Mana Spark is a retro-style action RPG dungeon crawler, developed by Behemutt. The developers released a free demo, so I downloaded the game to test it out and see what it was like.
Mana Spark is a procedurally generated roguelite game with a focus on survival, bow combat, and perma-death. The objective is to delve deeper and deeper into the dungeons without dying to see how long you can last.
Mana Spark‘s combat is similar to games like the classic Legend Of Zelda and games like the Secret Of Mana series, however it is closer to the former because you don’t earn EXP to level up, instead you find special items that give you bonuses to make your character stronger.
For example, you could open a treasure chest that gives you a card to shoot arrows faster, or perhaps collect enough coins to purchase a new item from the shop that allows you to shoot multiple arrows at once. As for attacks, you only get the single arrow ability, but you can hold down your shoot button to hold the arrow and use your mouse to aim to get a well placed shot to take out enemies from afar.
Mana Spark is pretty ruthless when it comes to survival; you don’t come across many items to heal yourself, so stealth and well placed arrows will be the only two things to keep you alive. If you take damage you will just have to keep that same amount of health until you are lucky enough to stumble across something to refill your health, which is pretty rare from what I played. If you die, you die for good and will have to restart the game all over again without any of your items you worked hard to obtain.
The AI is smart and tactical, the dogs will sniff you out and hunt you down, the little imp creatures will shoot slingshot rocks at you and will sometimes call the dogs over to ride on top of them, and there are various other monsters that will team up to work together to trap and destroy you.
To make Mana Spark even harder, there are traps scattered about the dungeon as well. Not the type where they randomly pop out and kill you without you ever seeing it happen, but the type where there are floor activated spikes, locked doors, or monsters that could easily ambush you using a bit of skill and tactics.
I love games with traps and stealth, it is really an underused feature in adventure games. There were a few monsters that attempted to run across a spike floor trap and died in doing so. Like the greedy thief I am, I attempted to sneak across the spike floor traps in a specific way to take the gold they dropped without dying, but that didn’t go as planned because I messed up, losing half my life because I activated the floor traps. After taking heavy damage, it was only a matter of time that I was surrounded by more enemies and eventually killed, all because I took a reckless risk for a couple of gold coins.
Graphically, Mana Spark has an old-school pixel art retro look, but I personally didn’t mind the graphics and I thought the character and monster designs were cute and quite unique. The developers released this gameplay trailer down below so you can see a bit of what the game is actually like.
Are you interested in playing for yourself? The developers released a free playable demo that you can check out on their Gamejolt page, just follow the provided link to download it to your computer. So far from what I have played, I really enjoyed Mana Spark and I am looking forward to playing the full game to see what else it has to offer.
Mana Spark is also currently on Steam Greenlight, so if you are interested in showing your support you can follow the second link to cast your vote. For additional details about the game you can also check out their official website to learn more.