Why doesn’t President Obama have a giant Mech suit?
Liberation Maiden made its debut as an entry in the Guild 01 compilation of games, first brought to western audiences as separate Nintendo 3DS e-shop downloads. As such, it is a game designed principally for physical controls, and it shows.
*Don’t read this paragraph if you don’t want the first five minutes of the game spoiled*
I absolutely love the idea behind Liberation Maiden. As the newly elected leader of Japan, it is your sworn duty to protect the nation from an invading enemy force. Following your election, you as the player immediately leap into a mech suit and fly out with the intent of doing some serious liberating.
The whole opening sequence plays out in glorious anime fashion, and you are soon placed in direct control of the mech suit. I use the term ‘control’ loosely here, because the game was clearly not intended for control with only a touchscreen. Managing your weapons while also trying to move and strafe doesn’t work out in the high-intensity battles. The developers clearly put time into giving some intelligence to the game’s camera, but it doesn’t compensate for the lack of physical controls.
Control is important in Liberation Maiden because the game is a high-energy shooter. Think back to the levels that took place in a planet’s atmosphere in Rogue Squadron, and you’ll have a good idea for what Liberation Maiden is. You fly about and attack a lot of mostly ground-based targets. On occasion there will be boss battles to complete. In true Star Fox fashion, you must shoot at the glowy bits of the boss without getting creamed by lasers. The game plays around with stealth, but there isn’t much variance to its gameplay style. I found myself playing the same game loop over and over.
Liberation Maiden manages to wear out its welcome within a short time, too. While it is fun to play out the shooting mechanics in a rapid-fire set of different examples, the whole experience can easily be completed in one sitting, or a day’s worth of commuting. I don’t think the game should have lasted much longer, I just found it odd that I had already tired of its mechanics within that short timeframe. It is likely that I was worn down by the weak controls- especially the controls in the special mode that initiates each time one kills a boss.
Liberation Maiden received praise on the 3DS, but in losing the element of physical control it seems that a crucial component of this brisk-paced shooter has been lost.
Liberation Maiden is available on the iPad for $4.99