Developer: Radi Art, Top Hat Studios Publisher: eastasiasoft Category: Visual Novel, Adventure, Role-playing Release Date: March 18, 2021 Composer: Andy Andi Han
Before I knew what “cyberpunk” was, I was enthralled with the stories that were inspired by it. The term was created in the 80s and slowly grew into an extremely popular genre of entertainment encompasing mediums like movies, books, and video games, to name a few. Synergia is an indie cyberpunk visual novel that will quickly whisk you into the game’s cyberpunk world. An adventure that leaves a satisfying feeling at it’s conclusion.
Like a Neuromancer
Once of the earliest known examples of the cyberpunk genre was Neuromancer, by William Gibson. In the novel, a hacker is requested for “one last job” which leads him to an exceptionally powerful artificial intelligence. I am of the opinion that many things we see and experience today is often inspired by things that came before. Synergia is no different. When you start the game you are introduced to Cila. Cila works as a type of enforcement negotiator used to handle androids that are acting erratic. While this may not be her last job, the story does lead her into a confrontation with a powerful artifical intelligence.
The story builds around the Cila and her inability to cope with those closest to her. As a negotiator, Cila is able to merge into the artifical conciousness of androids in order to discover why they have stopped operating appropriately. Some of the people you interact with will be Elaine, who is an android that lives with her. Yoko, whom she relies on for repairs and other information. Darla and Kyle, who are tasked to evaluate Cila’s abilities. The player’s task throughout Synergia’s story is to discover what troubles Cila, why her android Elaine shut’s down, and the mystery of an android named M.A.R.A.
The Windup Girl
As the story unfolds, Cila links up with Yoko to see if she can have Elaine rebuilt or rebooted. While discussing her own issues with Elaine’s current programing, Yoko suggests she use an andoid named M.A.R.A. Cila is hesitant, but finally agrees, and slowly but steadily the relationship with Cila and M.A.R.A. begins to develop. All while Cila is trying to discover the mysteries behind multiple androids chosing to act against their programming. Their relationship carries the story extremely well. While highlighting Cila’s insecurities, her values are challenged by M.A.R.A.’s very human personality.
Synergia’s visuals are made incredibly well. Although it is a darker screen and the text is fairly small when in portable mode, the shades and colors blend into something that is truely pleasing to look at. The tones never overwhelm and work together to compliment the world the story takes place in. One of my small complaints is gameplay, which centers mostly around the user interface. The text often fills multiple lines. If the player uses the backlog, those larger pieces of conversation would appear incomplete. Which didn’t bother me terribly since I didn’t use the backlog often. A bit of work is required when characters are speaking. Their names are located in the same spot each time they speak, yet their character picture never changes or becomes highlighted. This wasn’t a huge concern while I played, however I am sure other’s may care.
As the old saying goes, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. The game is a good game. Although, that may not be enough for every person because it isn’t without it’s flaws. It doesn’t fit the standard visual novel model. The background of the game can seem blurry, the text is a bit too small, and the user interface needs work. One thing I noticed, while trying not to spoil the game, is the ending did feel a bit rushed. That said, I really enjoyed the title. It could be bias, as I am a big fan of cyberpunk style worlds. I rarely play visual novels, but the experience was worth it. The story was deep and drew me in. I wanted to know how it ended. Synergia was also a game I would consider to be a quick experience. Which is always a pro for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to game.
In the end, while not perfect, the game held it’s charm. It does try to be a thriller, which I think it misses. There is a bit of romance, but that got lost in translation. Yet, somehow, this game made an impression. It could very well be due to my inexperience with visual novels. Yet, I find myself thinking of the game even after I have completed it. The music wasn’t overpowering but appealed to the world. The art style never felt too bright or overbearing and fit well into the dystopian surroundings. The end of the game did feel rushed. However, Cila and M.A.R.A’s story made up for it. I just wish there was more. Even now, after the game has been shut off, it has left me wanting more of their narative.
Buy Now: 14.99
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*The Switch Effect was graciously provided this game code for review.