Liberation Maiden

LIBERATION MAIDEN (3DS)

Liberation Maiden is a very unusual Suda 51 game. Oddly enough, its strangeness comes from how relatively normal it is. We’ve come to expect the most fucked up, insane video games from the founder of Grasshopper Manufacture. His legacy of titles like killer7, No More Heroes and Lollipop Chainsaw have set the lunacy bar pretty high, but this time he’s given us a fairly straightforward 3D shooter. The only real craziness in Liberation Maiden comes from the story. Players take the role of Shoko Ozora, a teenage girl who happens to be Second President of New Japan, as she pilots a giant flying robot over islands that have been overtaken by a heinous foreign power set on destroying Japan’s natural beauty. I know, right? But the gameplay itself is much lower on the wackiness spectrum. It plays kind of like REZ without the rails. The 3DS’s touch screen is used to target enemies, shoot missiles and lasers, and unleash a powerful sword attack that can easily destroy every enemy on the upper screen. Controls are easily learned, with the analog stick designated for movement and the L bumper initiating circle strafing. It’s a short game, with only five stages each ending in similar boss fights and no online leaderboards. However, fast and fun gameplay and the desire to unlock every gallery image by meeting challenges, such as fully purifying each stage or destroying a set number of a type of enemy, will likely bring players back for multiple playthroughs. Unfortunately, the quick-paced gameplay is incessantly interrupted with superfluous updates on the mission’s status and painful obvious new objectives. I understand that I have to destroy three minibosses before taking on the main boss, just like in every previous mission. Just stop talking, and let me get to it. All things considered, Liberation Maiden is a mixed bag. It’s not a great game, but it’s still better than much of what’s available in Nintendo’s eShop and well worth the $8 price tag. (Grasshopper Manufacture) by Kris Poland