ANIMUS: Harbinger joins an absolute deluge of ports to the Nintendo Switch. This one is originally a free-to-play mobile title, with in-app purchases. Its move to the Switch turns it into a premium title, with the IAPs taken out.
The game’s title and story blurb should give you a good idea on what to expect:
These are the days before Ire: Blood Memory, the days when Kerr the Breaker’s evil slipped its way into Cadmeia. You, Forlorn — follower of the Resonant, and caught out of time and place — are called upon by the shadow of the late King Cadmus to bring judgement to those that have betrayed the land.
Only you can take on this duty, as you are forgotten, and those forgotten can never die, as they have truly never lived. Be the hand of deliverance and mercy to the afflicted. You will have no friend save for your trusty blade, axe, and hammer. Answer the call of this dead sovereign.
It’s hard not to instantly make comparisons to FROM Software’s Souls/Soulsborne series. It has the bleak aesthetic down pat, the grim story, and certainly, its gameplay style. Comparing the original mobile version to the Switch version, I would say the Switch controls a little easier.
There’s quite a few controls to keep in mind: the lock-on, the dodge, two different attack strengths, the potion and the finisher. They’re pretty self-explanatory, and especially if you’re familiar with the Soulsborne series, you already know what to do. The lock-on feature’s usefulness may vary depending on your personal preference.
When you start attacking a boss, a “Devastation” meter will pop up, and filling it will make the boss prone. You can use the attack buttons to land a devastating attack, but I find it finicky. It really needs you to stand directly in front of the boss before it registers – being slightly off to the side means it can’t work. The finisher is used once you’ve depleted the boss’ health for that last flourish. For a Souls-wannabe, yes, there is a stamina bar, so take note.
There’s no open world for you to explore. Instead, you clear quests, which are pretty much individual stages. In the stages themselves, wandering is limited, so temper your expectations. There’ll be stuff to farm, gear to juggle and skills to acquire.
The graphics are nothing to shout about, but it doesn’t mean it’s terrible. For a $7.99 game – cheaper than all the IAPs in the mobile version, incidentally – it’s decent. Taking into account its mobile origins, it’s most definitely a serviceable title for those who want to scratch that Souls itch real quick. You can check out its Nintendo e-shop page here.
A very much Lighter Souls. Not any brighter.
- Mimics Souls-like action fairly decently in a smaller package
- Cheaper than the IAPs from the original mobile version
- Controls can get awkward, especially if you get the mobile version
- No world exploration, quests are a straight line
For your quick, bite-sized Souls-like experience.