Libra: Masquerada: Songs and Shadows (Switch)
Libra is a series which provides first impressions of games before their full review. These are generally spoiler free, however some base plot points – as well as some mechanic/system reveals – could lurk ahead.
I’ve found that few games, especially those of the indie variety, successfully pull off a truly compelling game world worthy of buckets of dialogue, while also encouraging the player to dive deeper with supplementary journal excerpts. Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a budget-minded title that really sells itself on its world building and characters – and does so well – but is not immune to some concerning flaws elsewhere.
Masquerada is a pause-for-tactics RPG based around a large city known as Ombre, one thats very essence is heavily inspired by the culture of 15th and 16th century Venetian masquerades – events where the attendees would don ornate masks. In real life, these events and celebrations were often reserved for the high end of society, but not always. Similar to that notion, at a base level, Masquerada centers its world around these masks but takes it a step further, using them as a permanent divisive tool between political and social factions. A detective’s tale at its core, Masquerada puts you behind the eyes of Cicero, a former exiled “inspettore” that is drawn back to the city once again to get to the bottom of a sticky situation.
- Characters and world building are superb.
- Beautifully designed art.
- Heavy emphasis on storytelling through completely voiced conversations and cutscenes, which are of excellent quality.
- Combat feels like a pointless afterthought rather than a meaningful system.
- Very little to interact with in the environment.
- An interesting talent system, conceptually, feels a bit lackluster in execution.
Be on the lookout for my full review of Masquerada: Songs and Shadows soon!