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Video Game / Masquerada: Songs and Shadows

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Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a story-driven Action RPG developed by a Singaporean Witching Hour Studios. It was funded on Kickstarter on May 5th, 2016, and released on PC through Steam and on September 30th, 2016. It was later ported to Playstation 4 on August 8th, 2017 and Xbox One on August 23rd, 2017, with the Nintendo Switch port following on May 9th, 2019.

It takes place in the Citte Della Ombré, a fantasy Venetian-styled city which is the capital of a country called Ombre. The Citte is ruled by an aristocratic class called the Masquerada, named such because only they have access to mascherines, ancient artifacts which imbue the wearer with elemental powers. Those without mascherines are called the Contadani, and they comprise the working class of the Citte. The difference between the two has grown in recent years; the Contadani live in poveristic squalor while the Masquerada enjoy lavish chateaus and fight over territory. This stark difference has caused discontent among the Contadani and led to the rise of the Maskrunners, a group of rebels who own mascherines but owe no allegiance to any of the ruling guilds or the Registry - which is the central government. Some factions of Maskrunners are little more than criminals, while others fight for the dream of a better life for the Contadani.


Players follow the story of Inspettore Cicero Gavar, who is returning to the Citte after five years in exile due to the events of the prologue. Cicero has been offered enough money to last him the rest of his life by the Vaorone of the city in order to return and investigate the disappearance of one of the Vaorone's subordinates.

The game contains stunning visuals, a beautiful soundtrack with vocals, and an All-Star Cast, including Matthew Mercer, Jennifer Hale, Rick D. Wasserman, Crispin Freeman and others. It has its own webpage here.


Masquerada: Songs and Shadows contains examples of:

  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: There are a lot of correct Italian names and words in the game, such as "Sorelle del Mare" ("Sisters of the Sea"), "Dieci Sovrani" ("Ten Sovereigns"), "Cacciatore" ("Hunter"), but also some that are plain wrong, for instance Contadani (the Italian word for "peasants" is spelled "contadini"), Inspettore ("inspector", it would be "ispettore"), Masquerada ("masked", which is spelled "mascherati" in Italian), even the setting itself is wrong! It's Città delle Ombre, not Citte del Ombré!
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: Cicero spends the first few scenes rebuffing Kalden’s attempts to talk about his past.
  • Big Bad: The Herald
  • The Big Guy: Kalden Azrus has a bulky physique.
  • Blade on a Stick: Amadea's weapon of choice.
  • Blood Magic: Zig-Zagging Trope. It's discovered early on that blood is used to create Fey. However, further research shows that Fey are created by drawing upon strong memories and emotions; the ones that were summoned through blood were actually summoned through pain. Thus the Dactites capture some victims to heavily torture and leave behind as Fey generators.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Pretty much all Fey. The Lady in particular sparks a brutal civil war just to unite the factions against her Genghis Gambit.
  • Bookends: The prologue and the ending end similarly, in both the Player Character is killed by the same woman on the roof of the government building, however while the character in the former case is Killed Off for Real the after credits cutscenes reveal the Player Character in the latter was the one who survived the Mutual Kill.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Cicero and the Tvothes surrender their coin pouches to some thugs mugging them, but then they decide they want to fight Cicero after Ricardo mentions that he's an Inspettore.
  • Call to Agriculture: Cicero was exiled prior to the events of the game, and spent his time in the Kevali Fields farming and Drowning My Sorrows.
  • Character Development: Each member of the party has a minor subplot which relates to their development.
  • Cool Mask: Characters get their elemental powers through mascherines, painted masks that are artefacts of the ancient and forgotten Dimenticate Empire.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: What Cicero spent a lot of time doing during his exile, according to Avestus.
  • Elemental Rivalry: The player can choose the element that Cicero is proficient in. Choosing Firebrand makes him the opposite of his Waterbrand brother, Cyrus, while choosing Waterbrand makes him the opposite of Lucia.
  • Elemental Weapon: Masquerada imbue their attacks and their weapons with their chosen element.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Cicero was already an Inspettore before his exile, which is an elite group of Inspector Generals who report directly to the Varaone.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Everything is basically Spain in the Age of Discovery, but replace guns with magic masks and the New World with Precursor Technology.
  • Gargle Blaster: Leventhos serves one to Cicero which knocks him out for a minute, but with barely a hangover. It serves as the party's Skill Point Reset.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Tiziana delivers a short beatdown to Cicero to get him out of his slump of guilt.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The final act has Cicero asking every guild for their assistance against the final threat.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Cicero is on the receiving end of some Police Brutality early on to show that fighting without a mascherine is hopeless.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Vasco channels his mascherine's power through a flute. Musical instruments are common for Dirges.
  • The Leader: Cicero is the Charismatic type.
  • The Medic: Kalden and Tiziana both have healing skills, but Kalden is specifically stated more than once to be a healer, as befitting someone from the Sorelle.
  • Musical Assassin: Vasco definitely qualifies.
  • New Game+: After completing the story the first time, you can create a new profile and start again. In New Game+, Cicero can learn skills from all four elements, and there are additional bonus bosses to find.
  • Price on Their Head: The Bloodless offers information in exchange for hits on certain targets.
  • Reduced to Dust: Mascherines dissolve into dust if the wielder dies while wearing them. With the War of Bearing's bodycount, there's a mask shortage in the present.
  • Royal Rapier: The standard weapon for any Inspettore.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Dragon Age: Origins - A fisherman on the docks when Cicero first arrives says “swooping is bad”.
    • To Doctor Who: A Portieri says of the White Spire “It is indeed bigger on the inside”.
    • To Bioshock:
      Maskrunner: No, says the man in Moscow, it - wait a minute, I didn't write this...
    • The acheivement for defeating the Chimera is called Ed...ward...
  • True Companions: By the last act of the game, any one of Cicero's companions would lay down their life for him.
  • Was Once a Man: Mascherines and Fey used to be sacrificed prisoners of the Dimenticate civilization
  • Would Hurt a Child: Matron Beniva takes babies as hostages and outright targets them during their boss fight.