The World of Mana series is returning, real-time strategy style.
The World of Mana series has been released on handheld systems since the Gameboy Advance. It's produced by Square Enix as somewhat of a spin-off of the Final Fantasy series. In the games players usually control one character, as they go around bashing the native monsters about with whatever weapons they find, just so they know who's boss. This time around however, Square Enix is going to try something just a little different on the DS.
The first thing that is different is the fact that the new game, Heroes of Mana, will be a real-time strategy game. You are no longer playing as a lone boy trying to find his way home. You are now a full fledged general, wielding a stylus to strategize, then command and control your army to victory. You will form your army and gather the spoils of battle as you drive your way through the battlegrounds. Oh my, how did it ever come to this?
You play as Roget, on a reconnaissance mission with your crew from Pedda to Ferolia, when your aircraft is attacked and ultimately shot down. You and your crew then realize that your superiors from Peda indeed intended to eliminate you. The Peddan Army's step to world domination starts with the invasion of Ferolia and after witnessing the evil deeds of the Peddans, you and your crew are forced to fight against them.
The real-time strategy controls; building bases, controlling your army, and attacking, are going to be performed entirely with the DS Stylus. The monsters you are familiar with from the Mana series are featured in this game as you control them and your heroes on 2D and 3D environments which are very colorful and vibrant. Also, Kingdom Hearts composer Yoko Shimomura is on hand for the soundtrack to 'capture the essence of the World of Mana series'.
Finally, multiplayer is available through the DS wireless capabilities. Players can challenge one another to see who can kick the most butt. Heroes of Mana seems to be jammed packed with features. It launches next month in North America and will most likely be released in other regions soon after.