Masters of Anima - Nintendo Switch Review

Follow me, guardians; I will show you the way.

Game Info

  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
  • Developer: Passtech Games
  • Release Date: April 10, 2018

Who it Caters to

It’s always a wonderful thing to see the Nintendo Switch receiving so much love and admiration from indie companies all around the world, truly cementing the console as the go-to for trying out fresh new titles. That isn’t to say that Nintendo’s hybrid console is all about indie-driven titles, as there are an ample array of heavy hitters for players to enjoy as well. In this case, we’re diving into a brand new title from the folks at Passtech Games, who’ve created a 3D adventure fantasy game titled Masters of Anima, which also implements elements of strategy in order to fend off tough foes in battle. Anyone who enjoys a new experience will surely find Masters of Anima to be a treat of many sorts, as it provides you with a moving story about a man out to save his wife-to-be from the grimy hands of evil, and put an end to it all before it’s too late. What’s different is that you use the powers known as Anima to control guardians, all of whom specialize in specific forms of combat such as melee, range and much more. It’s up to you to decide what type of tactical methods are necessary in order to overtake the evil Zahr, and stop him from wreaking havoc on the world with Golems.

What to Expect

As you’d expect from any strategy title, Masters of Anima throws you into a magical world full of mystery, and it’s up to you to figure out the right plan of action in order to succeed. It’s by no means an easy feat as every battle you encounter grows increasingly more challenging, and each Golem you encounter possessing new abilities that you’ll need to overcome with the help of your guardians. It isn’t just about throwing your guardians head first into melee mode, Masters of Anima teaches you that teamwork is key to winning and if you can master the Anima effectively, you’ll conquer anything that stands in your way. Acquire new powers as you run through beautifully designed worlds, which all take place from a Diablo-style top down perspective, and learn more about the history of Anima as you progress through the story. Learning to control your guardians and positioning them effectively will certainly require some extra time and effort, but once you do get the hang of it, most of your time playing Masters of Anima will be an enjoyable one. Just expect to die a lot in the early stages of the game since there’s quite a bit to wrap your head around. With all that being said, let’s jump into the gameplay side of things, and give you some more reasons as to why Masters of Anima is worth the purchase.

Gameplay

We’ll be quite forthcoming from the start and say that, while Masters of Anima certainly looks wonderful on the Switch, we found the voice acting and cutscenes to be a bit jarring at times. More into that later as we’ll first tackle the good things before moving onto what can be improved. As you start up the game, you’re introduced to the main protagonist Otto, who finds himself in a pickle when his wife is kidnapped by the evil Zahr, and now the rookie Anima controller must learn to earn his ranks and save his wife before it’s too late. The game does a decent job of introducing players to the mechanics and offering you useful tips on how to effectively use your actions in battle. We like it because it’s not too overbearing and doesn’t consume much of the gameplay time. In fact, it allows you to test things out as you play and not drag you on too much with tutorial dialogue. There’s surprisingly a lot of controls that you’ll need to really practice to ensure you can utilize every tactic learned throughout the game, but the main ones to really understand are how to just summon and place your guardians on the battlefield.

They’re important because placement plays such a major role in defeating bosses and each boss will respond differently to your tactical approach. When an enemy starts to notice you’re always using melee guardians, for example, to take it down, it’ll use very strong AOE (area of effect) attacks to blow your guardians away leaving them dizzied or immobile for some time. If you become too reliant on one particular way of beating bosses, the game will often punish you for it, which is a nice feeling since it reminds you to think outside of the box. This is where the skills you learn throughout the game will become even more important because you’ll sometimes want your melee guardians to be a decoy, therefore you’ll need to strengthen their defensive capabilities to ensure they don’t get knocked back so easily. It’s all about using the right combination at the right time and knowing just when to call your guardians back when you feel overwhelmed, because greedy plays will get you killed relatively fast in the long run. Take our word for it.

The more time you spend on Masters of Anima, the more enjoyable the gameplay becomes because it’s no longer about mainly hacking and slashing your way through multiple enemies, it starts to feel like you’re commanding a fleet of soldiers and so, every decision you make is imperative to victory. It kind of reminded us of playing RTS games, where moving a group of your squad to certain areas would often create openings for your other squad to engage the enemy. It’s all back and forth because you’ll sometimes want to split up your guardians into small groups both close to the enemy and far away, so that you the main character, can also attack effectively. Your attacks can also be buffed using learned skills so being too reliant on your guardians is like a double-edged sword, and so being mindful of that at all times keeps things engaging. For example, you have what’s called Battlecry which if used correctly, can buff your guardians during battle allowing them to use powerful attacks to unleash hell on the enemy, or you can use it to stun the enemy and deal physical damage yourself. All of this sounds real complex by reading it, but once you actually dive in and experiment with all the different methods of gameplay Masters of Anima is truly fun.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Now of course, no game comes without its cons, and Masters of Anima certainly has areas which need some fine tuning. As we mentioned before, the cutscenes in the game often cut out very quickly which create this odd transition from cutscene to game. The voice acting at times lacks any emotion and makes Otto seem real goofy and weak rather than someone who’s really determined to save his wife from near death. Zahr seems to play the part well but there were moments where even he seemed a little too nice in his tone. Perhaps for next time, if there’s a sequel, they should add more zest to the voice acting and really put in more effort to make characters sound like how they should feel, especially during dire moments. The control scheme we felt was nice but as we said earlier, it may take some getting used to for others since most of the controls require you to press two buttons simultaneously. It may not always work and you may make the mistake of recalling your guardians instead of summoning more for example, but that will just take some extra time to get the buttons into muscle memory. Overall we enjoyed Masters of Anima and certainly recommend it to anyone looking for something new and exciting to try out on the Switch. It has enough strategy to keep you thinking and the gameplay is deep enough that you won’t get bored after a couple hours of play.

Honey's Pros:

  • Cool story approach.
  • Wonderful crisp visuals on the Switch.
  • Very engaging gameplay with strong strategic elements.
  • Enough depth to keep you on your toes.

Honey's Cons:

  • Voice acting can use a little more work.
  • Cutscenes need to be a little more concise when transitioning back to gameplay.

Honey's Final Verdict:

Masters of Anima was developed by Passtech Games and published by the good folks at Focus Home Interactive, the same team that brought you The Council, which we also reviewed for you! If you enjoyed this review please feel free to share your thoughts below, and of course, if you want to read up on more game reviews, then be sure to check out our review section! We have a nice catalog of titles that we’ve played and so please take the time to find the games you like! Follow us on social media as well to know of all the latest gaming updates, and of course follow us on Twitch to see us playing all these great games live!

As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!

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