Crymachina is NIS America and developer Furyu’s latest mecha-themed action RPG. The game serves as a spiritual successor to the bizarre yet intriguing game Crystar, but with many unique elements. While Crymachina shares a lot of themes, the game gets a lot more bizarre and is an improvement in almost every single way, in its own ways.
A Unique Narrative in Crymachina
Crymachina takes place in a world where humanity has been affected by a mysterious disease. You play as Lebel Distel, a German teenage girl whose family is taken from her by the illness before her own eventual demise. However, after she takes her last breath she wakes up thousands of years in the future where humanity has become completely extinct and has been replaced by machines and seven machine overseers known as the Machinas. They all have their own purpose in the grand scheme of bringing back humanity. Unfortunately, many of the Machinas have now become rogue or corrupted. Leben awakens to find herself in this future and is woken up by Enoa, one of the seven Machinas who recruits her to be an EvE, one of the humans whose consciousness was brought back from the past in machine bodies. With her newfound body, Leben and her companions are tasked to destroy or pacify the corrupted Machinas, and in doing so they’ll become “Real Humans,” who have the potential to restore humanity.
Crymachina’s story is one of the most intriguing narratives I’ve experienced in a game in a long time. It features several sci-fi elements and themes that also ask many psychological questions, like what would happen if humanity were to go extinct, how we could explain whether or not we live in a simulation, and other fun stuff. It also tries to define what a human is through Leben and her friends, who are only physically present through their circumstances. They have no human bodies, relatives, or any link to their pasts whatsoever. What remains of them is only memories and consciousness of long-deceased humans who’ve been revived.
A Pretty Setting in Crymachina
These themes make the game’s narrative incredibly unique and interesting and made me want to keep playing to learn more about its cold, soulless world. Players who do get rewarded with a branching narrative that only gets more intense and interesting as it goes on.
Aside from its narrative, Crymachina also shows its uniqueness through its beautiful and picturesque visuals. The models are the most detailed I’ve seen in any Furyu game thus far, the character designs are intricate and unique, the illustrations are excellent, and the levels and environments, while empty and soulless at times, are still atmospheric and match the game’s sci-fi theme really well. However, while the game has a lot of top-quality elements, all of it is also incredibly limited. There are only about a dozen main characters, most levels are incredibly linear, repetitive, and derivative, and the enemies are all designed similarly, save for the major antagonists and bosses.
Flashy, Fun, but Shallow Combat in Crymachina
Thankfully, Crymachina makes up for what it lacks in gameplay depth with its flashy and fun combat system and gameplay elements. Combat is incredibly fast-paced, which makes it incredibly fun as fighting enemies does not drag on. However, players will still have to think things out in each fight as some bosses are sometimes either quicker and more agile than you or just have way more physical strength, so hacking and slashing isn’t always the only option.
Players increase their physical prowess, health, defense, and also gain more skills by acquiring EXP by defeating enemies, collecting dropped items, purchasing them from a specific mysterious NPC, or by conversing with the other human girls. However, unlike most action games, you won’t level up naturally, as you can only upgrade your stats and gain new skills between missions back in Eden, your home base through Enoa.
Aside from that, players can also converse with the two other human girls through visual novel conversations that range from deep discussions about the human condition to vain ones like what your type is in a relationship. While these conversations are done in the same three locations with the same background and character models, many of them are still engaging and entertaining nonetheless due to the excellent voice acting from the Japanese cast, and it’s unfortunate that the game lacks an English dub.
Final Thoughts on Crymachina
Overall, Crymachina is a fun game with many cool scientific themes, philosophies, mystique, and an intriguing premise. It’s fun but not fantastic, as it’s still sorely lacking in gameplay depth that fails to live up to its narrative. However, if you’re a fan of anime-like action RPGs or the previous title, then you might enjoy Crymachina.
Intriguing narrative Fun gameplay Great visuals
Shallow combat Very linear and limited
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