Title: Machina of the Planet Tree -Unity Unions-
Developer: Denneko Yuugi
Release Date: May 15, 2020
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Sekai Project
Genre: Action RPG
When indie games take existing genres and make them their own on a strict budget, the result is often a unique gaming experience. Some of my favorite games are made up of indie titles that are built off of existing ideas and genres. However, developer Denneko Yuugi might have bitten off a little more then they could chew in their latest release, Machina of the Planet Tree: Unity Unions.
Machina of the Planet Tree: Unity Unions doesn’t waste any time as it quickly introduces you to the main protagonist Corona Megistus on her quest to becoming a jewelmancer. During her training, an evil emerges that leads her to discover an ancient power known as Machina, which is revealed to be the companion of the game, Arcturus.
We find out that all of this is linked to an entity known as Nova. Throughout the adventure, Corona finds out more about the disappearance of her mom as well as secret powers that have been sealed away inside of her.
The story will pass you in the blink of an eye. The opening begins with Corona eluding to a recurring dream, but then moves on and says she wants breakfast. The more significant issue is that I never really cared about the quest because the dialogue scenes did a terrible job of outlining the reasons why any of this was even happening. You’re more or less on a linear path through dungeons, and before you know it, you’re fighting the final boss.
Unity Unions has a lot of small issues that affect the gameplay throughout the entire game. During a mission, players are free to roam around the map. However, even though the map is open, venturing off the path will lead to absolutely nothing. Instead of a marker on the compass to tell you which direction to go, the game relies on enemy spawns. That’s right, clear a group of enemies, and another appears ahead to tell you which direction to go. This method is exceptionally annoying and forces you to fight in every single battle.
Fighting requires players to use three different magical staves that each have a different attack pattern. There are a ton of staves available, and they get stronger in the later parts of the game. Each staff has its own stats such as ammo capacity, strength, and reload speed. It was fun to check out what each staff does, but after I found a good combination, I stuck with them for the majority of the game.
There’s a lack of enemy types here as the developer opted to mostly use generic enemy types such as slimes and wolves in nearly every stage. In order to display a stronger enemy, they just make them bigger or changed their color. There’s very little satisfaction out of taking out groups of enemies or even the final boss. From the beginning of the first level, I was looking forward to the ending. Luckily, that only took about an hour and a half. You’ll understand what I mean the second you attempt to aim your staff for an attack.
There are a few customizable options in the game that allow you to synthesize staves or level up your character using points earned in missions. Furthermore, the game has these companion fighters that you can create in a stage that helps you in various ways. These helpers can also be leveled up, but I found that I only used them during boss encounters and felt they could have been completely removed, and nothing would have changed gameplay-wise.
The silver lining of Unity Unions is that the illustrations for the characters are charming. However, Corona’s 3D model, as lovely as the assets may be, move rather strangely in the open world. There are a few lines of voiced dialogue here and there, but nothing that will blow you away and the soundtrack doesn’t add or take away from the overall adventure experience.
Machina of the Planet Tree: Unity Unions is much too ambitious for its budget. The developer had an idea for what they wanted this game to be but could not pull it off. There’s not much here outside of mindlessly going through missions with the objective being “Defeat All Enemies” for an hour until the credits roll. I can’t recommend this game; I don’t care how cute the main protagonist is!
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