Game: B+
From 37 reviews

Anima Prime

First Edition

Contents

Publisher Description

Anima Prime is a fast-paced, spontaneous roleplaying game inspired by the Final Fantasy series of video games as well as Avatar: The Last Airbender and other animated shows and movies.



The game combines narrative freedom in character scenes and combat maneuvers with elemental powers, Soulbound Weapons, and the summoning of Eidolons to allow you to create your own stories and action scenes rivaling those usually seen in video game cut scenes and anime battles. A flexible goal system lets you infuse any fight with meaningful story decision points and unlimited tactical options.

 

An Independent RPG Inspired By Final Fantasy and Avatar [ edit ]

In the first sentence of the Forward for Anima Prime (which is unrelated to the similarly named Anima: Beyond Fantasy), the author writes the game was inspired by Final Fantasy.  In other words, this is not an RPG that promises to give you Final Fantasy ... but it is an RPG where Final Fantasy was such a central inspiration that the author wanted to pay tribute to it in the book's very first sentence.

Anima Prime is actually a generic RPG and isn't specific to any one setting: it can handle both guns and swords just fine.  However, it has lots of detail in some areas and is extremely rules-light in others. For instance, there are no statistics for weapons in Anima Prime: it doesn't really matter what you're shooting, only what your firearms skill is and how well you roll.  But at the  same time there are detailed rules for "soulbound weapons", which are weapons with special abilities that are tied to the PC.

Anima Prime does have a sample campaign setting however, called Ghostfield, and this is where the Final Fantasy influences can be seen.  Ghostfield is an area with magical gates to another dimension known as the Beyond.  This area has recently been seized from the nation that held by an occupier, and the area is rife with possibilities for adventure.

Anima Prime, First Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

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Free, Award-Winning, and Final Fantasy-Inspired [ edit ]

Anima Prime won the Indie RPG awards for Best Free Game of 2011. And, since it's a free RPG (released under the Creative Commons license), there's no reason why you can't simply check it out for yourself.  However, the choice of what to detail and what not to will definitely deter some gamers from this RPG.

Another example of this "schizophrenic" nature to the game can be seen with monsters.  The game features only six pages total detailing both NPCS (eg. soldiers) and monsters (eg. a hydra) ... but it has fourteen pages on summoning monsters as a PC (thirteen of which detail customizing your summoned monster).  The GM does get four more pages about how to create their own adversaries ... but even combined with all of the NPCs and monsters it's still less than the summoning section.

Ultimately this is probably Anima Prime's biggest failing: while it offers a great, rules-light free generic system, parts of that system (especially GM parts) just feel very light or missing entirely.  And unfortunately, despite being released over a decade ago, Anima Prime hasn't seen any new supplements, adventures, etc. released for it.

In short, if you're looking for a free game that can easily be used to build a Final Fantasy-esque campaign ... a game that's generally rules-lite, but has a lot of crunch in character creation ... and you don't mind doing a lot of prep work as the GM, Anima Prime could be the perfect game for you.  But most gamers will want a game that's a bit more well-rounded, and has more support available.