Liberation Maiden is shoot em' up game released digitally for Nintendo 3DS on October 25, 2012. Designed by Suda 51, it is part of Level-5's Guild series.
Players control Shoko, the president of New Japan, as she pilots her mech to stop an invading country from stealing Japan's organic energy. The game features a circle-pad and stylus control scheme similar to Kid Icarus: Uprising, flying above the battlefield and shooting missiles at targets. The game also features animated cutscenes by Studio BONES as well as full voice acting.
The game features good albeit simplistic gameplay that is a great deal of fun. The control scheme works really well with the lock-on mechanic helping a great deal. I particularly enjoyed having to balance the use of Shoko's weapons versus making sure I had enough power in my shields to block enemy attacks. The gameplay is frantic as player strafe enemies and avoid fire while shooting back, and is a strong aspect of this game. If you enjoyed the flying sections in Kid Icarus, you will feel right at home with Liberation Maiden.
It's really nice to see a game this size having animated cutscenes of great quality. They really help to set the tone of the game and added to the experience. The voice acting was also a good addition to the game and helped to bring the production value up.
The music fits the tone of the game very well and really accentuates the adrenaline during battles. In particular, the final boss battle track is simply fantastic and goes way beyond the expectations I would have for a downloadable game.
The boss battles in Liberation Maiden are generally quite fun, but they never reach the game's full potential. The only boss battle that really stood out was the final boss battle which was quite fun but would have benefited from being much longer. It felt like the game had a lot of potential to innovate in the use of boss battles but sadly does not go beyond variations of the same boss for most of the game.
The graphics are passable and largely mediocre. It's hard to say they were terrible by 3DS standards but it would have been really nice if they would have stood out a little bit more. There are a lot of very plain backgrounds and the scope of the world was not-well realized. The graphics generally work but are nothing to write home about.
This game is really short. It consists of 5 missions of about 15-25 minutes each and the game is over before you know it. Considering how strong the core gameplay components actually are, its difficult not to feel disappointed and realistically it feels almost as if there is an entire missing second half to the game.
The missions are also very repetitive, following the exact same formula in each mission except the last. The gameplay itself is engaging but the game really needed to venture beyond simply repeating the same objectives over and over.
I had fun with Liberation Maiden, but the game had so much potential to be something great yet is held back by its extremely short length and repetitive nature. The core gameplay concept is very good and a lot of fun but it is not utilized well by the game. If the game had about three times the number of missions and really built upon its gameplay concepts, it would be easy to recommend. However, it is very difficult to recommend this game to anyone for its full price of $7.99 but if you managed to pick it up when it was for sale for $2.99 then the amount of content it provides is more justifiable.
This review was created with Talk Amongst Yourselves' official review format.