It’s been a while since I actually reviewed a game, the last one being back in September for Sayonara Wild Hearts, so a couple of weeks ago when Shademare reached out to me on Twitter and asked if I would be interested in taking a look at their title Miracle Mia, I perused a few trailers and thought sure, why not?
Miracle Mia is best described as a story-driven 2D action game. You play the titular Mia and have to fend off a variety of foes using her magical tennis racket as you progress through a series of pastel-coloured and beautifully realised locations. What makes the game unique is the aforementioned tennis racket, enemies aren’t defeated in the traditional sense of just hitting them (though that is an option), the idea here is to repel their attacks back in the direction they came from (or towards another opponent) in what is, in my opinion, quite a clever mechanic.
On that mechanic, the key thing here is just how well it works, the game moves at a decent pace and you never really feel like the controls are lagging behind you in any way, they’re perfectly responsive which comes in handy as the difficulty ramps up.
There’s some element of platforming here, with Miracle Mia utilising jumping, dashing and teleportation techniques to traverse the terrain, there are times where you have to rely on quick reflexes and times where you’ll be battling whilst also performing some mildly complicated control pad gymnastics, though for the most part, these moments are usually filler between fairly static battles. The challenge comes from moments where you have to combine a variety of things in order to progress, such as dashing through opponents in order to stun them but making sure you don’t stay on a fragile platform for too long. It really does make for some energetic play.
Aesthetically, its very pleasing, the variety of locations are wonderfully realised and carry over a very Japanese aesthetic, though I’d have to say that the magical girl theme to pretty much all the main characters only really works from a distance, when characters faces appear closer alongside speech bubbles (in order to further the plot) it does tend to look very generic. Thankfully though these moments, whilst common, tend to happen whilst you’re playing so aren’t massively distracting, allowing you to soak in the tones and themes presented to you as you progress.
Unfortunately though, its the story and its presentation, that does begin to drag this game down, then there’s its length, now I’ll admit, I didn’t reach the end of Miracle Mia as it began to strain on my ability to stay interested, it just seemed to be quite a long experience (there’s a chapter select and I think I counted ahead to over 20 chapters), with everything that was introduced in the time I spent with the game, it didn’t really need to feel like I was going to have to spend a lot longer with it than I already had to see its end, there were enough interesting ideas on show for a short, sharp experience, after all, its better to leave the player wanting more than it is to have them wondering just how much more there’s going to be.