Masters of Anima comes across as a Pikmin-like game where you control little troop minions and have them battle on your behalf. It's a mostly linear adventure with some small side objectives to take part in while you're moving along working towards the core goal. It's very heavily focused on the narrative and provides just the core campaign. There's no side content to it though you can work towards high scores as each battle is rated. I wish there was something more as the concept actually would make for some interesting multiplayer. That aside levels are long, varied and full of challenging content. You really have to get a good grasp for each of the nuances in combat and the organization of troops to be successful.
You work through a pile of smaller battles and a number of puzzles that will get you to unlock points or clear corruption. The enemy has truly disrupted the land and you need to clean it up while dealing with the odd boss battle along the way. They mixed things up well and I did generally enjoy working through the story. I found the characters to have clear goals and felt the way the narrative was delivered to flow naturally throughout the various missions. Levels are quite long so it may take awhile to play through depending on how much time you spend taking in the side puzzles. Things could be somewhat difficult at times and I did desire some more easy going checkpoints quite honestly.
There's a really distinct aesthetic to Masters of Anima and I found the art style to be lovely. It takes a partial cartoon style against a minimalistic design. There's detail to the characters and world, yet your troops are simple as well as helpful. It feels like a Pikmin game as you control them and coordinate their actions. You need to use the world to your advantage as it'll grant bonuses and position the various troop types in particular places for the best efficiency. There are a number of troop types present and options to enhance the squad as you level to gain new skill points. Levels are fairly large, well detailed and feature a wide variety of terrains. The puzzles are also varied and I liked how refreshing the world felt to venture through. It was almost epic controlling my small squad that continued to expand as things progressed.
Masters of Anima provides unique gameplay that's focused on strategic combat and troop coordination. The story was intriguing and I liked the selection of characters present along with their goals. It wasn't a typical tale and that worked out for a different type of adventure. The strategy elements work well and there's a lot of variation present as you split the troops up. It takes a lot of effort to keep things moving, but you feel a certain pride when your formula setup for a battle situation is actually working. It can be rather difficult and unforgiving, but there was a fair challenge present. The minimalistic style works well and there's a good selection of missions to work through with a narrative that keeps you invested.
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Masters of Anima Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by Focus Home Interactive