[PlayStation 5] Mato Anomalies Review

by Tracey

Mato Anomalies from Prime Matter and Arrowiz is a clever turn-based JRPG with visual novel elements and even some deck-building. Check our Mato Anomalies review!

Mato Anomalies from Prime Matter and Arrowiz is a clever turn-based JRPG with visual novel elements and even some deck-building. Spoilers: I have enjoyed every second of my time with this one, and it offers a ton of content for you to enjoy. As soon as you start to play, you’ll get some Persona vibes, which is always a good thing. Another game that I was reminded of was Judgment. Mato Anomalies is a JRPG visual novel detective game with a little bit of card battling thrown in for good measure.

You play as the two protagonists. Doe is a private detective who excels in being one step ahead of his enemies. Gram is his powerful exorcist sidekick, and I must admit Gram is very much dressed for the part! They work together as a team, with one doing all of the brain work and the other taking care of all the physical stuff. It’s quite a unique pairing. Gram and Doe are thrown into the titular neo-futuristic city of Mato, a city affected by entities known as the Bane tide. The story is pretty engaging, with some visual novel elements. The walls of texts aren’t as long as the standard visual novels you’ve probably played, but they do showcase the solid writing. The story is also told in comic book-style cutscenes, which look great thanks to the game’s art style – fabulous cel shading at its best.

Mato Anomalies Review - 1

As the story progresses, you will be joined by other characters for a party of four, and together you will take part in battles in a turn-based fashion in themed Lairs, which are similar to Persona’s Palaces. The Lairs are themed around a character you are trying to save or stop. The very first Lair was a very fun one since it took place in a twisted version of a stock exchange. Honestly, there is a lot here to sink your teeth into, with battles that can be as challenging as you want them to be, depending on the difficulty setting you play in.

The combat in Mato Anomalies takes place on two fronts. You have the themed Lairs with turn-based combat in which you’ll be making the most of the many skills that your group will gain access to. On top of that, you have the Mind/Hack segments. During these, you’ll take on a card battle against your opponent as you try to break their barriers and gain access to their mind. You need to do this to be able to extract information from your target. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of deck-building card battle games, but in Mato Anomalies, they ended up feeling just right. Once you take on the tutorial, you’ll feel right at home. It will teach you all of the basics, as well as the effects of the different cards that you can play and how the card battle system works.

Mato Anomalies Review - 2

The map is fairly large, but the good news is that you can travel around from location to location at the press of a button, which greatly speeds things up when you need to move from point A to point B to meet up with a special NPC or to carry on with a story quest. The map does look a bit weird to me. It resembles a railway map, which means it can be a bit hard to read at times. But thanks to the fast travel system, you won’t need to worry too much about it since as long as you select the next area where a story segment or a sidequest needs to be taken care of, you’ll be good to go. Only the main story quests are tracked, so if you want and work on some sidequests, you’ll need to do so as soon as possible.

Another great feature of Mato Anomalies is the ability to share an HP pool. This means that no one is knocked out unless the collective HP pool reaches zero. You’re all out at the same time rather than individually. You can still use items to heal up as needed. Abilities are on cooldowns, which means you need to think about your moves wisely. Because the cooldowns are not quite the same as the standard cooldowns we see in most JRPG, you need to think about the long run rather than for each individual battle… because cooldowns carry over between battles! For example, if you use a skill that attacks all enemies and defeat them in a single turn, then you won’t be able to use that one during your next fight.

Mato Anomalies Review - 3

As I mentioned before, I really liked my time with Mato Anomalies. The story is excellent, and the game has a Persona vibe that certainly drew my attention. The turn-based battle system is fun, and I even enjoyed the card battles, which I was not expecting. The Mind/Hack system ended up being one of the highlights. There are even some visual novel elements in this one with comic book-style cutscenes to move the story forward. Mato Anomalies is available as a Cross-Buy title, so your $39.99 purchase will give you access to both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5 versions of the game at no extra cost.

Mato Anomalies Review - 4

This Mato Anomalies review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Prime Matter.

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