Liberation Maiden

By Din5193, Posted 26 Oct 2012

GAME: Liberation Maiden (Guild01 Compilation)
DEVELOPER: Gouichi Suda (Suda51)
PLATFORM: Nintendo 3DS (eShop)
RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2012 (JP); October 4, 2012 (EU); October 25, 2012 (NA)
GENRE: Shooter



Short Review: Criminally short despite its mere $8 price tag, but what little there is will certainly impress.

Long Review:

As with many mech shooters, Liberation Maiden is all about blowing stuff up. You're thrown into the action and told to learn yourself with only the most basic introduction to the controls and game mechanics. And the controls work quite well. You slide your stylus across the touch screen to move your targeting reticule across the top screen, locking onto enemies that the reticule passes over, then fire by removing your stylus from the touch screen. Simple, and it works well. You can leave the reticule on the same enemy for an extended period of time in order to lock onto it multiple times and launch more attacks.


A pretty standard view of what your top screen will look like 90% of the time.


Movement is simple as well. Move the circle pad forward to move yourself forward, move it backward for the opposite, and move it to either side to turn toward that side. Holding L will instead allow you to strafe left and right by moving the circle pad in those directions, or, if you are locked onto an enemy, you can strafe in a circle around them.

As I stated earlier, the game is incredibly short, consisting of five missions, the first four of which will take you 15-20 minutes to complete, and the last of which will take less than 10 minutes. The missions usually consist of moving to three target areas, clearing out enemies, then destroying an enemy structure, and then moving to another, larger enemy structure for a boss battle. There are also the occassional side-mission that you can tackle in the middle of your main mission, which often entail completing an objective within a small time limit.

The unique gameplay in Liberation Maiden comes from these things called "deflector nodes". You have between 6 and 24 deflector nodes at any given time, and they represent both your offensive and defensive power. Offensively, each deflector node will allow you to launch a single shot during each attack (24 nodes means 24 shots, and so on). When you use a deflector node to attack, it takes a second or two to recover before it can be used again. Referencing the above picture, the light green circle segments in the bottom-right corner are your active deflector nodes, while the darker green segments are your recovering nodes.

On the defensive side of things, deflector nodes can absorb most or all of the damage you would take from attacks, at the cost of losing those nodes permanently. The catch here is that only the deflector nodes that are not recovering from being used for attacks will protect you; and if you do get hit, all the recovering deflector nodes will be lost in addition to the ones that absorbed the damage from the taken hit. If you lose all of your deflector nodes, you will take damage normally, and must wait for a moment while your mech creates 6 new nodes before you can attack again. You can build the number of deflector nodes back up by destroying enemies; destroying many enemies within a small frame of time will create a "chain", which will in turn increase the number of deflector nodes you gain. All in all, it creates a unique combat system that forces you to think ahead of time to balance offense and defense.

For those who want more, the game offers three difficulties - easy, normal, and hard - and a score attack mode. Unfortunately, this doesn't do much to flesh out the game itself.

I honestly don't even know why I'm writing this section. The story is convoluted at best, and serves only as an excuse to put you in a mech and let you blow things up. But I'll describe it as best I can anyway.

The story centers around Shoko Ouzora, a high school student and daughter of the president of Japan. After her father is assassinated, Shoko is elected as president in his stead, and for some reason this means that she is to take control of the mech "Liberator" and destroy the forces of an invading country that is using these strange drill-like devices to steal Japan's energy. I'd elaborate on that, but it doesn't make much more sense even with full context.


Just your average high school girl. Nothing to see here.


Characterization is also almost non-existent. The only two characters that get any screen time are Shoko and her mission control Kira. Kira gets absolutely no backstory or anything, and Shoko herself gets very little. On top of that, there is absolutely no character development, though that should be expected given the length of the game.

The graphics in the game seem par the course for a 3DS eShop title. Things seem a little grainy at times, but you shouldn't have any trouble seeing what's going on. Colors are bright and vibrant, a welcome change to the brown blur of most modern games.

The cutscenes, on the other hand, are beautifully drawn in anime style. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough of them.

Another hard section to write. I've complained enough about how short the game is, but the price tag is so low that I feel like I should have expected it. All in all, I'd say it's certainly worth the $8.

So despite its crippling shortness, Liberation Maiden is definitely worth a look. It's hard to not thoroughly enjoy the game... however small it may be.


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