Masquerada: Songs and Shadows Review
Hey there everybody! Shaun Meyers (Kyo Akiara) here to share my thoughts on Masquerada: Songs and Shadows by Witching Hour Studios and Ysbryd Games. A copy of the game was provided to me for video/review purposes from our good friends at GOG but it has no effect on how I feel about the game.
I imagine that many of you reading this right now might be unfamiliar with Masquerada. The game is a story driven, indie RPG that takes place in a Venetian city-state currently in the midst of a civil war between the upper class, Masquerada and The Maskrunners.
Civil wars are a fairly common trope in RPG’s and they’ve been around since the 90’s at least but there are some things that make Masquerada unique from the rest.
The first is the Venetian setting which is brought to life beautifully by the game’s hand drawn art style which is both colorful and pretty to look at. The nuance of the glowing gems and fauna in certain areas of the game are really impressive and are definitely my favorite part of the game’s appearance. You’ll be able to see one such area in a screenshot below, it’s quite pretty.
The game’s soundtrack is unique and enhances the overall atmosphere. Never once is the music annoying to listen to and its orchestral melodies are actually quite relaxing. So definitely another plus side to the game.
My favorite parts of this game though, are definitely the story and voice acting. The story is told from the perspective of Cicero Gavar, an inspector whose been tasked with finding a friend named Razitof whose gone missing (Poof right into thin air). Cicero as a character starts off as kind of a jerk but as the story goes on and he meets new companions, he begins to warm up and becomes a very likeable character. The other companions are likeable too. My favorite is Kalden, a large man with a kind heart. On the other hand, my least favorite character is Tiziana, who acts as a spy for the Royal Court and is pretty annoying because of her staunch attitude. However, I didn’t outright hate her.
Each character is incredibly well voiced and they fit their characters perfectly. Most notable was that of Mass Effect’s Jennifer Hale as Lucia, a former comrade of Cicero before his exile.
By now you must be thinking, “great artwork, soundtrack, story, and voice acting? What isn’t good about this game?” And that’s where we come to one of the weaker points of the game; the combat system. The combat system in Masquerada is. It’s a bit basic in design and it never really evolves past that. There’s a Dragon Age style, party behavior system and pause for tactical operations that you never truly have to utilize because the AI is excellent at controlling your characters. Although they will die at times, you can easily revive them. However, revival does have a 4 second charge so if you aren’t careful you’ll die too, especially on higher difficulty levels.
I know that indie games don’t have a very good reputation among many players, especially now that Steam has no real restrictions on what is released (very stupid move), but there are some pretty amazing indie games out there and Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is among them. It’s been a favorite experience of mine and a surprising late entry to the year and I can’t recommend it enough. Even if the combat system isn’t the greatest or the most varied, the story will easily keep you entertained. I highly recommend giving the game a shot, especially if you love a good story as much as I do.
Thank you to everybody for taking the time to read our review and if you enjoyed this review or our video, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for future videos and share it to help us get a bit more exposure.
Happy gaming folks! – Shaun Meyers (Kyo Akiara) out!