Secret of Mana’s HD remake is available on both PlayStation 4 and PS Vita today, and if you’re looking to rekindle the feelings of nostalgia you may attach to the classic Super Nintendo title, you may want to pick it up. It may be dressed in new 3D graphics with voiceovers and additional content, but at its core it looks to conjure many of the same feelings the original game did. It may not have come to the Nintendo Switch as many fans have clamored for, but it didn’t really need to. It’s right at home where it is on PlayStation Vita, one of the better choices of systems it could have landed for.
Secret of Mana is perfect for the Vita for several reasons. One important aspect of its debut on the console is that it can act as a lifeline for the ailing handheld. The PS Vita is in its death throes, clearly, but the occasional big release can certainly bolster the handheld’s status as a must-buy. There’s an entire library of visual novels, dungeon crawlers, and “niche” titles that continue to release for the platform, and it makes total sense that Secret of Mana should be there as well.
Unfortunately, the game doesn’t appear to support cross-buy or cross-save, which would have been a boon for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita owners, but that could potentially change in the future. It would offer another dimension to the game and added value for buyers. This is, honestly, something that should come standard with all Vita titles, so it’s puzzling that the decision wasn’t made to include either one.
This may be a much less important reason for many, but in my eyes, it’s a more comfortable experience on Vita. It’s a longer role-playing game suited for play on the go, a purpose which the Vita has always felt more appropriate for than the Switch. I’d much rather play games while traveling on the PSP, but since that ship has sailed, I’d always choose the Vita with me over the all-screen Switch, which feels flimsy and insubstantial when holding it for long periods of time — at least, to my hands. The Vita has a satisfying bulk and less horizontal space to take up, and thus I like to hold it for longer periods of time. It just feels better when playing RPGs, especially if I’m in bed or curled up on the couch.
Secret of Mana finding a home on PS Vita is just like classic PlayStation games being reborn on PlayStation Portable, and I’m glad to see classic games getting a new lease on life on the handheld that didn’t ever truly get a chance to shine. It’s a slippery slope from here, depending on how sales go. If Vita owners show out and prove there’s still an audience for new releases like this one since that’s what the system is perfect for, maybe we can experience something of a renaissance for the console in the future. Secret of Mana could be a great catalyst for that very thing.