Sci-Fi and Cyberpunk go hand in hand and the wonderfully futuristic ideas are intriguing. Furthermore, if you then couple this with a seedy romance and an overbearing government, you get a winning combination. Synergia tells the story of a dark and dystopian future through the eyes of a young girl. Despair and doom are around every corner, but will there be a light at the end of the tunnel?
Developed by Radi Art and published by Top Hat Studios and Eastasiasoft Limited, this is a Yuri thriller visual novel. It tackles some far-fetched ideas but is also touching and endearing at the same time. If you can accept the human and android interactions, you’ll experience a heartwarming romance. Furthermore, the elements of forbidden love will inspire you to keep reading.
Synergia is a depressing tale.
You are Cila, a veteran Cop who is uncomfortable in this futuristic world full of androids. Cila, however, never trusts her computerised companions, as they are cold and lack emotions. This all changes, however, when her android stops working. Her friend lends her an unusual model called Mara. Unlike any other robot she has seen, this one has human characteristics. Subsequently, this intrigues the protagonist, and friendships start to blossom.
Though romance is a key portion of this novel, it only materialises later in the game. In the beginning, you experience the seedy and untrustworthy elements of this futuristic society. Subsequently, much of the dialogue and tone is of distrust and fear. Furthermore, this leads to confusing and flawed subplots. Thankfully, though, as you progress, the pieces fall into place, yet it’s a little messy until it starts to click.
The poor editing skills don’t help! Unlike its peers, Synergia is determined to dump as much information as possible. I have read many visual novels and I appreciate the bite-size approach. However, this one lacks finesse, and this impacts the pace of the story. Furthermore, it’s difficult to keep up with the emotional side of each character. These problems sadly undermine the gameplay and should be addressed to improve the ebb and flow of the storytelling.
When I saw the words Yuri, thriller, and Cyberpunk in the same sentence, I expected an epic novel. However, instead, you get a short 3 to 4 hour read that has limited dialogue choices. Moreover, there are only two endings, good or bad, and this impacts its longevity further still. The minuscule and underdeveloped plot impact the rapport that you build with each character. As such, I never warmed to the romance elements, as this was introduced too late.
Sadly, the gameplay feels like it’s two unique parts running sequentially. This wouldn’t be a problem, but one focuses on the lore of the world and the latter on the brief romantic encounter. Had the developers infused the two segments, this story would have been much more dramatic. On top of this, the introduction of bit-part players in the later story increases the confusion. These throwaway characters come and go and leave nothing but unexplained loose ends.
This odd approach works well with the elements of suspicion, but it adversely impacts the flow of the story. It reinforces my belief that parts of the plot need to be revisited. If this was done, the story would be stronger and much easier to follow.
Synergia looks amazing.
Though I struggled to follow the story or build rapport with the characters, I admired the stunning artistry. The neon-infused backdrops and wonderfully striking characters enhance the Cyberpunk theme. Furthermore, the mix of tones and colours adds to the oppressive and overbearing atmosphere. However, there were a handful of minor issues that detract from the brilliance. First, it was hard to decipher the dialogue choices. The developers used a translucent effect, and this was unclear and confusing. Second, there are many continuity errors that are simply irritating. Consequently, you’ll witness hair changing colour and different outfits. Last, there is an array of grammatical errors that need to be addressed.
Like the visuals, the audio is wonderfully emotive. Its dramatic soundtrack has been composed by Andy Andi Han, the composer for Sense – A Cyberpunk Ghost Story. The deep and rich music transports you to this futuristic world, and its style and approach work perfectly with each unique backdrop and CG.
A bizarre skip feature.
Visual novel fans love a long read and multiple endings. However, what no one wants is to have to re-read the same bit of text repeatedly. Thankfully, a skip feature is incorporated into the majority of these games to make things easier. Yet, Synergia has taken the bizarre approach of making you hold buttons to use this feature. Though it wasn’t difficult to do, it was annoying and broke up the immersive nature of the plot.
With only two endings and a short read time, this sadly lacks replay value or longevity. What’s more, the small achievement list requires little effort to complete. Unfortunately, Synergia is no epic tale and absorbing both endings takes less than 5 to 6 hours of work.
Synergia could have been great.
Much of Synergia is okay, but it could have been great. If the developers had focused on delivering a stronger and more rounded story, it would be vastly improved. Sadly, the poor pacing of the text and many loose ends undermine much of the action. Subsequently, I cautiously recommend you to buy it here! Can the barriers of distrust be broken, or will you question everyone’s intentions? Find the light in the darkness of this oppressive and dystopian future.