Follow Genre: JRPG
Developer: FuRyu, Aquria
Publisher: FuRyu, NIS America
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch
Tested on: PS5


Site Score
Good: Atmosphere, Story
Bad: Very basic gameplay
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When taking a closer look at CRYMACHINA, it’s quite easy to assume that it might be a sequel to 2018’s Crystar by the same publisher and developer. While you’d probably be right in calling it a spiritual successor, CRYMACHINA is very much its own separate experience that has no real relation to Crystar, safe for a few of the heavier topics both games address. The early footage of this new futuristic title with sci-fi robotic ladies in the lead, looked rather interesting, and we were curious to see if that first impression would hold up.


The story kicks off when we see one of the main characters, Leben Distel, die at a young age. While this was supposed to be the end of her story, we instead see the teenage girl awaken in a new robotic shell, only for her to learn that it has been 2000 years since she had originally passed away. She now finds herself aboard a massive spaceship-like vessel that is adequately called Eden. The vessel is fairly devoid of life, except for the AI, Enoa, who brought her back to life, as well as Mikoto and Ami, who have also been revived by Enoa. This is a lot to take in for Leben, as she is still quite disoriented, and she immediately has to make a run for it. Enoa and her revived E.V.E. allies are being targeted by rogue AI, who clearly don’t share the same vision as the maternal Enoa. The girls will have to try to win back their humanity and gain control over Eden.

Even though the above description may sound very vague, CRYMACHINA’s story is absolutely worth it. We’d dare even say that CRYMACHINA’s narrative is probably the reason why you should consider picking up the game. The story is not afraid to touch more sensitive subjects, and it does so in a way that everyone is able to relate to what is being told during dialogues. The game also has a lot of optional dialogues, and these often flesh out the characters further and can also provide a few lighthearted conversations between the limited cast of characters.


Graphically CRYMACHINA is a bit underwhelming. While we liked the girls’ character designs and some of the enemy designs, Eden feels empty and rather basic. Levels are very small and often only consist of a few hallways and a bigger boss arena at the end. There is almost no clutter in the stages and the backdrops are boring and uninspired. The Imitation Garden looks a bit more attractive, even though you’re never able to truly run around in it. You’ll have fairly colorful backdrops here, but the rest of the characters are only shown in static positions for the most part. During conversations, you’ll also see fairly static images of the character who is speaking.


The sound design is decent, with a decent soundtrack, satisfying sound effects, and great voice acting. All dialogues in the game are fully voiced, and the cast does a formidable job bringing their respective characters to life. As the game is very story-driven, we very much enjoyed going through the conversations (and banter) between the different characters. Even though a lot of NIS America-published titles tend to have quirky English dubs, CRYMACHINA only has Japanese voice acting.


CRYMACHINA is a somewhat linear JRPG with a heavy focus on its story. In-between story segments and dialogues you’ll be fighting your way through short levels in which you take control over Leben or Mikoto. The actual gameplay is quite simple, as you’ll have to think logically as to how you approach battles. If you dive in headfirst and don’t dodge or counter properly, you might find yourself dying rather easily. If the combat proves to be a bit too hard for you, you can also turn on the Casual Mode, which makes battles significantly easier. Casual Mode is a great feature for those who simply want to enjoy CRYMACHINA’s narrative.

As stated above, the levels are rather short in this game. Most levels will not take you that much longer than ten minutes if you watch all the story-related content. When replaying levels, you can often clear these in two or three minutes, depending on your difficulty settings. The game does have a bit of grinding in play if you want to maximize all your stats, but by playing through the game without actually replaying levels, you’ll probably still have enough EGO and ExP to make Leben and Mikoto stronger. EGO is a different type of resource that is needed for a lot of stat upgrades, and you can acquire EGO by simply watching the story-related content, opting to dive into optional dialogues, selling excessive gear, and so on. To level certain stats and passive abilities, you’ll need more and more EGO, and again, if you want to collect more, you’ll have to replay missions.

The gear system is also interesting, but certain aspects could have been explained a bit more. You can swap out certain gear items, which will always passively boost your stats. Depending on your left and right auxiliary you can also swap active skills, which is a nice touch. You’ll find enough new items to swap out gear sets regularly. While swapping auxiliary does change your appearance a bit, it would have been nice to also have some variation in terms of weapons. Higher-level weapons always look the same as the weaker variants.

Even though the gear system is fun to mess around with, and you’re able to level your characters, the actual gameplay component feels extremely underwhelming. The combat isn’t that satisfying, the progression is constantly being halted by an overabundance of dialogues and level restrictions, and there is just too little in terms of actual gameplay components. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t mean that the inclusion of many dialogues is a bad thing, but there is no balance between the gameplay and the story, and because of this, venturing out into Eden actually feels like an afterthought. What you experience in the first few missions remains the same experience throughout the entirety of the game. That being said, we were more than happy to still play through the missions as the story did have us hooked from the beginning.


Even though the actual gameplay of CRYMACHINA was a bit underwhelming at times, we thoroughly enjoyed the story that unfolded here. This means that it’s certainly worth looking into if you want a more laid-back narrative-driven experience. While the battles can still be rather tough, you can simply swap to the Casual Mode setting if you just want to delve into the game’s story content. If you’re looking for an intense and action-packed RPG, you’ll probably end up disappointed, however.

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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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