PAX West 2017: Masquerada: Songs and Shadows

For gamers looking for a great RPG experience on the Nintendo Switch, read on. For everyone else who likes RPGs with a good story, you should probably read on too. Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a really fun game narrative-driven game that doesn’t feel too heavy as an RPG, but still provides that tactical experience if you want a little more control over combat environments.

The gameplay trailer gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect from mechanics, but the story truly needs to be experienced in person. It revolves around the character Cicero Gavar and his investigation into a friend who disappears. The setting is a Renaissance-era Venice, and the hand drawn art style brings it together nicely. The art and visual aesthetic of the game was what drove me to want to play it at PAX West and I’m glad I did.

The skills and powers that Cicero wields throughout the game are brought to him by Mascherines, masks that grant the wearer magical powers. While civil war reins on, the Mascherines are held predominantly by the rich and powerful, but many have been destroyed along the way. Pairing these magical powers with real-time tactical decisions (by you the player) really bring out the combat into a more fresh experience. It’s not just turn based back and forth, it’s an ever evolving decision about how you want to attack and defeat enemies. The ability to sort of “pause” the moment of battle and go into an even more depth strategy based method was nice too for the times where you felt that just brash combat and going from enemy to enemy might not be the best solution.

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Nobody really knows the full history of the masks (at least from what I gathered in the demo) but the hints and teases of the story I got makes me very curious to find out more. In addition to that, the voice acting in the game features some familiar voices. Felicia Day (Fallout: New Vegas), Matt Mercer (Resident Evil, Overwatch), Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect), Dave Fennoy (Telltale’s The Walking Dead), and Ashly Burch (Borderlands, Life Is Strange) all play a role in this game. So you’ve got good visuals, an interesting story, and it’s voiced by the same folks who’ve made your gaming experiences awesome across many other games. What else do you need?

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Short version: The game played really well on Nintendo Switch and felt “at home” on the console. While the game is available on multiple platforms, if I had to pick one I think would lead to the most immersive experience, I’d recommend the Switch version.

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is available on Steam (PC and Mac!), PlayStation 4, and will land on Switch sometime Q4 in 2017. 

Need more info? Check out the Witching Hour Studios website.

-Written by Andrew(@SoAfterISaid)