Review – Mask of Mists

You never know what you’ll end up getting when playing a game published by Sometimes You. Occasionally they’ll release an interesting and highly polished indie gem, like this year’s 7th Sector. Although more often than not I was greeted with some terrible titles that were somewhat inventive, but featured underwhelming (or no) gameplay and subpar amounts of care put into them, such as Wurroom and Energy Invasion. Mask of Mists was a different case, however. By the looks of its pre-launch releases and trailer, it looked more complex and more interesting than the other titles published by that company over the past years. If anything, I was curious about it.

Mask of Mists

This is supposedly a place filled with evil magic, but damn, what a nice weather.

Mask of Mists‘ premise is pretty simple, despite a barrage of exposition and world building being thrown at you in a very inelegant way right from the get-go. You’re a hired gun, whose sole objective is to look for a missing person. The person in said case is an Archmage. That by itself is already enough for everyone to become worried, as these mages were conducting several kinds of research on a nearby land filled with magic and monsters. You’re thrown into a portal, show up in said magic land, and are tasked with finding that mage.

What we ended up getting, despite the premise, is basically a smaller, less polished version of Bethesda’s iconic Skyrim. This is a short, linear, condensed, first-person action RPG with less of an emphasis on combat and more on exploring dungeons and solving simple, but occasionally inventive puzzles.

Mask of Mists

You’re almost adorable, but I gotta kill you.

Originally released on PC a few months ago, Mask of Mists runs moderately well on the Switch, albeit with a series of setbacks. Its performance is locked at only 30fps, but with frequent small slowdowns. There is also a subtle, but definitely noticeable fisheye-esque effect on your field of view, which can be a bit nauseating when combined with the less-than-ideal framerate. With that being said, the graphics aren’t bad per se. The world is colorful and varied, and the character design is impressive for a low-budget game like this one. I was expecting a lot less.

The framerate also negatively impacts on the gameplay. It plays like Skyrim, with a somewhat similar, albeit massively simplified control scheme. The combat is what you would expect from an earlier Elder Scrolls game and it’s not exactly something I’d praise. It’s shallow as a puddle. You’ll basically hit and run while you don’t have access to projectile attacks and then just proceed to attack enemies from a distance when you’re finally able to do so. This game was definitely made with a keyboard and mouse in mind.

Mask of Mists

I love when an RPG tells you shouldn’t do something stupid, but still lets you do it.

Mask of Mists is just fine. I’ve played much better games, but I’ve also played a ton of games that were a lot worse. For a seemingly lower budget title, it gets the job done if you’re looking for a short and straightforward Skyrim lookalike. It even has some inventive puzzles, which surprised me. It might be very janky, unpolished, and a bit uninventive, but you can notice the developers gave their best shot when making this project.

 

Graphics: 6.0

It’s colorful and some of its monsters are well-designed, but its field of view is wonky, its framerate isn’t the best, and its draw distance is underwhelming.

Gameplay: 5.5

You can clearly see this game was originally meant to be played with a keyboard and mouse. The Skyrim-esque controls are passable, but the field of view and camera controls are really subpar. It’s also a bit glitchy.

Sound: 5.0

Mediocre. There is a soundtrack in here, but it’s largely forgettable, although not completely bad. There are also sound effects in here, but they’re just passable. You’ll probably want to play this game while listening to other music.

Fun Factor: 6.0

It’s fine. Nothing in it is original by any means, you’ve played the same kind of first-person RPG before, but there’s nothing inherently terrible in it. Some of its puzzles are actually quite inventive.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Mask of Mists is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Mask of Mists was provided by the publisher.