Masquerada: Songs and Shadows (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Tactical story-driven RPG
Developer: Witching Hour Studios
Publisher: Ysbryd Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows (Switch) – Review

Site Score
Good: A great immersive story that will keep you amused for hours
Bad: The large amount of loading screens between areas
User Score
(3 votes)
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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Masquerada: Songs and Shadows has already had a successful release on both PC and consoles. Now the time has come for its arrival on the Nintendo Switch. Known for its great and well-designed story and gameplay, it’s expected to be a great success on the Nintendo Switch as well. The team can be given a lot of praise for creating a game with such an immersive story that is sure to suck you right into it.


You play as Cicero Gavar, a suave inspector who has returned to the magical city of Ombre to solve a case of missing persons. It won’t take long for Cicero and his companions to be entangled in a web of secrets as the city of Ombre is full of political plots and mysteries. The citizens of Ombre can be classified in two categories: the Contadani and the Masquerada; those without magical masks or ‘Mascherines’ as how they’re called in-game and those with, respectively. Mascherines are magical masks that grant their wearers the ability to harness the elements with efficiency and giving them skills to use in battle. The Masquerada are divided further into the Registry and the Seimora. A third faction is the Maskrunners, a faction that’s not often spoken of. The Maskrunners refer to those who refuse to align themselves with the Seimora or the Registry.

The game’s story progresses steadily in a brisk pace and it will take you around ten hours to complete. At moments you can just sit back and enjoy the story for a bit before you can go your own way. The game is very linear as you won’t have any influence on Cicero behavior or choices. There are not many distractions as the only ones are discovering new places and learning more about people you encounter. Each character and place you’ll encounter will get an entry in the codex, giving some more information about them. All this information will be gathered there and can be checked whenever you want to. In this way, the story is not only brought by dialogue, but also by reading a lot of lore that gets unlocked on the way. This lore includes a lot of history and explanation about every faction, guild and the world of Ombre itself.


The world of Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is beautifully designed, and everyone you encounter looks great as well. The combat of this game is a bit Diablo-like with various skills to use and yes, they don’t look as great as in Diablo, but it certainly looks great for a game designed by a team this small. Also, when people are talking, they will be given a close-up on a banner. The characters look beautiful for this game’s graphical style when they are given a close-up. This gives you a perfect image of each character’s looks. The movements they make while speaking is mirrored on the field and it feels synchronized from the little movements while standing to moving arms and such, it all looks great. One downside is that the loading screens are only a black screen with the word ‘loading’ and a spinning mask on it, quite dull.


The title screen is accompanied by opera music. When not hearing opera music, you’ll hear gentle music. The music constantly changes when entering new areas, so it won’t be boring you at all. The conversations in-game are fully voiced and animated which also gives the game a lively feeling. All characters have their own accent and way of talking that fits their personality. For example, Cicero has a really decent way of talking while the sailor Varl has a bit of an Irish accent that’s typical for a sailor. The voice-acting is definitely one of the strongest aspects of this game as the conversations in this game feel so real that most of the time, you don’t even want to skip conversations as they progress in such a fluent way.


Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a story-driven tactical RPG that takes place in a fantasy land inspired by various European cultures. The story of this game is one of its strongest assets, but the combat is also a great part of the game. With tactical gameplay combined with Diablo-like combat typical to this sort of top-down RPGs, this proves to be a great combination.

In Masquerada, you can walk around as you will constantly encounter new things and the story will automatically progress. The game begins with a short prologue, giving you an intro on the game’s battle mechanics. You are free to use skills of different elements as you can switch between the team that’s available at that point. After this intro, you can start a new game. After a short while, you’ll be granted your own Mascherine that will give you access to some battle skills. In combat, these skills are easily performed as each skill is set on one of the buttons on your right Joy-Con. With the ZR button, you perform the standard attack action. Using a skill will spend a resource called Mask Charge. When this is depleted, that character can’t use any of their skills and they need to depend on their standard attack. Mask Charge recharges over time, in ways that are dependent on the character’s class.

When you get your first Mascherine, you need to choose your element. These elements are: Fire, Earth, Water and Air. Each element has its own specialties and you are given the choice to choose which type suits your needs best. If you want to be specialized in attacking, then fire might be your best type, but if you want to have some healing abilities combined with attacking skills, then water is more suitable. When you’ve chosen your element, you can access your skilltree. Skill points need to be invested to unlock skills. With the first unlock, you’ll unlock the skill and you can use it. The more points you invest in a skill, the stronger it gets, and it will grant you additional effects. It’s good to check the possibilities in a certain skill first, before you invest more points in it for the best optimization of your team members. Within the skills available to one character, it’s also possible to combine skills for a stronger effect. For example, if you first use a water skill on an opponent and then an ice skill, the damage output will increase. Check your skills to find the best combos.

Initially, you’ll be controlling Cicero Gavar, but in combat, you can switch between your team members to control them in battle. You can change the settings of a specific team member in how they behave in combat. You can control how much of their Mask Charge and which skills will be used on what types of opponents. Tuning these settings for each character will optimize their AI behavior in combat. Another great function in the game’s combat is that you can pause combat. When paused, you can switch to each character and choose which skills will be used next, bypassing the AI behavior of each character for that moment. This can be used to focus attacks on one opponent, or spread all attacks to different ones, it’s your choice.


Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a great tactical RPG with an immersive story that is brought in an amazing way. All conversations are fully voiced, and they feel so fluent as it just goes on like a real conversation with no silences like you can encounter in many other games where you need to click to continue conversations. You can just sit back and relax while observing conversations. This way of story-telling does require you to keep paying attention or you’ll miss something when not doing so. The combat is also a great aspect of the game with its pause-for-tactics function and team-based battles. The various skills available offer a lot of variation. For a game created by a small team, it has turned out to be a great success with a good story and great combat mechanics. The only downside we’ve found is the many loading screens appearing after continuing to the next area. If you can look past this one bad point and you want to enjoy a great story with a great combat system, then this game is sure to keep you amused for a long time, especially if you count the time reading the expansive lore discovered along the way.

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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Masquerada: Songs and Shadows (Switch) - Review, 7.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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