Suda 51 (or Goichi Suda), is simply known to the general gaming community as a very strange, far out developer, even in the eyes of Japanese consumers, what with such oddball games such as Killer 7, No More Heroes, Flower, Sun, and Rain (anyone? No? Just me? Okay…) and most recently, Lollipop Chainsaw for the Xbox 360 and the PS3.
Liberation Maiden is a surprisingly tame game in terms of craziness, that is of course, in comparison to his other projects, because this game is crazy in its own right. This game is the first in the contribution effort ‘Guild01’ retail card originally released in Japan, and Suda51’s contribution to the package itself, the separate entry was released for the Nintendo e-shop in other countries, and it’s available by the time of this review.
The story is an odd one, 100 years in the future, where Japan is in a struggle, trying to liberate itself from “Dominion‘s“ ruling. This is being taken care of thanks to Japan’s decision to get rid of their parliamentary system( with its limited Prime Minister powers), and opting for a President instead. Here, you control high school student Shoko Ozora, who has now become President of Japan after her father has been assassinated, and her job is… To take charge herself and destroy the enemy forces using a mech suit… Mike Haggar has got nothing on this girl.
Story aside, this game looks… Okay. Sure there are much better looking games, since the 3D graphics nor the 3D effect will impress anyone, but the style serves this one well, the graphics look a bit dark, but it helps set up the war-torn mood of game. The voice acting and cut scenes on the other hand are great, the animation having been made by Studio Bones, and the English acting being top-notch, even if there isn’t much acting (or cutscenes for that matter) in the first place, it’s easy to like the few lines they do have. The music itself is great, providing a compliment to the action, from the kick-ass first stage music, to its boss track, the rest of the game brings more great music like this, even showing some mellow music that fits the area you may be in.
Where the game truly shines, though, it’s the gameplay. You control Shoko with the Circle Pad, you strafe side to side by holding L, and you fire by holding the stylus to the screen, and lifting it when you need to release your shots, but do be careful, since the shots fired come from your shield itself, and the more you fire, the more chances you give an enemy to damage your actual health bar, it‘s something that brings some strategy to the equation, and it‘s something worth addressing. On the same note, I will admit it’s a bit odd to control at first, but you can quickly get used to this, and it works marvelously, still, the controls may or may not remind you of games such as Sim and Punishment, or even most recently; Kid Icarus: Uprising.
After all of these good things, is the game perfect? In one word; No. For one, the game is short, VERY short, coming at 4 stages and a final encounter (no, a boss does not count as a whole stage), also, the game can get very repetitive, as the stages themselves give basically the same mission every time, that is normally destroying “lesser spikes” and then engaging in a boss battle with a “greater spike” simply said, there is not enough variety.
So, do I recommend this game to you guys? Yes, while its short length is a glaring flaw, players who love beating scores will certainly love this one, for those looking for a meatier experience, well, it’s an Eshop game, but it might still not be your cup of tea, so try looking elsewhere, but for the asking price, you’d be missing up on one very addicting game.