There’s something interesting about a human creating a relationship with an android that typically catches my attention. I enjoy how right from the beginning you question the feelings of the android and then slowly realize that perhaps maybe the human is more robotic than the android, or something like that, you get the idea. Anyway, following characters through these situations and other rather adult emotions relating to human connection is expressed in the Radi Art developed Synergia, which happens to be striking all the right chords for me.
Synergia takes place in a world full of advanced technology where androids are a normal household item. The story revolves around Cila, a veteran cop who comes off as pretty feisty. Her work life isn’t going well due to her inability to truly connect with humans. However, it doesn’t end there since she can’t even connect with her housedroid android, Elaine, who acts like a human. So, she decides to delete her personality little by little. Elaine doesn’t really have a say in the matter because there are strict laws for androids to obey their owner — unless it comes to harming another human.
While this happens towards the end of the demo, Elaine ends up malfunctioning and Cila ends up replacing her with M.A.R.A. Even though she feels bad about replacing her old housedroid, she grows fond of Mara and this leads to her opening up a little. During this time, a corporation called Velta Labs finds out about Mara’s existence and interested in using her as a key part of the plans.
The demo of Synergia only introduces Cila and focuses on her background story. We sadly will only get to see Mara briefly at the end of the demo and therefore it isn’t clear what her personality is like or how they’ll get along. So far, I enjoyed the writing and how Cila comes off as a hardworking woman who doesn’t give up after hardships. The writing also makes it clear how hard Cila is on herself, especially when she makes a mistake. That being said, my impression of the story so far is that it thematizes sensitive topics in a very adult way since Cila often questions herself and deals with situations alone as if they are her own cross to bear.
Choices can be made during Synergia, but I couldn’t tell if it made a difference in the scenario or not. I’m curious to see the weight of choices in the later parts of the game. However, the choices do affect the flow of the conversation such as one of the decisions that had me feeling like I chose the wrong response since I got scolded for it. Being a demo, there isn’t a story branch, but I am eager to see how the story progresses based on player choice.
The artwork is unique in Synergia which I was immediately drawn to. Some CGs stand out really well and are stunning, but I felt like the quality differs from scene to scene. I found that the close-up illustrations are beautiful such as when only an eye is shown, and I thought that the backgrounds looked amazing paired with the game’s vibrant color pallet. Additionally, the soundtrack is so good and atmospheric which really fit with the cyberpunk theme. Ultimately, while the soundtrack was pleasant to listen to, I felt the game’s immersion would benefit from some voiced dialog.
Synergia easily stands out with its adult themes of dealing with life and learning to connect with those around you. The game’s atmospheric cyberpunk look goes great with the overall tone of the story. The relationship between Cila and Mara is going to be crucial to what makes this game truly great in the long run. How their friendship evolves over the course of the story will be what keeps players interested in the later hours. I’ll happily add this title to my watch list.
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