of art style is seeming more and more common, Mana Spark goes the extra mile and puts a lot of detail in it’s environments, even in locations inaccessible to the player. This creates a wonderful environment for you to run around in and explore.
As with most games of this genre, your main goal is to fight your way down multiple floors to get to the floor’s boss, all the while you acquire upgrades that improve your stats such as damage and shot speed. These upgrades can be stacked the deeper you get and if you make it through multiple floors, this can adapt your play style dramatically. All throughout the game, there are a number of different enemy types, each with their own weaknesses that need to be exploited and enemies will even work together to try and take you down. For example, enemies will ride wolves and mages will combine their efforts to throw much more powerful spells your way.
However, there is an aspect of the game that does need improvement before the game ships out and I hope that the developer adds a bit of background music to the game to give it a bit more of an atmosphere and character. Other than that, I can’t much fault the small amount of time I’ve spent playing. The animations are near perfect as wolves will limp away from you when they take enough damage and knights will become visibly tired after executing a powerful move. Careful attention to detail in any game shows you that love and care was put into it and time and effort has been spent to bring you a very polished and excellent product.
Mana Spark manages to keep you playing even if you may be getting frustrated about dying. Sure the game is challenging if you have a bad run, but playing is so addictive and fun that you’ll be straight in again for another go. Apart from the absence of music, there isn’t much I’d change and all you can really ask for is more of the same.
A release date for Mana Spark is yet to be set but a release on Steam Early Access should happen soon. If you’re a fan of your rogue-like games then this one is definitely a game to keep an eye on.