Synergia – Review
Follow Genre: Yuri, Visual novel, Cyberpunk, Indie, Simulation
Developer: Radi Art, Top Hat Studios
Publisher: EastAsiaSoft, Top Hat Studios
Platform: PS4, Switch, PC, Mac, Linux, Vita, Xbox One
Tested on: PS4

Synergia – Review

Site Score
9.2
Good: Impeccable artwork, intriguing story, the game has different endings
Bad: Redundant HUD, short stories
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Some days, you just want to kick back and relax and maybe read something or play a video game, Well, why not have the best of both worlds with visual novels? The genre has been around for a while now, with quite a few top-tier games under its belt such as Hatoful Boyfriend, Doki Doki Literature Club, Coffee Talk, and VA-11 HALL-A, all with captivating and intriguing stories that reel you in deeper and deeper. As of now, Synergia, a game by developer Top Hat Studios, can be added to that list.

Story

Synergia takes place in a neon-lit dystopian cityscape cyberpunk future, with Cila as our main character. By following the storyline, we get to learn more about Cila, her career, and her personal life.

Cila is a veteran cop with a sour outlook and anger issues. She expects nothing more from life besides the smell of ozone, blinding neon lights, and the ever-present manhole steam that covers the streets. At least, up until a friend gifts her a housedroid. Advanced, more efficient than most androids, and remarkably perceptive, unit M.A.R.A. begins to penetrate Cila’s toughened exterior and possibly even heal her new owner’s old wounds. Soon, Cila and Mara forge a deep and unique emotional bond. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Cila, just as her life begins to find its new normal, technological giant Velta Labs gets wind of Mara’s existence and takes a mysterious interest in the android. The two then wind up getting involved in an upcoming conflict in which the main actors are being chosen secretly.

The fate of an android can make the difference between peace and war, and lead to the birth of a new religion or technological singularity far from human comprehension. As Cila, how far will you go to protect the machine that changed your life for the better?

Graphics

Synergia is visually very intriguing, and it’s comprised of nearly 100 unique backgrounds and CGs. The game has the typical anime art style like most visual novels but wrapped up in a beautiful, vibrant neon aesthetic due to its fitting color hues and lighting. The artwork also has a layer of grain and rough drawing lines, making it visually even more charming. All this together, the developers brought the neon-lit dystopian cityscape futuristic cyberpunk theme to life without breaking a sweat.

Sound

Synergia has a brilliant, melodic soundtrack with the occasional fitting sound effect that complements the game’s aesthetic. The music is vivid and tense, yet still soothing enough as background music. It changes up every scene but feels very subtle and hardly noticeable at all at times, which is unfortunate.

Fun fact: the game’s immersive OST is by Andy Andi Han, a composer who previously worked on Katawa Shojo, Ova Magica, and Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story.

Gameplay

Synergia is an interactive visual novel with a thrilling storyline that is intertwined with romance. In this scenario, it is also called Yuri, which is an anime/manga featuring a romance or sexual relationship between two or more females.

If you are not familiar with visual novels (often abbreviated as VN), a visual novel is an interactive fiction video game genre, featuring a text-based story with the narrative style of literature and interactivity aided by static or sprite-based visuals, most often using anime-style art or occasionally live-action stills (ref.). And so the same goes for Synergia’s gameplay. You click through the non-linear story/dialogue and slowly discover what the story entails. So it’s safe to say that the controls aren’t that complex at all. 

The only hard thing about Synergia is that the game has multiple endings. Which means that you will have to make certain choices to get a certain ending. It’s all up to you, so it’s best to take your time making those choices. You won’t be presented with choices often in the game but when you do, it’s crucial in leading Cila and M.A.R.A. to different endings. Each story can take you from 5 up to 8 hours to finish, depending on how fast you read or how often you skip the dialogue. Yes, this is relatively short for one story, but don’t fret, you can immediately start up a new game and go into a whole other direction the next time around. Besides enjoying other game endings, you will also be rewarded with a secret epilogue when you complete them all.

Unfortunately, not every game can be perfect and there is one flaw Synergia has that has to be mentioned which is the UI/HUD that displays the dialogue. Specifically, the five action icons right above it, such as auto-text, skip text, save, load, and settings. To be brutally honest here, they’re all completely useless for being there. It takes up unnecessary space because all those actions are easily accessible in the options menu. In fact, they are a nuisance. Having that skip button right there for the reach is downright horrible. The number of times that that skip button is accidentally clicked is far too often and clicking it skips the WHOLE scene without any chance of rewinding. 

Conclusion

Overall, Synergia has almost everything you can ask for from a visual novel. The visuals are on-point and it shows off the neon-lit dystopian cityscape futuristic cyberpunk aesthetic perfectly. The art style is beautiful and charming. The game’s soundtrack is also great, even though it could use a bit more variety. The story has a slow build-up but it’s interesting enough to keep you captivated. Having to get a choice in how the story ends makes it even better!

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Synergia - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
JenRox


“Keep your friends close, but your memes even closer”.

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