Liberation Maiden (3DS eShop) Review

Review for Liberation Maiden on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The localised release of Suda51's latest original title came as quite a surprise when Liberation Maiden was suddenly announced in last month's Nintendo Direct. Does the first taste of the Guild01 collection come with the usual over-the-top freshness Goichi Suda-san is known for? Cubed3 takes a quick jet around New Japan to find out…

From the moment Liberation Maiden boots up, a few things become immediately apparent; the young female protagonist with an authoritative tone in her voice, and the sort of over-the-top-ness that has become characteristic for Suda51. There are some aesthetically appealing menu screens, which is the first and quite reliable indicator of the game's high quality presentation; and it is indeed very well presented! As soon as the "Story" option is chosen, players are dropped right into a gorgeously animated cut-scene with some powerful, albeit slightly cheesy, voice acting. This efficiently, and briefly, sets out the world of New Japan, throwing players almost literally headfirst into the action. The protagonist is Shoko Ozora, a young girl who is elected the second President of New Japan and immediately jets out of the election hall in a big mech that she seems pretty adept at piloting. Pretty badass, huh? It only gets more so after tackling the various regions of New Japan, trying to take it back from its mysterious parasitic invaders and 'liberating' the country back to its former glory -- almost single-handedly.

Screenshot for Liberation Maiden on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

That's the concept in a nutshell, but the gameplay of Liberation Maiden all takes place in Shoko's piloted mech, Kamui, as she takes on one region of New Japan at a time. All that is needed to control the game is the analogue stick, the 3DS touch screen, and occasionally the L and R buttons to strafe around while looking in one direction or at one target. In a similar fashion to Kid Icarus: Uprising, Shoko is moved around and the touch screen is used to aim and fire the assortment of weapons, although unlike Uprising there is full control over Shoko as she flies over the region. Holding the reticule over an enemy locks onto it and when lifting the stylus up, part of Shoko's shield is discharged and fired towards them. Similar to F-Zero games' boost/force-field scenario, Shoko's shield and her weapons are one and the same, and the quicker or more carelessly her weapon is fired, the more exposed and vulnerable the Kamui will become.

Screenshot for Liberation Maiden on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

After getting the hang of things, timing shots more efficiently or only using a certain amount of shots at once in order to maintain at least some of the shield becomes second nature. Of course, it is also possible to charge to the max and unload all shield energy in one big laser beam. Getting hurt too much should not be a major worry as rebuilding the maximum shield is as simple as picking off groups of missiles or smaller enemies -- and if not good enough at dodging, this is a legitimate, albeit risky, strategy to use against bosses.

Speaking of bosses, each stage has a similar structure; fly freely around within the area's boundaries and take care of four or five missions; that is three core missions, one sub-mission, and a boss. New Japan's enemies have stuck big parasitic Spikes into the earth all around the country and Shoko zips about destroying them all in order to Liberate. Once three Lesser Spikes have been released, players are presented with a Greater Spike, the bosses for which they are automatically in strafe mode, circling around the Spike in order to hit its various weak points.

Of course, it is possible to have a little look around each given stage and pick off the small groups of enemies that aren't based near any of the Spikes. In fact, a little 'exploration' is imperative in order to find each stage's sub-mission, but unfortunately that's the extent of what can really be done in each stage, and the environment is usually too repetitive and simple to give exploration any rewarding feeling. Completists out there will most likely try to Liberate each Stage 100% and what that means is clearing each stage of enemies, pollution, and so on, using Kamui's power to restore nature to the land. This will help boost up the final score and also unlock a few little bonuses from the game's Gallery.

Screenshot for Liberation Maiden on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Liberation Maiden tops itself off with a Gallery in which 30 pieces of information, art, or the animated movies from the Story mode can be unlocked. It is treated like something of an Achievement system that adds a bit of replay value to the game. Those fascinated by what little the Story reveals about New Japan will be happy to know that the reward is snippets of the world's history, as well as the technology, enemies and characters. Speaking of history…the Lesser Spikes are not the only threat Shoko has to deal with, and as might be expected, Stage 5, the final stage, is a bit of a different breed to the rest. No spoilers here, but it makes New Japan's crisis all the more interesting. Unfortunately it's also a place where Liberation Maiden falls short -- to put it literally -- as when things finally get more interesting after four stages of repetitive and formulaic gameplay, that's also where the game comes to an unfulfilling and tantalising stop.

Screenshot for Liberation Maiden on 3DS eShop- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Solid through and through, with interesting uses of the touch screen that unfortunately aren't quite used to their potential. Despite each stage's slightly repetitive nature, the game is so short that it fails to ever really get tedious during a single play-through.


The animated cut-scenes, few though they are, are very pretty indeed. The in-game visuals aren't bad for a download title at all, yet each stage's environment looks a little dull and repetitive even when liberating New Japan's nature to glory.


Quality voice acting and music throughout, and though most of the music isn't particularly memorable, the tracks all fit well into the current stage, and some are undeniably very nice, along with some catchy vocal music during certain bosses to get the heart pumping. Very Suda-esque!


The main drawback of Liberation Maiden; at a cheaper eShop price the five Stages and Achievements would have given the game great value. However, £7.19 for such a brief experience makes it hard to feel like this game is worth what has been paid for it. The repetitive nature of it doesn't help, either.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Liberation Maiden is a solid game that is pretty interesting and enjoyable from beginning to end, with good controls and great concepts. However, each of the five stages will take a maximum of 20 minutes and will most likely zip by far quicker than that. The other difficulty modes, score attacks and Gallery Achievements may keep players coming back if jetting around blowing things up is appealing, but overall the repetitive nature may make you feel like having seen it all in one short play-through. If there is a price sale at some point, Liberation Maiden really would be a great little title at £5 or less.

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Staff Member

Fully agreed. The game is good fun and the last boss in particular is epic, but it really needed to be a little cheaper to offset the repetition and lack of variety. I guess at least it wasn't Pokedex 3D Pro levels of cost. :/

( Edited 15.11.2012 06:46 by Phoenom )

Rob64 (guest) 15.11.2012 12:10#2

How is it doing in the eShop charts?

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I wonder if we'll see another Liberation Maiden. It's in the 3DS Download Chart in the UK at ~£7 a pop it can't be doing too bad in terms of money return, I'm sure.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Phoenom said:
Fully agreed. The game is good fun and the last boss in particular is epic, but it really needed to be a little cheaper to offset the repetition and lack of variety. I guess at least it wasn't Pokedex 3D Pro levels of cost. :/

Yeah it's like half the price of Pokédex 3D and yet has a fair bit more to it imo Smilie

I seem to recall it's doing pretty well in eShop Charts! Which is surprising I thought it'd be more of a niche title.

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

It clearly shows that things like the Nintendo Direct presentations and continued promotion on the eShop main page helps considerably.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I didn't think the game would be so short to be 5 levels! : ( it looked interesting enough, but the preview looked like it would get super repetitive. The price was a bit much too.i never did end up getting it and on actually glad for it. I needed a challenge at the time and it sounds like that never happens. : (

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