Editor’s Note: This preview is from a development build of the game.
For any JRPG story, I feel like an emotional connection to the characters is important. The team at FuRyu takes this to heart with their game Crymachina, which puts a spotlight on an emotional journey and turns that into the crux of its gameplay systems. This is a story of struggle and fighting against fate to save a dying world. In its opening moment, the first Deus Ex Machina has mysteriously disappeared and halted the research of preserving humanity, which sparks a war in this machine-ran ship known as Eden.
The ultimate goal of Crymachina is for a group of survivors to be recognized as humans, which will put a stop to the violence. Leben has been resurrected by the Eight Deus Ex Machina named Enoa 2000 years after her death. The goal is simple, fight to be a human and do everything necessary to stop the war. However, that is not going to be easy, and the struggle that faces Leben and her group will be tough to overcome.
The overall tone of the opening shares similarities with the Matrix as Leben is uploaded to a place known as the Imitation Garden and explained what is going on. Evidently, six months after she died in real life, chaos arose on Earth, causing humanity to leave on an AI-ran ship known as Eden. There are a total of eight Deus ex Machina, but they each want something different. After the First Deus ex Machnica known as Overseer, went missing, a group of the others launched a strike against Eden, as they refused to recognize her research as “real humans.” Leben is now a part of her small group, and the Imitation Garden acts as a virtual world where they can plan their next moves.
The narrative becomes heavy on science fiction, but from a surface-level standpoint, these girls, Leben, Ami, and Mikoto, must prove their humanity to stop from being taken out by the other Deus ex Machina.
The dialog between characters includes a lot of dry humor, as Lebel first believes she’s in a video game. She slowly gets a grasp on the situation, and her painful memories of when she was alive slowly come back to her. Each character has some sort of emotional connection to the past, which is then used during combat. However, in order to take those first steps, Lebel must come to terms with how much she absolutely hates people due to their lying and manipulating ways.
Intro aside, the characters are very well-rounded, and each has a unique personality built on a common goal. At first, they work together because they have to, but I’m interested in seeing their relationships grow as they hang out in the garden.
Aside from character interactions, exploring Eden also has its share of emotions as lingering memories are scattered around that give an insight into some rather deep emotional moments before humanity went extinct. However, this is an action game, so don’t expect to just walk around and be recognized as humans. The main enemy is mechs; while I only fought a couple of types in my time with the game, there are a ton of battle options available from the start.
The combat felt smooth while chaining together attacks and switching forms to unleash follow-up attacks. I would say the dodging took some getting used to, as the timing window was small, and I wasn’t really in the environement to really invest myself in mastering the action, but after I figured it out, I can see it becoming natural to me.
Although I played on the Switch, I found the frame rate to be steady, but the onscreen resolution suffered a bit as the unfocused characters clashed. Regardless, I was able to enjoy the many different abilities Lebel has access to, and I look forward to seeing how it evolves across the game.
Crymachina touches on some pretty heavy topics within its narrative that revolve around what it means to be a human. Its action systems are fueled by those emotions that heighten the stakes for this group of girls. Sure, you could put mech girls in anything, and I’ll probably be interested, but there’s a high degree of substance and beauty here that rivals its melancholic themes.
Crymachina is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam in Fall 2023.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.