Masters of Anima

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Masters of Anima Game Poster Image
Lighthearted fantasy game summons fun while saving world.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Standard good vs. evil story, with some "save the damsel in distress" ideas tossed in. Also underlying themes of teamwork and overcoming obstacles, whether they're external or internal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Otto is a bit inexperienced, inept as a hero, but he's also kind-hearted, upbeat. Although he gets tossed into a situation he's not best suited for, Otto is determined to do his best to fend off encroaching evil, rescue his love, Ana.

Ease of Play

Summoning, controlling different types of Guardians can be a bit overwhelming at times, particularly during some battle-heavy moments. Managing your minion army while also seeking out the anima you need to fuel your army gives players a lot to do at once. Some random spikes in difficulty during play.

Violence

Lots of combat against many kinds of creatures. While there's constant fighting with large groups of minions, no blood, gore shown. Defeated creatures simply collapse with flashy effects, disappear.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Masters of Anima is a downloadable fantasy action/strategy game for the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows. Players summon and control an army of "Guardians" while on a quest to defeat an evil wizard and rescue their fiancée. Commanding the summoned Guardians while making sure to collect resources needed to keep a steady stream of minions available can be overwhelming at times, especially during some of the game's random difficulty spikes. While there's a lot of fighting against magical creatures, the visual style means that there's nothing to worry about in terms of blood or gore; enemies simply disappear when defeated.

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What's it about?

In MASTERS OF ANIMA, players are put in the role of Otto, an apprentice Shaper with a huge task ahead of him. Shapers are skilled magic wielders, gifted with the ability to take "anima" and use it to summon forth armies of creatures known as Guardians. Otto returns home from a recent trial to discover that an evil Shaper named Zahr has begun summoning massive Golems to wreak havoc across the land. Worse still, as part of his dark plans, Zahr has taken Otto's fiancée, the Supreme Shaper Ana, and split her essence into three parts, scattered to the winds. Now it's up to Otto to face his greatest trial yet. He must summon and command his own Guardian army to recover the pieces of Ana's soul, restore her to life, and save the world from Zahr in the process.

Is it any good?

This lighthearted fantasy strategy game will bring you back to summon fun along with your troops as you try to save the world. In Masters of Anima, they say there's strength in numbers, but that's only half the story, because it's what you do with those numbers that really tells the tale. From the moment you summon your first group of axe-wielding protectors, you'll need to keep your ever-growing army under tight control. Most threats are too much for Otto to handle alone, and many hazards can only be overcome by Guardians and their magic. Many times, this leads to situations where you have to summon certain units, divvy up troops, and send them to fight raging Golems or clear pesky obstacles from your path (or both), all while trying to keep Otto alive in the midst of chaos.

That intensity doesn't let up just because you get more minions to control, either. In fact, the more Guardians you have, the easier it is to lose control. You might lose a chunk of Guardians in a battle or even accidentally leave some behind and never notice until right before you need them. Since Guardians are fueled by anima, a finite resource scattered around the landscape, it's entirely possible (and likely) that when you need them most, you won't be able to summon the help you need. While all that micromanagement might seem overwhelming, Masters of Anima does a surprisingly good job of balancing things out. Sure, it can get a little frustrating at times, but never so much that you want to give up. Thanks to some generous checkpoints and fluid gameplay, each time you're defeated, you learn a little something and can usually progress a little further. Just as Otto grows from his role as an apprentice Shaper, so do you. Couple that with the game's lighthearted, colorful style, and you'll want to summon up Masters of Anima whenever you're in the mood for some classic fantasy fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the violence in Masters of Anima acceptable because there isn't graphic violence shown during battle? Is the combat more problematic because you're constantly fighting, even though it isn't bloody?

  • Talk about teamwork. How can working together as a team help you overcome obstacles? What are some good ways to work as a part of a team?

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