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Set in a country beset by civil war, where masquerade masks grant their wearers incredible powers, Masquerada is an interesting and deep isometric tactical RPG. You assume the role of Cicero, an Ispettore (inspector) brought back from exile to track down an important official, a researcher that has gone missing. Masquerada is set in a fantastical Venetian world where threats are presented from not only the rival faction, known as “The Mask Runners,” but also from the magical creatures known as Fey.
The prologue acts as a tutorial, setting up the backstory of the world and also giving a nice quick rundown on the games battle mechanics. Pausing the action just as it starts or at any time in battles, gives some real interesting tactical options in Masquerada, this allows the player to set up flanking positions, change fighting stance and time attacks or buffs. There is also an emphasis on elemental tags that allow extra damage to be dealt to enemies by tagging an enemy or group with one attack and carrying out specific follow up moves. Character’s skills and powers can be assigned and upgraded for offence or defence depending on play style and different masks will give different Elemental powers, bonuses and skills.
The story is a wonderfully written and fully voiced experience, full of political intrigue, lore, mystery and in fighting between the various factions of the Citte Della Ombre, meaning that Masquerada’s world is as interesting as it is complex. There are numerous codex entries that give extra back story to the world and it’s characters for those ready to dive deep but enough is explained throughout the story that nothing seems confusing. For those looking to just take in the story, there is also an easier story mode that tones down difficulty but will still give you the thrill of the fights and tactics.
Masquerada: Songs and Shadows has some great tactical gameplay in an incredibly rich and vibrant world that may put off some with it’s slow burning story but those that love well written mystery and political intrigue will really appreciate all it has to offer.
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.
Disclosure: Masquerada: Songs and Shadows [Nintendo Switch eShop code] was kindly provided by Stride PR for this review.