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Masters of Anima Hands-On Preview – Save the Girl, and Maybe the World (PS4)

Tucked into two consoles on the second level of the recent Le What’s Next De Focus event put on by publisher Focus Home Interactive, a game known as Masters of Anima by Passtech Games was available to play. PlayStation LifeStyle managed to sit down for a quick half-hour demo of this upcoming action game, and have a preview ready for your perusal below.

Meet Our Lazy Hero

The world of Spark is filed with a magical energy. Masters of this Anima are able to will beings called Guardians into existence, which can do their bidding. Naturally, there is a balance to this energy, both a light and a dark side. Protagonist Otto is kind of a lazy-ass, who is only going through a training program to learn the ways of the Anima in order to secure his marriage to his betrothed, Ana. In a twist of fate, the evil Zahr has kidnapped Ana, and threatened the world with his dark sorcery. It is up to Otto to save his woman – and then maybe ask her to save the world?

The story is rather traditional for an adventure game, but Otto’s general behavior is a funny take on a usually willing hero. He’s not even a reluctant hero, but rather a greedy doofus who just so happens to have latent talent, which he doesn’t even seem to care about in the first place. This will probably change over the course of the adventure, as Otto learns that the world needs help and that he is able to do something about it, but his character as shown during our demo was a likable lazy hero.

Masters of Anima controls a bit like Diablo, on the surface. The game is presented in an isometric fashion, and attacking is performed with the face buttons. But Otto can summon and control Guardians by use of the shoulder buttons, and these Guardians do his bidding. Up to 100 of these Guardians can be controlled at any one time, and they are grouped by type or in custom groups as dictated by the player. Each class of Guardian are best for certain actions, such as melee combat, ranged attacks, defense, and there is even one class of Guardian that can summon other Guardians on behalf of Otto (fitting right in with his lazy attitude). If these mechanics sound kind of familiar or in the vein of Pikmin, that’s because it is. That is meant as a compliment to the ease with which I found the game allowed me to quickly control as many or as few Guardians as I wanted.

Feel Like You Know What You’re Doing

Managing up to 100 Guardians might sound overwhelming, but they are automatically grouped by type, and creating a custom group is as simple as running over to the desired new group and holding a button. Sure, such a game might be slightly easier to control with a mouse and keyboard, and the game is indeed releasing on PC as well, but what we played at the Focus Home event controlled as well as is possible with the controller. This is the kind of game that can make the player feel pretty smart as they direct multiple groups to do different actions while they also join in on the fight, and it’s a rush to get things working just right.

As each of the campaign’s levels are completed, the player’s performance is graded, with an ‘S’ rank being the highest. The first few levels I played were fairly easy to score A-ranks and S-ranks, but then this was the first half hour of the game. If Masters of Anima tracks stats such as fastest clear or minimum number of Guardians used, then no doubt streamers and competitive gamers will fight for leaderboard status.

Masters of Anima felt like a refreshing change of pace from a lot of other games out there. One part Pikmin, mixed with Diablo-style combat and in a world all its own, Masters of Anima is sure to delight plenty with its varied unit types and intuitive control scheme. Passtech Games is currently busy aligning all the bits just right to deliver us Master of Anima in Spring 2018.

PlayStation LifeStyle would like to thank Passtech Games and Focus Home Interactive for taking the time to show us Masters of Anima. Watch this space for more information on this and other games from the Le What’s Next De Focus event, coming soon!