Disclaimer: A copy of this game was provided the publisher for review.
Masters of Anima is a whimsical combat RTS by Passtech Games. In it, you learn of Shapers who keep the world protected from something like a magical volcano. This volcano is Mount Spark. Using Anima they summoner warriors and give them specialized tasks. The protagonist Otto, becomes one such shifter and immediately after Mount Spark erupts. Players find this is the work of the villain Zahr who has also sundered your bride to be. Now her soul is scattered across the land in shards. She was the Master Shifter and without her, the world appears to be doomed. Now you need to piece her back together.
But by the time you gather all those shards, you’ll probably be the stronger of the two of you. If Ana wasn’t such a damsel in distress none of this would be happening. With the way she patronizes you, you’d probably be better off without her. But instead, you chase after her like a lost puppy.
The Gameplay In Masters Of Anima
Since you’ve mastered the basics of summoning guardians with Anima, you’re just as qualified to help during this catastrophe. There are a few environmental hazards and simple puzzles but the challenges come from bosses and mini-bosses. You’ll micromanage the five kinds of guardians that you unlock to widdle away at their health.
The guardians are protectors (frontline), sentinels (archers), commanders (which extend battle cries), keepers (resource managers and health providers), and summoners which manage small minions of their own. Managing these mobs with an Xbox One controller was difficult but doable. However, I got the impression that the game would run better with a keyboard and mouse. Managing mobs of up to 100 gets to be a struggle. And the difficulty of the bosses struck me as unusual. It seemed a challenge for someone new to RTS and to simple for those familiar with the genre.
However, as of the 15th, they have made some changes regarding this, at least to the PC version. This update is still in Beta though. Three new difficulties settings are now available there. They are Apprentice, Shaper, and Master. Apprentice halves the health of enemies making this what could be an alright starting game for players new to the genre. They also give back their full Anima when they die. This can keep new players from feeling resource starved during battle. Shaper provides a slight decrease in difficulty and Master is the current difficulty. Though the original setting as the most difficult may not give RTS vets the challenges they are looking for.
Other Problems and Strengths
The main story takes between eight and ten hours to complete making it fairly short. And many have compared the game to Overlord and Pikmin. Leveling centers around a skill tree and you gain skill by gaining XP. However, there are lots of hidden areas and this leads to a lot of backtracking in an attempt to avoid being under-leveled. These areas often feel boring and take away some of the game’s enjoyment, most of which is found in the game’s graphics. With more polished controls Master of Anima could have been a more enjoyable game. But as it stands it was underwhelming and did not meet expectations.