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Masters Of Anima

Posted by GG Goblin On April - 17 - 2018

Masters of the tactical?

 
Passtech Games’ Masters of Anima may have a fairly innocuous title and a bright and colourful outlook. But beneath all of the fluffy stuff lies an action strategy game with a devilish difficulty. You have been warned!

 
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Masters of Anima seems to take inspiration from games such as Overlord and even Pikmin, casting the player in the role of someone who is able to summon and control minions to do their bidding. There is something quite satisfying about games of this type, where the player can play out a power fantasy while still able to get their hands dirty. We don’t see games of this type very often, so when Masters of Anima came along, there was good reason to get excited.

 
Set in a fantasy world, players take on the role of Otto, an apprentice Shaper. In this world, a magical substance can be found known as Anima, and Shapers are the beings who can control it and use it to pretty much make anything. In the distant past, creatures known Golems tried to wipe out humanity, but Shapers rose up and controlled their own armies of Golems called Guardians to fight back the Golem menace. The world has now been at peace for a while, but the Shapers still stand ready should the Golems return.

 
Well, that is except for Otto. He doesn’t take the role of Shaper seriously, and why should he when he is due to marry the awesome Shaper Ana. As may be expected, things all turn a bit grim with the appearance of an evil wizard called Zahr, who has awakened the Golems and, to top it all off, then kidnaps Ana who is pretty much the only person who could stop him. Players are going to have to take the inexperienced Otto and develop his skills, all while they rescue Ana and put a stop to Zahr.

 
It’s pretty standard fantasy stuff, peppered with an awkward humour that doesn’t always hit the mark. The game made me chuckle a few times, but more often than not I was left rolling my eyes. Still, as a vehicle for some exciting gameplay, the story serves its purpose.

 
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While Otto may be a bit handy with his staff, there is no way that tapping Golems with a stick is going to win the day. Fortunately, Otto’s Anima powers give him the chance to summon Guardians to do the pesky fighting stuff for him. This is the core aspect of the game, summoning groups of Guardians and controlling them. With some simple button presses, the player is able to summon their Guardians and order them to attack enemies, retreat from battle, move to a better place, or use special abilities. The Guardians are such a key part of the gameplay, that they are even used for solving the various puzzles that could involve pushing blocks or activating switches, in between fighting the Golems.

 
As the player levels up and becomes more powerful, they will have access to different types of Guardians that will all have different uses in battle. From the simple Guardian that goes in and fights the enemy, and the ranged attack Guardian for long range attacks, to the more specialised Guardians such as those who can summon their own mini-Guardians to battle. There are five different types of Guardian, and players will have to become quite adept at juggling them and using them to their best advantage to take on the evil wizard.

 
One of the Guardian types has a very specific purpose, in that they can syphon Anima from Golems. Anima is what the player needs to summon their Guardians in the first place, and Otto can only hold so much so being able to syphon some more Anima during battle is essential. The problem is that, even with the syphoning, there is often just not enough Anima to keep the army of Guardians topped up, making for some very frustrating fails as all of the Guardian army is crushed and the player has no way to summon more.

 
The actual encounters range from being fairly simple to absolute chaos surprisingly quickly. Being able to approach any encounter with a tactical plan is a good idea, but so often, when faced with say three Golems at once, any plans just get thrown out of the window and chaos ensues. Masters of Anima proves very early on to be a difficult game, and often difficult in an unfair way. The difficulty spikes without any warning, and often a victory seems to be more luck than skill. Fans of the hardcore game genre will no doubt rejoice, but for most players it all becomes a little too frustrating.

 
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Masters of Anima is a great concept for a game type that just doesn’t show up very often. It has some really good ideas and looks nice, but the level of frustration from the difficulty limits the game to a certain type of audience. If you are looking for a challenge, or simply love this style of game, then Masters of Anima may well be worth checking out.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 



 

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