HomeReviews2.5/5 ReviewMangavania Review

Mangavania Review


Mangavania is an action platformer that takes place across 20 levels, set to a monochrome palette and 8-bit soundtrack. The game description states that the Mangavania is the story of Yuhiko, who is fighting through the underworld to find a cure for his brother.

After playing through the game, I still had to look up the exact plot. The only tidbits of story that are told throughout are imparted by random animal characters that you have the option of finding throughout each level. Even when you find them, the dialogue they do have is awkwardly written. In fact, the only real reason to find them is because they give you gems, which can be used to purchase upgrades on the main menu, but more on those later.

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8-bit slashing in Mangavania

For the most part, the levels are laid out in a non-linear fashion. To complete them, you must find a set number of fairy-like creatures that are hidden in the level and then hit them with an attack. Once you hit all of them, the door to exit the level unlocks and you can leave through it.

There are enemies and traps that block the path, but the combat is so unsatisfying it’s better to treat everything as an obstacle to avoid. Your attack range is incredibly short and there is no benefit to defeating enemies. It actually takes more time to fight them than it does to avoid them – and your run is timed.

The faster you complete the level, the better rank you are assigned for that level. This has no bearing on anything beyond the number of gems you receive, which again are used to purchase upgrades.

There are four upgrades to choose from: a double jump, a dash, a bow and arrow attack, and, lastly, an extra heart. I purchased the double jump ability first because it is a massive boost to mobility and I frankly had no interest in purchasing the other upgrades. The issue is, about halfway through the game, I reached a level that told me I needed the bow attack to complete the level.

What’s annoying about this is that you can also use gems to restart runs if you die during them. On top of that, you don’t earn a ton of gems unless you rush through the levels incredibly fast, or find the previously mentioned random animal characters. I didn’t realize the abilities were going to be required unlocks until they were required, so I had to replay the first level several times to grind out gems for the unlocks.

Now an argument can be made that I should’ve played better and this wouldn’t have been an issue, but there are two things I have to say in response to that. The first is that there is no way to pan the camera, and there are several levels where the zoom level of the game leaves a lot to be desired.

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Monochrome bouldering

Many levels have pits that you can fall down that will cause you to lose a heart of health. There are also many sections where you will need to drop down to a lower level. There is absolutely no way to know which is which without taking the plunge. This gets old fast, and I didn’t really care about the other abilities, so I didn’t see the harm in spending gems to just restart at the checkpoint.

My other reason for wanting to rush through levels as quickly as possible was the soundtrack. There are a handful of songs that play in the background, each one as repetitive and boring as the last. I’ve heard royalty free music that would’ve made a better backdrop.

Music and sound design are a vital part of any game, and Mangavania falls flat on both accounts. Not only is the music tedious, but even the enemy sound effects are a nuisance to listen to. Combined, it makes the already uninteresting gameplay even harder to sit through.

The roughest levels are the boss fights, which feel completely unnecessary. Stages 10 and 20 both feature boss fights, ironically, with stage 10’s boss being the harder of the two. They both take an unreasonable amount of hits to defeat, and I honestly don’t see any way to clear the fights without using the gems to continue the fight.

Beating the final boss of the game unceremoniously results in a credit screen. I guess your brother is safe, or cured? I still don’t know what ailed him, or how defeating a weird blob man that goofily hangs from the ceiling by his foot manages to cure him. But I suppose that’s the story of Mangavania.

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Boss fights in Mangavania

The need to use gems to defeat them also feeds back into the previous issue of potentially needing to grind for gems to finish the game. The whole situation is made weirder by the fact that you don’t start the game with the ability to attack. It is found in the first level and once you collect it, you have it throughout the rest of the game. Even when I went to replay the first level, I didn’t need to collect the ability again.

I don’t understand why the rest of the abilities couldn’t have been found and unlocked the same way. There could easily have been more optional upgrades to purchase from the store. This would prevent any risk of needing to grind for gems.

Overall, there is just a lack of polish in Mangavania, but thankfully it is rather short and you do get an easy 1000 Gamerscore pocketed for finishing it. Running at about an hour long, you’ll possibly find that is about an hour more than you will want to spend with Mangavania.


  • Easy 1000 Gamerscore
  • Tedious and boring music
  • Unnecessary boss fights
  • Awkward storytelling that doesn’t really make sense
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Sometimes You
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, Switch, PC, PS4, PS5
  • Release date and price - 26 April 2023 | £4.19
Ryan Taylor
Ryan Taylor
Grew up playing the Nintendo 64 where I fell in love with the Legend of Zelda series. As I got older though my console of choice changed, first to PS2, and then finally to the Xbox 360, which I've been playing on for over a decade now. And since my first day booting up my Xbox, I've upgraded consoles and even built a gaming PC. Because at the end of the day I just love gaming.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Easy 1000 Gamerscore</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Tedious and boring music</li> <li>Unnecessary boss fights</li> <li>Awkward storytelling that doesn’t really make sense</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Sometimes You</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, Switch, PC, PS4, PS5 <li>Release date and price - 26 April 2023 | £4.19</li> </ul>Mangavania Review
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