Typically nice concepts could be held again by a scarcity of focus. In the case of the Arrowiz-developed JRPG Mato Anomalies, there clearly was love poured into the expertise. Nonetheless, as an journey, dungeon-crawler JRPG, visible novel, and semi-deck-builder, gamers have quite a bit to wrap their heads round. The design is there, however the focus will not be, making this one expertise that doesn’t fairly nail any of its options outdoors of a relatively spectacular battle system and character design.
Mato Anomalies wastes completely no time throwing gamers into its narrative. First, we meet Doe, who’s seemingly captured by some thugs, however he’s truly on a job of some kind. Okay, right here’s the difficulty. I don’t know who Doe is, however everybody else appears to. All of them have a previous with the character casually introduced up in conversations but has nothing to do with the difficulty at hand. What occurred to opening the sport with some interior dialogue to introduce its lead so we are able to all be on the identical web page? As a substitute, the subsequent factor I knew, I used to be on a case and investigating some prison exercise the place. I discovered myself in a rift the place I met an exorcist named Gram, who can struggle creatures in these Lairs.
This all occurred within the first quarter-hour or so of the sport, and I nonetheless had no concept why I used to be doing this. The writing is like this for many of the sport, the place there are these deep themes of corruption, with our two leads doing their greatest to struggle again in opposition to it, however their relationship is as flimsy because the plot. Gram tends to be smug nearly all the time, whereas Doe talks himself by way of issues to progress the story.
Okay, after taking part in the opening a 3rd time, I believe I perceive what’s occurring. There’s this group referred to as HANDOUT (all caps), who Doe is investigating for a top-level spy named Nightshade. Whereas investigating some cargo, he’s sucked right into a rift and attacked by the in-game enemies often known as Bane Tide, and that is the place Gram reveals as much as save, they usually work collectively. At no level do I perceive why Gram has this energy and if Gram is even actual, however others find yourself becoming a member of their trigger.
The investigation as a result of extra difficult the deeper down the rabbit gap Doe goes, however let me inform you. Oh, let me inform you, this story will get insane. However, suppose you may comply with alongside within the slightest. In that case, you’ll be handled to an approaching apocalypse, time journey, resurrection, and lots extra fantastical plot factors that may make you suppose again to how easy issues had been when your solely job was to analyze HANDOUT (all caps). It’s doable to replay outdated chapters at any time, which I had to make use of a number of instances.
Backside line, the narrative is unimaginable, however good luck maintaining as a result of the writing is extraordinarily dense. These characters go off on long-winded tangents earlier than inserting some joke and shifting on to the subsequent topic. Because of this, nothing feels cohesive, and the writing usually comes off as extraordinarily dry. There’s a ton of labor put into crafting this godly story of each fantasy aspect into one sport, however your guess is pretty much as good as mine why Doe doesn’t simply transfer to a brand new metropolis.
Gameplay highlights a bit extra of Mato Anomalies’ qualities. Gamers can discover a metropolis and tackle side-quests that make issues extra complicated. The sport is separated into exploring town as Doe and Lair dungeons as Gram. Town is related by subways and will get fairly huge within the later chapters. There are NPCs you may speak to, despite the fact that I don’t counsel it as a result of it’s good to keep centered on the story, however the metropolis does look alive. It has a fantastic design and shocked me with its many areas, regardless if there’s no actual cause to discover. Simply go to the mission locations and progress the narrative.
The Lairs are literally the place gameplay will get thrilling. That is doubtless the best a part of the sport, due to the intelligent dungeon themes and battle system. All through the sport, you’ll add new celebration members to your staff who can struggle the Bane Tide. Every has some elemental property used to make the most of enemy weaknesses. Nonetheless, don’t just like the Persona-like attraction idiot you; there are not any staggered or down enemies right here for locating their weaknesses.
Regardless, it’s a enjoyable and quick JRPG. However, you realize what, I wouldn’t have minded if all the sport was simply this. Positive, by way of some story in there, however that is the place I had essentially the most enjoyable. It’s tough in some areas, like the problem being on the low facet, however there are elective dungeons with greater difficulties and loads of cool enemy sorts. As Gram turns into a central determine within the narrative, these dungeons change into extra fascinating.
By battles, you’ll acquire ranges that unlock new abilities. As well as, the gear could be bought, which boosts the characters fairly a bit, and Expertise factors could be distributed to enhance base stats. It’s a really normal JRPG expertise, however after the thoughts f**ok of a narrative, that’s all I wished. A randomized dungeon possibility could be accomplished for gear, however the issue is excessive in these encounters. Nonetheless, I’ll say that characters don’t be taught too many abilities after what’s initially out there from the beginning. Nonetheless, the celebration is diversified so you may combine issues up a bit.
Okay, there’s additionally this Thoughts Hack minigame tied to some quests, however I didn’t take pleasure in all of it. After some time, you may customise some elements of the deck, however this could have been left as a minigame as a result of each time it got here up, I brute-forced my means by way of it, randomly deciding on playing cards until it was over.
All of this packaged up is extraordinarily messy. There’s a scarcity of focus from the very starting that by no means will get corrected within the later chapters. It’s as if a number of groups labored on completely different methods, after which they threw them in a blender, anticipating it to work. And I haven’t even informed you in regards to the random comic-book type cutscenes vs. 3D animated cutscenes; like, come on, simply choose one; why each? What’s unhappy is that this sport is unimaginable based mostly on the presentation alone. I liked the character animations in battles, the designs of assorted dungeons, and the general tone of the journey.
Mato Anomalies is a novel and messy expertise from starting to finish. You’ll by no means know what the narrative goes to throw at you. I felt no connection to the principle protagonist or his quest to save lots of this metropolis, however I loved the battle system and dungeon-crawling facet sufficient to stay to Chapter 7, which wasn’t simple. Nonetheless, there are a number of stable gameplay mechanics right here, and I hope the builders use what works to create one thing extra centered.