Video games and the end users are a funny pair, as we all want something new, something exciting to wow us, whether that be a deep and engaging story arc, fresh gameplay features, or a new setting, the chance to experience a “new” IP is rarely seen. The moment a feature is rebranded in some way, people are up in arms that it’s “all been done before” and nothing is new. Step forward Masters of Anima.
Masters of Anima is the latest release of publisher Focus Home Interactive, and Passtech Games. The story behind the game when you make it as simple as possible is; beat the bad guy and save the girl. That’s what it boils down to, and let’s face it, it’s nothing new at all. But still we can’t help but feel all heroic as our digital lady has been swiftly taken from us, only for us to rise to the occasion and set out in search of her. A typical trope that’s been apart of gaming for many years now, and even now I don’t mind it. It’s a solid base for a story, and Masters of Anima is no different.
It all starts off innocent enough, with you having to prove to your girlfriend that you’re Indeed ready to pass the trial and marry her. It’s the only way this relationship can last otherwise you will find yourself alone. This sets up the opening mission nicely that acts as a tutorial for you to get to grips with summoning your very own Guardians to command, and harness the power of Anima. Otto must learn, and learn fast as it soon falls upon you to save not only your betrothed, but the world itself.
Action packed strategy gameplay in a beautifully crafted world, with full voice acted characters provide Masters of Anima with enough content and looks to give it a good chance of standing out among the crowd of games available to you right now. But why should you pick Masters of Anima over any other game? Simply put, because it’s a high quality and genuinely fun game. The strategical influenced action gameplay is not just fluid and works, but it’s very easy to pick up and start playing as you unleash up to 100 Guardians upon your foes. They’re not just one breed of Guardians powered by the Anima either, as there are enough variations to assist you during your play time. Place them strategically to attack from range, send the melee squad to swarm the AI and more. You could effectively stand back and watch as your army does your bidding and resulting dirty work.
Each location within the game is crafted with enough care and attention to help distinguish it from the one that came before it. Between battles are easy to solve puzzles that keep the game flowing smoothly and several collectibles that are worth picking up. Don’t worry if you miss something, as you can replay a mission at any time from the menu.
The last time I played a game that played in a similar manner was Overlord way back in 2008, and even though it was a funny game, it didn’t play that well with its clunky controls and awful camera. Masters of Anima has taken that idea and truly nailed it. I can honestly say that I did not once find it a drag to play, nor did I tire of the story, or even find the voice acting irritating. The only gripe I can pull the game up on, is the manoeuvring of Otto when you’re attempting to place Guardians around you. If it had more akin to a twin stick shooter, it would have worked a little bit better. But practice makes perfect, and the control scheme isn’t inherently bad. Just takes some adapting to become accustomed too.
Despite not rocking the boat with shed loads of new features and twists, Master of Anima does a good job and being a great title on its own merits. From decent voice acting, to some great strategical game play and colourful graphics, it stands above plenty of other games out there and is certainly worthy of a purchase. Sometimes, sticking to a formula can result in some pleasant surprises, and Masters of Anima is one of them games that you should go and purchase.
Developer: Passtech Games
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release Date: 10th April 2018
File Size: 1.68GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 & Steam