Masters of Anima Review

Posted May 23, 2018 by Jacqueline Juretus in Video Games

Developer: Passtech Games

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

Release Date: April 10, 2018

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

(Note: Did not fully finish on PS4, Looked up missed bits)

Masters of Anima is an ambitious little game that plays with some different mechanics–some of which work well, and some that fall short. The battle system in which the player commands various guardians to take down golems is the star of the show. Everything else works to give reason or padding for that system to take place.

The controls are simple enough though take some getting used to to use effectively. The tutorial is competent in that it states just what is need to know, but does not hand-hold. Choosing the correct strategy for a battle can be a bit trial and error, but the checkpoints are usually well placed so it’s rarely an issue. There are several difficulty spikes which can get frustrating. The game however stays fair and does not deal out cheap deaths.  Players summon different types of guardians, each of which have their own specific abilities for battles or puzzles.  More types of guardians become available as the game progresses.  Guardians are summoned and abilities are used by collecting and using anima. In between levels, players can level up different abilities of Otto, the main character, and the guardians with the skill points they have acquired.  Rankings are given out after each major battle or trial based on damage taken, time, and guardians used.  The higher the ranking, the more points are given.  Players can grind by replaying levels for more points.

Battles are very fast paced and are generally fun to figure out, however some of the longer battles can become tedious.  As more guardians are unlocked, the more complex the battles become.  There is some resource management as running out of anima is an issue.  A major downside is that Otto or the guardians sometimes move too slow and take damage because of it.  Larger, spread out battles can be tricky due to the zoomed in fixed camera.

The other major aspect of the gameplay is puzzle solving with the guardians.  Puzzles usually consist of pushing or pulling things, shooting targets, or getting to a specific area quickly.  As with everything in the game puzzles become longer or more complex as the game progresses.  They are usually not hard to figure out, though can take a few tries to get the timing down for some.  There are collectibles throughout each level for those that like to explore more.  They don’t add much of anything to the story and are mainly padding.

The story and characters are basic, but not bad.  There is an interesting mythos behind the world with the shapers, guardians, and golems.  Players control Otto, whose fiance gets sundered by the villain Zahr, who wants to take over the world.  Otto searches for the scattered pieces of his fiance so they can take down Zahr and save the world.  The voice acting is serviceable.  Dialogue rides a fine line between cute and charming, and unbearably cheesy.  Some of the lines may make players want to skip through it.  The game is around 10 to 15 hours give or take.

The art style is illustrative and very nice.  Cut scenes are moving illustrations with dialogue overlayed.  Environments have just enough detail to establish a theme, but are kept simple so the player can focus on their character and units.  Minimal HUD also helps as to not obstruct the action.  Explorers may get lost in levels as there is no map and some large, optional areas just for collectibles.  Every now and then a relatively subtle green arrow will appear, directing the player where to go.

Masters of Anima is a good pick up for a sale and may be fun for gamers that seek a challenge or a unique strategic game.

About the Author

Jacqueline Juretus