Mato Anomalies has got that whole Persona vibe going for it, but it’s very much its own thing. Sure, there are some ideas here and there that show the influences are clear, but it also has its own mechanics that help differentiate it from Atlus’ beloved RPG series. Some of those can be pretty neat too, especially with its unique dual-character approach, but other times it can see the game falling short of the mark, with its more traditional RPG mechanics lacking the buzz and depth to really make the game stand out in what is already a crowded genre.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Mato Anomalies takes place in the slick city of Mato, with players taking on the role of the duo of private investigator Doe and the exorcist Gram as they look to take down the evil entities known as the Bane Tide that feed off human emotion – all whilst dealing with the crime and corruption that is tearing the city apart.

It makes for a peculiar tale, but one that I found myself fully engrossed in thanks to the captivating setting and likable characters. Don’t get me wrong, I did wonder if I was going to enjoy the narrative during the opening hour which left me feeling a little baffled as to what was going on, but once I learned the ins-and-outs of the city and begun to know the protagonists a little better, I was all-in on the tale. There are enough little twists and turns to keep players invested until the end, whilst the characters who join you on the way bring their own unique and endearing quirks that ensure the game never runs short of personality.

Whilst the storytelling is engrossing, it’s the gameplay of Mato Anomalies that I found the most intriguing. Whilst the game is an RPG at its core with plenty of dungeon-crawling, battling, and levelling-up to deal with, it also embraces a dual-protagonist approach where both Doe and Gram play completely different roles. Admittedly, it’s a mixed bag as far as quality is concerned, but there’s no doubting that it helps make Mato Anomalies feel a bit more unique when compared to similar releases.

“The story and world design is great, whilst playing as Doe felt unique and intriguing. Everything else though? It was just a bit uninspired.”

When playing as Gram, players will use his powers of exorcism to explore the Bane Tide lairs and vanquish the evil threat. This means battling enemies, exploring the dungeons, and gathering any loot you can find along the way. Battling is your typical turn-based affair, with the player’s party made up of characters with varying skillsets – Gram is your typical damage-dealer, Butterfly your healer, Ringless can de-buff, and so forth. Players can level up to improve their skills, equip new gear to boost stats, and utilise special abilities to deal extra damage, whilst there’s plenty of room for strategy when using their skills together in cohesion. It’s fine, but I’d be lying If I said it wasn’t a little uninspired. I found that I got into a simple routine of beating enemies quite quickly, whilst the boss encounters rarely forced me to change my approach. It’s not that anything is bad about combat, but rather that it’s very basic and doesn’t offer anything you wouldn’t have seen before.

The dungeon exploration could be a little drab too, with little in the way of intuitive design to make them interesting to explore. Aesthetically, they looked great and offered some alluring sights, but the linear pathways and simple sense of puzzling means they can get boring fast. What doesn’t help is that you’ll be going through a lot of the same areas time and time again, which makes the experience feel even more repetitive.

Fortunately, playing as Doe is a lot more interesting. He won’t venture into enemy territory with Gram, but instead uses his investigative expertise to explore the city and gather the information he needs from its inhabitants. The problem is, not EVERYONE is going to be forthcoming with info, so you’ve got to wear down their willpower to give in. This is all done in the form of a card game known as MIND/HACK, with players utilising different cards with varying abilities to not only decrease their opponent’s Mind Power to zero, but also deal with the various anomalies that’ll cause an array of issues during the process. It’s not the most complex or strategic card game I’ve seen in an RPG, but I had fun with MIND/HACK and it does add a unique twist to Mato Anomalies’ gameplay.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Exploration is fun as Doe too, with Mato a fascinating city that really feels cool to explore. It helps that the game has some slick visuals, with plenty of dazzling sights to be seen across the city that really fit the futuristic vibe perfectly. Mato Anomalies certainly isn’t short of pizazz in its design, and it makes the world all the more alluring to be a part of. I was a big fan of the blend of cinematic presentation styles too, with the mixture of visual novel-style interactions, comic book-style sequences, and more traditional cutscenes doing a good job of pushing the story forward and complementing the gripping narrative.

It’s just a shame that the game lacks consistency. The story and world design is great, whilst playing as Doe felt unique and intriguing. Everything else though? It was just a bit uninspired. The battling is fine (and being able to speed up battles ensures you can get through them fast) but offers nothing I haven’t seen before, but the dungeon exploration just got a little boring. I had enough patience to see the game through to its end, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a few occasions where they just made me want to stop playing – even IF they looked wonderful as far as the visuals were concerned.  

Mato Anomalies Review

Mato Anomalies is an intriguing RPG that has some cool ideas and an engrossing narrative, but some of its basic gameplay mechanics fall short of the mark. Nothing is outright bad at all, but with combat being a little basic and the dungeon design a little boring, RPG enthusiasts are unlikely to be blown away by the experience.

It’s a shame too because I loved the narrative and the dual-protagonist approach is cleverly implemented, whilst the world itself feels great to explore. It just doesn’t offer enough to make up for the fact that the other elements of the game could get repetitive fast.

Developer: Arrowiz
Publisher: Prime Matter
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch