Players take on the role of a young man named Otto, who seemingly didn’t take life too seriously but to be with his true love, he had to grow up, and thanks to a calamity that takes place very early on, he was forced to unlock his true potential quickly. His beloved, Ana, has been trapped by the evil Zahr and Otto sets out on a quest to save her along with the world. The story isn’t what you’d call deep, but it has memorable and likable characters and a basic plot, and I think that’s all a game like this requires seeing as how it’s combined with enjoyable gameplay.
The training session early on teaches you the basics of combat, and summoning. Like Pikmin, you’ll need to raise Guardians, the most basic troop in the game. These little folks can be guided to move towers, break barricades, or collect items required to progress in the game. It’s by no means a new element for a game but it’s one that I don’t think we’ve seen enough of and this time it’s been completely re-skinned compared to what we have had in the past. As the game progresses, you’ll learn to bring forward new units known as Sentinels, Keepers, and Commanders. Each troop has a specialty and you’ll learn to use different combinations of them to perform different tasks. You can select specific groups or singular units and order then to different parts of the screen, adding a tactical element to the game.
As you progress through Masters of Anima, you’ll have to solve various puzzles, avoid traps, and search for various items required to continue your journey. Mana is required for summoning, so you’ll always want to be on the hunt to keep your stash full. While Otto has a melee attack, you cannot rely on him to fight his own battles, and besides, you’re a full-fledged sorcerer now, why not use some magical assistance? You’ll learn to become much more fluent in switching types of anima as you work your way through the game, and you’ll learn new tricks, and skills as you progress, keeping the combat fresh and fun, despite seeing some recurring enemies (very often) and similar puzzles to resolve.
The soundtrack for the game isn’t exactly noteworthy when put up against something like the Zelda or Final Fantasy franchise, but the voice acting is solid, and the battle tracks can get intense and is always apparent. As for the artwork, it’s beautiful and gives you that ‘unique’ indie feeling but with a mix of familiarity from games we’ve played in the past.
Masters of Anima takes elements from many other games we’ve all enjoyed and blends them into a truly impressive product. It will surely give you at least 12 hours’ worth of pure enjoyment and possibly more if you wish to explore for all the games’ hidden areas and extra secrets. Masters of Anima is a title that surely deserves a look, and I think it would be worth every penny you spend on it.1