Masks of Mists is a first-person action adventure game developed by 9 Eyes game Studio. The game is the studio’s third outing, and was recently released for the Nintendo Switch. After catching my eye on the Nintendo eShop, I decided to give the title a try. Let’s see how this Indie first-person adventure holds up.
A Missing Person
The story of Mask of Mists centers around you solving a case involving a missing person. The Archmage named Crowl has gone missing from a magical academy. His trail went cold while conducting research in an area from a recent war. Due to the heavy use of magic during the war, the barrier that protected the land from a realm know as the Abyss was weakened. As a result of this, creatures from the Abyss have contaminated the once peaceful land. The Academy has hired you to explore the now infested land, and learn more about Crowl’s whereabouts.
Exploring The Land
Gameplay-wise Masks of Mists takes heavy inspiration form The Elder Scrolls series. Everything players will see and do will be from a first-person perspective. Like in other first-person titles, you’ll use the left analog stick to move your character, while using the right stick to control the camera. I will say that the camera’s default sensitivity is unusually low. especially when moving it horizontally. However, this problem is easily remedied by playing around with the game’s settings.
Combat is solid, but is also pretty limited. In the beginning you’ll start at with a common sword that does fairly low damage. Throughout your journey you’ll be able to acquire two stronger swords, as well as a pistol that requires ammo. Both of these weapons are used by pressing the two shoulder buttons. While the combat is sound, it’s lacking variety and there are no other weapons beyond the sword and pistol.
When you aren’t exploring, you’ll be solving puzzles to track down the Archmage. For the most part these puzzles are simple to solve. The majority of the time puzzles involve setting down and throwing around mystical cubes, but also involve moving statutes and placing gems. Throughout my play through I only came across one puzzle that gave me some trouble.
Masks of Mists also allows you to craft potions, but this feature is very limited. You can only craft four potions in total: A Health Potion, Anti-Rust Potion, Exploding Potion, and Breath Potion. The Health Potion is the potion players will use the most, while the remaining three are used to further progression in the campaign.
A Magical and Repetitive World
Overall, Masks of Mists achieves it’s goal of immersing players in a full magical world. However, the world’s presentation suffers from repetitiveness and lack of variation. The game’s main world and dungeons look similar up until the final act. Even the game’s mushroom-like enemies come in a total of four different types excluding the final boss. Masks of Mists also suffers in the music department, and only has a total of three tracks for the overworld, dungeons, and final section of the game
Lost In the Masks of Mist
Masks of Mists overall design is hurt by a lack of navigational tools. Even though the game’s world is small, there’s no map or destination markers of any kind. This combined with the environments looking the same caused me to backtrack more often than necessary. Another hiccup I have with Masks of Mists involves it’s side quest. Apart from the main objective there’s a side quest that can nab players an alternate ending to the game’s campaign.
This side quest requires you to collect twelve stone mask hidden throughout the game. I collected eleven of the twelve masks, and since I completed all the dungeons in the overworld I believed that everything needed to obtain the final mask was located in the last area of the game. However, there was one key item that was needed before attempting to find the final mask. Problem is once you proceed to the final area of the game there’s no way to make it back the first area of the game. As a result I was forced to take the games default ending, and had to complete the game’s campaign a second time just to view the alternate ending.
Even though my review is critical of the game’s design, I still enjoyed my time with Masks of Mists. The campaign is okay but is drawn out longer than it needs to be due to the lack of an overworld map. While I think both the art style and music are executed well, both suffer due to the game’s repetitiveness and lack of variety. I understand that the game’s budget is significantly smaller when compared to the titles that inspired it but one of the key elements that define those games is how massive their worlds are. Since it can’t achieve the same sense of scope and scale, Masks of Mists needs to bring something that makes it stand out from other games within the genre.
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