Magical Vacation

Now the company that makes this game has a pretty “sissy” name, Brownie Brown, but they have more talent than they know what to do with. Brownie Brown was founded a couple years back, and is mostly composed of old Squaresoft. Some of these guys worked on amazing games such as FF3/6, Chrono Trigger, and most notably the Seiken Densetsu/Secret of Mana series. This game borrows from all of them. Well enough small talk, are you ready for this?

Instead of going the same way as Camelot, in there hit Golden Sun, Brownie Brown decided to stick to what they know best, 2d. The graphics look just as good as Secret of Mana on the PSX. Utilizing all that sprites have to offer, this game looks like a playable manga. While the backgrounds are picturesque and awe inspiring, the foregrounds look just as good. While staying true too there roots, there are many cutscenes that little movies that look great. No complaints here, just pretty “old school” graphics.

As with the graphics, the gameplay is flawless. This game handles like a dream, literally. Simple controls but they are hard to master. On the overworld the character can utilize an 8 way run feature so you can speed from place to place. A plethora of characters and spirits to compose your team out of gives this game quite a bit of depth. To add to that depth, how about some hidden dungeons? Well they’re there to. Taking ideas from several books the story is the only weak point. You are a student at the Willow O Wisp wizards school. Every year the students take a trip to a summer camp like place, there are stories of students going missing at this camp. While your at this camp, these crazy looking blue monsters show up and grab your friends then dip back to the “netherworld.” The teacher tells you that you need to save the other students so thus begins your crazy magical vacation. A little cornball but the game makes up for that with its impeccable style. As you play the game you’ll notice that the difficulty goes straight up real quick, it goes from really easy, to really hard real quick. But every enemy has a weakness, so if you study up on your enemies some, you’ll have an easier time than someone who just rushed in. Superb gameplay and a cornball story do mix.

No game is perfect in every aspect, this games downfall is in sound. During the conversations and cutscenes emotion is shown threw noises, much like the old snes rpgs. Why is this a problem you might be asking. Well the music dies out while a conversation is happening so you can not hear this killer soundtrack. Yes I said a gba game has a killer soundtrack, by far this is the best music I have heard on the gba. At the beginning of the game the music is only par, but if you give it sometime, the music and the game itself becomes amazing. Noises do enhance the conversations, and create some funny scenes, but to die down this soundtrack for them is just not cool.

To sum it all up, this is just one kick ass import. I cannot recommend this game enough to anyone who has an understanding of Japanese, or is a die hard Seiken Densetsu fan. Anyone who is a fan of rpgs should at least look at the screenshots and hear some of the music, just to understand what they are missing out on. By far this is one of the best gba games, sans the story, I have ever played (and I’ve played a good 200 or so of them). No game is perfect, but this one is a viable candidate.






by fastbilly1

 page:  1
I wish someone would translate this game for the US -- I've never heard anyone speak badly of this game.
 page:  1

Title: Magical Vacation
Platform: Gameboy Advance
Genre: Traditional Rpg
Developer: Brownie Brown
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 12/07/01
Save Type: Battery
Players: 2