Mato Anomalies: Arrowiz RPG is evolving, and we have tried it again

Mato Anomalies: Arrowiz RPG is evolving, and we have tried it again

Mato Anomalies

This is a period of level releases, yet, between one blockbuster and another, there is no need to forget about the works of lesser known teams, especially if they try to throw themselves into notoriously difficult genres like that of the JRPG. It is also particularly interesting to make a few more assessments on teams belonging to markets not too well known in our parts such as the Chinese one, considering that in recent years some products from this Asian market have surprised everyone for their technical value. On the other hand, by clearing the "fog" that covers many of the productions of those places, there is always the possibility of discovering unexpected pearls.

Not long ago, for example, we had taken a look at Mato Anomalies, a curious JRPG that seemed to be significantly inspired by Persona, developed by a discreetly unknown Shanghai team named Arrowiz. The game was still on the high seas at the time of our first try, but despite the somewhat shaky base, there was no shortage of ideas with potential within it. When we were recently offered to try Mato Anomalies for a second time, we then faced it with pleasure, eager to understand how fast it was evolving. And there have been steps forward, although there is still a lot of work to be done.| of a team of two characters this time: Gram, the "shaman" we had already met, and Butterfly, a sort of legendary thief much younger than her fame would suggest. Furthermore, where the original demo was still very raw in many aspects, this one appeared to us much more refined and rich in both settings and missions. In short, even if the productive values ​​underlying the game are anything but monstrous (the animations in particular are woody in the interlude films, and you can undoubtedly work better on the detail of certain settings), there is no doubt that the team is hard at work, because the evolutions have been remarkable in a relatively short time.

At the head of the pair of the two fighters described above there is always the investigator Doe, constantly grappling with the strange phenomenon of the Baleful Tide: a sort of dimension alternative populated by monstrosities that seem able to amplify or control the feelings of human beings (we have not talked about inspiration to Persona at random).

Starting a few hours after the start, it was not easy to understand the story, but what was played seemed more focused on the events of some organizations victims of the effects of the aforementioned tide rather than on the main narrative line, so it is evident the willingness of the team to also engage in secondary plots during the advancement. Hard to say how much it will pay now - the story we dedicated ourselves to wasn't the most exciting and original, even if it had a curious "proletariat versus capitalism" subtext that we appreciated - if nothing else, it's a good way to field various side quests and increase the contents.

In our tried, more alternative missions have appeared to try, in fact, and these, while remaining in the canons of the classic JRPG - mostly characters to talk to and additional battles to face - they were put into the mix with enough intelligence not to be tedious. As mentioned, these are primarily combat missions in the "hideouts": alternative dimensions where the monsters of the Dark Tide take shape, used here as a classic dungeon, with a mixture of traps and obstacles to overcome. We found their structure rather basic, yet it already represents an evolution compared to the corridors without crossroads originally seen, and we expect clear increases in complexity in the subsequent levels.

Cards, barrel, stone, paper, scissor.

The hideouts of Mato Anomalies are alternate dimensions full of odd-looking enemies. But don't underestimate them, they can take you by surprise. The development system and combat seem to be the most tweaked and refined aspects of the current version of the game. Originally Mato Anomalies seemed incredibly easy for a JRPG, but things have changed badly in this new demo, where both types of battle that can be faced have managed to put us in difficulty well above our expectations. To refresh the memory of those who have not read the previous preview, in this game the fights are of two types: the combats in the dens and the mindhacks. The former are classic turn-based battles with multiple characters, while the latter are "card games" in the consciousness of some characters, where it is necessary to use predefined decks to overcome the mental barriers of the target.

The classic battles, indeed, they are nothing particularly original, but this time we have at least noticed a sharp diversification of the opponents, who present on average rather annoying skills (including in some cases damage enhancements or the ability to call reinforcements) and clear resistance to certain types of damage.

In Mato Anomalies the cutscenes vary a lot and some boast highly respectable artwork. In this, in particular, there is the protagonist Doe accompanied by the shaman Gram, indispensable for fighting in the lairs.The system, at the moment, seems to present four types of resistances, closely linked to the moves of the usable characters (which should be a maximum of four, according to the interface) and a series of passive upgrades that can be equipped, usually purchased from merchants or found for maps. For the rest it is a set of mechanics already seen: the characters have fairly clear roles (Butterfly heals, for example), each unlocks a final move that can be loaded by dint of clashes similar to a sort of Limit Break, and it is possible to enhance all with passive branches divided into Yin and Yang, focusing on offensive and defensive skills. The fact that the whole thing does not boast who knows what new idea is not necessarily a bad thing in any case; as just explained, the enemies seemed annoying enough to force the player to use precise strategies and the more advanced battles of the primary quest managed to put us in some difficulty.

Mindhack is much more interesting: here the usable actions are more limited and related to chance, given that cards are drawn, yet the fights are much more "mathematical" and rich in tactics. Each card inflicts a certain amount of damage or offers extra defense, and carefully calculating the numbers is essential in order not to succumb, because opponents are often protected by "demons" with annoying passive effects (from regeneration to the obligation to discard cards after using them. a). These demons, however, do not stay dead for long once eliminated, and it is therefore necessary to calculate wisely which ones to eliminate and when to focus on the primary target, also due to the rather high damage that they are able to inflict on you if not managed properly. Curious that the most interesting battle system is the sparser one, but it is also true that Mindhacks are challenging at the level of a boss fight, so it makes sense that they are not replayed in a barrage.

Mato Anomalies is graphically very limited, but sometimes the art direction counterbalances. At least a little For the rest there is not much more to say, the title seems to have potential in terms of mechanics, but it is a bit behind on a technical level, and the narrative at the moment certainly cannot be evaluated by a handful of quest. If it were to continue to evolve at this speed, however, it could also be a surprise for fans of the genre.

Mato Anomalies still has a long way to go in order not to disfigure from a technical point of view compared to the other exponents of the genre. However, the Arrowiz have at least shown that they can work at great speed, and understand the mechanics of RPGs just enough to offer varied combat and a good level of challenge. This is already a more than respectable quality when it comes to this genre, and who knows what does not allow this team to churn out a title that exceeds expectations despite limited resources. It is not easy, but there is still a lot of time.


Good level of challenge, which avoids tedium during battles The idea of ​​offering two different types of confrontation it is interesting DOUBTS Technical sector rather backward, with enormous room for improvement Narrative and campaign value still to be evaluated Have you noticed any errors?

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