PAX East 2017 IMPRESSIONS: Masquerada: Songs and Shadows

Monday, March 13th, 2017

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Masquerada: Songs and Shadows | Tavern

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows, from developer Witching Hour Studios, is a turn-based isometric RPG with a grand story to tell. It takes place in a fictional fantasy Venetian city where those who have magical masks called Mascherines (the Masquerada) wield power over poor and downtrodden underclassmen (the Contadani). This ongoing inequality sparks a rebellion and civil war, where the Contadani have fought an ongoing battle ever since. Masquerada is quite story heavy and uses a lot of voiced dialogue, which is quite good and features well-known voice talents such as Matthew Mercer and Jennifer Hale. Another remarkable feature of Masquerada is that the environments and characters are hand drawn and impressively detailed to boot, as you’ll note in the screenshots here.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows | Combat

As in similar types of RPGs, Masquerada uses a turn-based tactical system at the core of its combat gameplay. The general idea is to chain together elements in a certain order to cause status effects to your enemies, which makes crowd control easier. For instance, after casting an earth spell, you can then use a water spell to create mud to hinder your enemies’ movement. Each of your three companions commands a specific element and stance (think character classes), but the main character, Cicero, can swap elements and stances at will. In addition to this, you can also modify your skills which allows you to choose between offensive and defensive variations, depending on your playstyle and needs. Positioning also plays a big role in Masquerada’s encounters. Both your allies and enemies have protection from physical or magical attacks, but flanking an enemy will do more damage, and hitting them from behind will damage them for the maximum amount.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows | Dialogue

I was quite impressed with Masquerada’s natural-sounding dialogue that seemed quite fitting, given the setting. The quality of the voice acting is superb, which I think is owed to the various talents behind the characters. There was a real sense of drama and conflict going on, even in the brief prologue demo I played. The cutscenes play out in a fashion similar to a graphic novel, complementing the stylized art everywhere you see. Everything about it is visually stunning and draws your attention.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is currently available on Steam and the Humble Store for $24.99.

About Joe Sigadel

Joe is the reporting manager for oprainfall, he is also a broadcaster on Twitch and loves showing off many of the games we report about on his channel. He has also been known to defended Senran Kagura from those who only want to accept it at face value.