Anima Gate of Memories is a 3rd person action RPG developed by a company from Spain and funded by a Kickstarter campaign. The official website describes Anima: Gate of Memories as telling “the story of two beings bound by an unwilling pact, an ancient monster and a girl who lost her past.”
Anima Gate of Memories follows the Bearer of Calamities and a talking book called Ergo Mundus. Early on it is revealed that Ergo Mundus is actually an evil ancient being bound to the Bearer. The book is just a manifestation of his form until the Bearer transforms into him. She receives some of his powers in exchange for being his vessel. They are in pursuit of a former member of the order of Nathaniel who has stolen a powerful artifact called The Byblos. This pursuit eventually leads them to the mysterious Tower of the Arcane. It’s a very interesting and engaging storyline filled with detailed world building and history.
The art of Anima Gate of Memories is beautiful though reminiscent of a few games from the Xbox 360/PS3 era. The combat is easily picked up, but grows in difficulty requiring the player to learn the weakness and attack patterns for each enemy. With enough trial and error, it could just be button mashed through. There is a decent skill tree for leveling up both Ergo and the Bearer of Calamities. A large part of the game involves exploration since there isn’t a lot of hand holding or a map icon to point the player in the direction of the goal. The next step isn’t always immediately clear and can sometimes lead to a feeling of blindly fumbling around hoping to bump into something interesting. There are also puzzle solving elements to flesh out the gameplay.
The game itself is quite fun and I’m always excited to see a game feature a number of female characters. There are some issues that lead me to wonder if a woman was anywhere on the development team for this game though. I noticed early on that Ergo constantly refers to the Bearer as “baby.” It was a small enough thing that I figured I could play through it, but it gets applied a little thickly and begins to grate very quickly. At a point later in the game when the Bearer wakes up from having been unconscious, Ergo says “Don’t worry, nobody came near you or did anything to you while you slept. Except for me… Hahaha.” I really am hoping that they meant this less creepily than it comes off. Worst case scenario they just made a really disturbing rape joke. Ergo’s rampant misogyny continues when he tells another incredibly powerful female character “you and your ass are still my favorite.” It’s pervasive enough to be jarring for a female gamer who will constantly be pulled out of the story to go, “Did they really just say that?”
Overall Anima Gate of Memories is a good game, but the treatment of female characters will be a deal breaker for some gamers. It’s a shame because the story is a really intriguing one.
The trailer is available now: