Reviews

Masters of Anima Review – Looking for a Spark.

Passtech games and Focus Home Interactive have decided to bring players a hybrid of top down dungeon crawling and RTS in its newest title ‘Masters of Anima’. The plot follows a rookie ‘Shaper’ named Otto, Shapers are the Wizards and Conjurers of the title. They focus the games magical energy called ‘Anima’ to create golems from the ground, which then fight for their masters.

It’s an interesting take on the tried and tested rogue-like dungeon crawling aesthetic, can Masters manage to fuse the realms of real time strategy and action role playing successfully? Pikmin + Zelda? Yes and no in this reviewer’s opinion.

Columns of Golems

Masters of Anima features a simplified real time troop management system in the golems that are created by players. As the game progresses players will be able to summon various types of golems, eventually creating their own personal army. This might seem a bit too much for a dungeon crawler but is best understood when put into practice.

“Archers in the front rank? Who is this clown!?”

All units can be controlled with the PlayStation 4 controller with ease and single button presses. For example, to move a unit from destroying a barricade to charging an enemy one simply presses circle, triangle and cross. The whole experience has been brilliantly mapped to a controller and is an achievement in itself.

Time Owed…

Players will also level up, which aids in giving our protagonist more units to plunder and topple with. My one major gripe with the whole experience was boss battles. As players get around 3 hours into Masters of Anima they will find that the difficulty spikes and boss battles can drag on for far longer than necessary. Reggie tip: The key to a successful fight is to divide and conquer, never place all units together. Place ranged units at the opposing end of the screen to avoid losing anima as melee troops will need constant backup by spawning more and more troops.

This reviewer would like to speak about Masters’ sound engineering earlier than normal in this review. Masters of Anima has an English cast with Northern Accents. Now this writer is Mancunian and is well versed in Northern accents. Please believe me when one tells you that not everyone sounds as emotive and brain dead as the voice acting cast in Masters of Anima.

“Although Archers work well behind infantry, it’s always best to keep them separate!”

Does Thoust Fancy a bit of Drippin’ Duck?

One doesn’t understand why game developers choose northern accents in games. Fable was cute with it but still sounded like a Sunday evening tap room in Tameside. Not that the plot has any particular strengths, but whatever stamina it has is drained by the appalling voice work.

Otherwise the game does its job in the audio department. Whimsical and epic, the soundtrack sets players expectations of the fantasy genre. One wouldn’t actively seek out and tracks, but that’s ok. Sound effects all fit into place and are aptly timed. Jolly good!

Another ‘World of Warcraft’ cell shaded clone is in the graphical midst of Heroes of Anima, which is a shame really. Whilst one will admit it looks sharp and runs smoothly, fantasy based titles give the most creative freedom! Activision wouldn’t dream of giving the new C.O.D. single player access to a wizard’s staff would they? Well, maybe in Zombies but I’m sure my readers get the point!

“Yeah! Hold me back fam!”

Verdict:

Graphics and Presentation: 3

Sound: 2.5

Gameplay: 3.5

Overall Score: 3/5

‘Masters of Anima’ tries to make its own mark on dungeon crawlers, and in some respects it does. But the unbalanced boss battles and horrible voice acting seems to nullify the titles efforts. One hopes that another title polishes up the RTS elements of Masters of Anima and rocks it, it’s a great idea!

Formats: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed),Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam

Price: £15.99

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

Developer: Passtech Games

Release Date: 10/04/2018

Age Rating: PEGI 12+

Review copy provided by publisher

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