Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven is an interesting game for a number of reasons. The first, and perhaps foremost, being that it’s somewhat surprising that the game even exists. For Neverland, the team that initially started the project (and the team behind Rune Factory), unceremoniously dumped the game after they were forced to declare bankruptcy.
Enter Marvelous. They decided to pick up Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven and even re-assembled part of the team to finish development. This dedication is certainly to be admired, but how does the game itself play out? We’ll start by examining the story.
Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven places you in the role of a humble innkeeper named Luchs Eduard (though you can customize the name as you wish if you dislike the default name). Luchs had made a promise to his father to always keep his doors open and to cherish his guests, treating them as nothing less than family. Of course, this promise has, so far, come to naught, as Luchs hasn’t had a single guest stay at the inn.
One day his friend comes up and asks Luchs to go gather crystals, a precious resource in the world. He would then head to town for Luchs and sell them, thus giving the to a bit of spending cash. Luchs agrees, entering the cave on a routine trip, but things quickly turn sour as a group of monsters known as fiends appear.
Luchs runs away, eventually becoming trapped in a corner near a giant crystal. Luckily, a magical girl called an “Artemis” named Charlotte appears and rescues him, pledging her loyalty to Luchs, her “Master”. The story honestly gets rather goofy from there, but in a good way, as Charlotte remembers nothing prior to rescuing Luchs.
She has a total of six other sisters who will eventually join you over the course of the game. The story becomes tertiary to your interaction with the sisters (sort of like the Social Links from Persona, but less detailed). By speaking to the characters in the inn, you’ll be able to acquire quests that will allow you to increase your affinity towards the characters, powering up your combat synergy with them. You’ll need to choose who you want to hang out with carefully, however, as you cannot get close to everybody in one playthrough. As such, if you want to see each character’s ending, you’ll need to play through several times.
Gameplay can feel a bit rushed at times, to be honest. It feels like there were initially going to be several hub zones in the game, not just the inn, but they were cut out for some reason. To move along the map, you’ll simply exit the inn and choose from a list of locations, which will transport you to the battlefield of the chosen location.
The battle is one thing that does not feel rushed. Once you have four or more, you’ll pick up to three girls to join you (some will automatically be locked in in certain instances, and some require only Luchs and a specific girl, making it so that you cannot summon others) at the start of battle.
Once you enter battle, your characters have speed stats that determine the order, and they can move in a certain radius before they take an action. The enemies will typically be multiple groups of a main monster, a bunch of 1 health minions, and bosses and/or generators. When close enough, you can order your character to attack, with each being able to hit in different areas (Charlotte’s sword can hit a wide area in front of her, for example, while Beatrix’s bow can hit enemies farther away).
The main fun of the combat comes during attack. The game utilizes a bowling mechanic of sorts where when you hit one (or more) of these weaker minions, they go flying in the direction you aim. If they collide with others, they take these down as well, which can cause some massive chain reactions if you position yourself correctly. And a good part of the strategy lies in positioning yourself to get 10 or more hit combos, as doing so will allow that character to go again.
Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven has its good points (such as the combat, which feels much better in practice than it likely reads in text) and its bad points (such as the nasty pacing issue later in the game that prevents some of the girls from being fully fleshed out and the rushed feel of a bit of the game).Tactical RPG fans will find at least some enjoyment in it, though others may want to check out some gameplay videos before deciding one way or the other.
Final Score: 3/5