In a time where Pikmin fans are longing for a new game, Masters of Anima serves as the scratch to subdue the itch for now. 

You play as Otto, a Shaper, who are humans that use staffs to wield the power of Anima, which effectively serves as this game's Mana, to summon Guardians to fight for them. Masters of Anima opens to a setting where the evil Shaper Zahr has kidnapped Otto's love interest, Ana, and split her body, mind, and heart from each other. It's your job to find these pieces, put Ana back together, and defeat Zahr. As you can probably already tell, the story isn't one we haven't heard before, and it's not really told in such a way that separates it from the rest, but it's still a heck of a lot of fun.

The gameplay isn't unlike anything I have played before either, but I certainly wasn't expecting it to be as fun as it was. At first glance, I saw it as a "hit the enemy as many times as you can until it dies" game, but no, this is very much a strategy game. Thought and emphasis has been put into the combat, having to utilise the right Guardians, such as Tanks to taunt and control the focus of the enemies, whilst using archers to deal real damage from afar. Overall, there are 5 different types of Guardians, and making sure you're summoning the right ones, and making the correct decisions on the battlefield, is the difference between living and dying.

Side missions are of high value throughout the levels. They're mostly about finding collectibles throughout the world, but they provide added XP to level Otto and his Guardians up between levels. There are around 5 or 6 perks for each Guardian, and around 15-20 for Otto, each with their own advantage, which will help you along the journey to rescuing Ana.

The game truly wins me over with its beautiful artistic style. It's stylised, but not in a too kid friendly kind of way, more of a Borderlands-esque, without the cell shade graphics. The music as well, only adds to the atmosphere this game creates, it's soothing when it needs to be, and vicious when it's called upon, it sets the tone of the levels you traverse. 

Enemy designs are simple, but sublime. You can tell the developers went for a less is more approach, as there are 5 or 6 unique designs, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. If you do come across the same enemy, they're placed perfectly apart, so you never really feel like you're facing the same one twice. As a fan of games with a focus on bosses, this is something I really appreciate, because good or bad bosses/enemies can make a game.

The game falls a little flat with its voice acting, as it can be a little silly at times, especially with Otto. Nothing more was expected, as this is definitely a game made on a budget, to which I don't suppose voice acting was a massive priority. It's not really to the game's detriment though, but this could be personal preference, as I found it to be so funny at times, it made me want to carry on even more so than I actually did. 

Each level can take you around 30 minutes to an hour to complete, of which there are 12, so you'll have this game finished around 10 hours, but I would absolutely say it's worth the £16.99 market price.