Developed by Singapore-based Witching Hour Studios, Masquerada: Songs & Shadows is an RPG that, like many others, hopes to bring back the tactical aspect to RPGs. Viewed from a 2.5D perspective and employing a “real-time-with-pause” system, it’s hard not to compare the game with Baldur’s Gate. In fact, even the developers use Interplay’s classic RPG to describe it…and they don’t seem to just be name dropping either.
Like the Infinity Engine games, Masquerada allows for a lot of hands-on strategic planning, even showing you AOE spell ranges and highlighting the paths that your party members will walk after commanded. The larger character models and cartoonish world may seem off-putting to genre diehards, but it does help separate it from the games it has otherwise decided to emulate.
Also working to give Masquerada its own identity is the world lore and story:
- Unravel the facades enshrouding the city of Ombre in Masquerada, a 2.5D isometric action RPG set in a dark Venetian fantasy world where people with masks are the only ones who can cast magic. This empowers the masked aristocrats, the Masquerada, to lord it over the impoverished Contadani.
- Against this narrative backdrop of class warfare and conspiracies of fey creature manifestations, players experience the journey of five flawed members of the Masquerada who struggle to rediscover faith in their diverse pasts and backgrounds.
- The Masquerada, aristocrats of the Citte, have hoarded the destructive magic granted by ancient Mascherines to oppress the Contadani, the ones who have nothing. Those who long for more have pushed back, stealing Mascherines for themselves to aid a rebel movement; these men and women have become known by the Citte as Maskrunners. Thus has a grave and prolonged civil war dragged deep scars across Ombre, even as dark mysteries concerning the Mascherines slowly unveil themselves