Recently i found the charger for my PSP. I had lost it a few months back and the poor console had to sit in hibernation for that time as i was unable to play anything on it. After finding the charger, i hooked the system up and started playing the first game that was in the console. That game was Mana Khemia: Student Alliance.

Yep, this is your Standard JRPG

If this cover looks too JRPG for your tastes, then that’s your review right there.

Mana Khemia: Student Alliance is a JRPG for the PSP. Its a spin-off of the Mana Khemia RPG for the PS2, with horrible loading times. You play as Vayne Aurelius, a boy who lived on his own with only his cat, Sulfer. One day, Vayne is invited to study Alchemy at Al-Revis Academy. There, he quickly makes friends with Jessica Philomele, a girl with an odd fascination with explosives with a strong maternal instinct, Nicole Mimi Tithel, a super strong Half-beast girl with a charming singing voice, and Flay Gunnar, who is Guy from Naruto with a giant buster sword(That, in fact, shoots ninja stars), as the acquire a workshop and work together in there studies of Alchemy.

The Story thus far consists of Vayne and his Classmates doing various tasks for either school assignments, the oh-so-important Jobs that reward you much needed cash, and sometimes just random encounters with your party members. As for the actual story… well, that is the story. This games hinges on the fact that’ll you’ll enjoy the interactions between the main characters, and that’s not to say that these interactions are bad. The writing is well done, with each conversation with each character deepening their personality’s and/or providing some actual laughs. Upon doing a tab bit of research on the game for the purposes of making this writing as best it can( a.k.a I got stuck trying to make COLD Green Soup), I found that this game is actually a RPG School Life Simulator, a genre more likely associated with a game like Katawa Shoujo or something Katsuragi Keima would play. And yes, this genre is exactly how its describes itself. If you can’t go along with a game just because you like the story, this is so far from your type of game. However, even if you can sit down with a good story game, there’s still a chance the Game Play will scare you away.

The Game play, all of the game play, from leveling up to getting new weapons and armor, to even the simple task of getting potions and revives, are all handled through the Alchemy system, and this can make this game unbearable for many people. This one system defines the game, it is the game. Its how the Game is seen, heard, felt, smelt, and tasted. And it requires a lot of Resource Collection from Fighting Monsters, visiting Shops, to even going to specific areas where items can only be found from Gathering Spot and Shops found only in Dungeons.

Because this can never get boring and tedious, right?

The Alchemy System itself is actually rather simple at first glance. You pick what you want to make, and a spinning wheel pops up. On the wheel are 5 elements that correspond with the ingredients. Match the elements and the valve of the final product goes up, but match it with its opposite, and the valve will go down. The wheel doesn’t spin fast and controls well, so i haven’t had any problem reaching the maximum valve each time, but there are also assist cards that have your party members help with the Alchemy, whether by adding and subtracting valve, Changing the whole wheel into one big element, making it fuck proof, or just taking over for you and (Most likely) botching the whole thing so your forced to do it again. Its not a bad system, but can get on your nerves trying to make something and then run out of ingredients, forcing you back into, you guessed it, more Resource Collection.

Everything else about the game will come naturally to even a casual RPG fan. You spend your game time completing Class and Jobs for rewards such as money, which you will spend mostly on Ingredients for Alchemy, or new Recipes to make. Classes and Jobs range from Gathering items, Crafting certain items of a higher or lower rank, or Fighting Big Bad’s around the Campus. Battling is a simple thing in MK:SA. Its takes on a basic Turn Based style, with Cards with allies and enemies faces on top to show you the turn order. You can also use an out of battle slash move to get the upper hand in battle, giving your characters the first shots. Each character can use skills using SP; they have HP to show how close they are to dying. You can Attack, use Skills and Items, and switch between available party members either on the turn or during an attack for more damage. Its nothing revolutionary, but it gets the job done.

This game will play nostalgically for many RPG fans

Cat Girl with Giant Hammer VS. Valkyrie with Big ass Sword. Because Mana Khemai!

Overall, the game plays well for what it is. The controls work fine, hit detection on the overworld is good, and even the music presents a pleasant feeling with it. If you don’t mind extensive resource collection, a tried and true battle system, and enjoy a large crafting menu, then the games story should make for a good gaming experience, at least if they don’t drop the ball on the second half of the game. Thank you all for reading this little article i put together. Hopefully, i’ll write a bit more in the future. Til then folks, bye bye!