Masquerada: Songs and Shadows
Rage against the Masquerines
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a game with as much heart as Masquerada. This Kickstarted isometric tactical action fantasy RPG (bit of a mouthful…) has plenty to offer, with gorgeous hand-drawn visuals, a talented voice cast, and a narrative full of twists and heartbreak. Set in the fantasy-Renaissance world of Omera, Masquerada lets you explore a world full of lore and secrets, use magic masks (also known as Masquerines) to control the elements, and unearth a conspiracy that threatens to topple the government. All in a day’s work, right?
When Masquerada is good, it is really good. There is a subtle depth to combat, and the ability to pause mid-battle allows you to plan and pull off satisfying strategies to take down foes. There’s an astonishing amount of detail invested in the history, locations and lore of the world. The companion characters are developed organically as the story progresses, and are given their own emotional arcs and place in the narrative to allow you to really connect with them.
It’s a shame then, that, for a game that tries so hard to create an immersive experience, it’s let down by features that take you out of the action. Loading screens interrupt scenes, set-pieces, and the story, slowing down the game’s pace. All too often, combat falls short of its tactical intention, deteriorating into a button-mashing contest, which cheapens the imaginative encounters.
But as we say, Masquerada’s got heart – give it a chance, and it’ll give you a wonderful world to lose yourself in.
Mask-nificent hand-drawn art makes each level look like a page out of a visual novel. Format PS4 (reviewed), XO, PC Pub Ysbryd Dev Witching Hour Studios ETA Out now Players