Synergia: A cyberpunk thriller visual novel review

Given that novels – of the paper genre – span hundreds of genres and subgenres, I’ve always found it odd that visual novels – like “tap-A-to-progress” – are afraid to stray from a few select genres. Checking a list of all Xbox visual novels that I played last year, and there are a lot of them, about 80% are romantic dramas or comedies. The remaining 20% ​​is horror.

This is not a great diversity and it creates several problems. It keeps a narrow subgenre even narrower, requiring a potential audience to be in a Venn diagram “loves to read” and “loves to woo imaginary characters”. And, on a personal note, it creates a kind of boredom: that I’ve played in so many situations like this before. There’s a sub-problem, which is that a lot of visual novels err towards the sleazy, but we won’t be going down that particular rabbit hole today.

So be praised for Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel. You get the feeling he knows how unusual his choice of genres is in terms of a visual novel. They’re right there, right in the game’s title. And while it still has some Yuri (women’s visual novel) elements, it’s much more into science fiction. It may not be fantastic, but at least it’s different.

The plot summary should give you a good idea of ​​the influences of Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel. The main character is Cila, a police negotiator who specializes in exposing (and sometimes taking down) synthetic perverts, from robots to androids to bioroids. But from the various conversations she has with other cops, she has a dark history: one that may include a forbidden relationship with a robot.

Things go off the rails when Cila receives a droid called Mara. Her feelings resurface, and even though Cila tries to suppress them so they don’t bubble up in front of her co-workers, they cause compounding problems. Meanwhile, a hacker called Sal continues to hijack bots to chat with Cila when she’s in the middle of business, which is especially bad.

If you haven’t guessed it from the synopsis, Blade Runner’s shadow hangs over Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel. It’s not hard to see echoes of Deckard’s relationship with Rachael in Cila and Mara, as Cila’s work is only a step away from a true Blade Runner. Cityscapes are dark and neon-lit, while synth music throbs with it all.

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It bothered us a bit, if we’re being honest. If it was a superficial resemblance, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Countless movies and games have taken the Blade Runner aesthetic and made it into something new. But the themes Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel wants us to care about are all too familiar. Can synthetics love? Should they? What happens to society when robots unmistakably look like us? What’s the difference if they act the same way? Blade Runner did it all, but in style, shootouts and Rutger Hauer holding a dove.

It’s the old one Turing test chestnut tree, or Asimov’s three rules of robotics. As a subject, it’s so well known that we’re practically walking through the trenches. But Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel likes the subject and goes on paragraph after paragraph about whether a robot that looks, smells, tastes and thinks like a human could or should be treated as one. It might just be us, but we started to drift apart.

What doesn’t help is the lack of va-va-voom: anything that would give pep to chin caresses. Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel’s next problem is that it only has two modes: exposure and hand spin.

The exposure is numbing. Every character, apart from Cila and – to some extent – ​​Mara, is there to provide explanations or to talk about a development that happened elsewhere. Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel will rarely, if ever, show you anything happening, and the vast majority of interesting developments happen off-camera. War is raging in a remote corner of the world, and it’s absolutely essential to the plot, but you never see it. So, we tell you about it, to the point of nausea, by characters who have no place for subtleties such as humor, character development or simply talking about the weather.

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Hand wringing is a lot of people telling each other how they feel. Most of it is unearned, with characters falling in love or falling out with each other and, because it’s all tell, don’t show, those emotional pivots feel a little damp. That’s where they’re not really confusing: I still don’t know if Cila’s co-workers see her as good or bad at her job. They seem to swing wildly back and forth, with her boss in particular telling her she’s the worst and best negotiator he’s ever seen.

But the kicker is the absence of something really happening. It’s a thoughtful, well-constructed world that’s seen almost entirely from a single apartment. People seem to wait for things to happen, but they tend to run out of steam, leaving only exposition and fuss. Even Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel gets a bit bored with its countdown structure (the story is broken up into days, turning into a “Synergia” moment) and explodes for dozens of days in a particular timeline.

There is a choice for zhuzh things, which is welcome. There are five or six branch points, and a few branch out dramatically. This comes at a cost: one of the two endings is a moan, while the other clearly seems like the “right” one. You will know when you are there. Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel has a reasonably decent jump feature, so it’s relatively easy to get back to the fork in the road.

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A good indication of whether I liked a visual novel is whether I’m looking forward to actually seeing what happened on these different branches. But I had none of those urges with Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel. The prospect of doubling my time with this dull, navel-gazing cyberpunk visual novel filled me with a slight sense of dread. I wanted to apologize, drop off an origami unicorn, and go outside to watch Blade Runner instead.

You can buy Synergia: A Cyberpunk Thriller Visual Novel on the Xbox Store

Considering that novels – the paper genre – span hundreds of genres and subgenres, I’ve always found it strange that visual novels – the tap-A-to-progress genre – are afraid to stray from a few selected genres. Checking a list of all the Xbox visual novels I’ve played in the last year, and there are a lot of them, about 80% are romantic dramas or comedies. The remaining 20% ​​is horror. This is not a great diversity and it creates several problems. It keeps a narrow subgenre even narrower, requiring a potential audience to be in a…

Synergia: A cyberpunk thriller visual novel review

Synergia: A cyberpunk thriller visual novel review

2022-03-12

Dave Ozy





Benefits:

  • Visual novel with complex plots
  • Has nice visual flourishes
  • Not a romantic comedy, for once

The inconvenients:

  • So…so much…exposure…
  • …and emotional self-reflection…
  • … and nothing happens

Information:

  • Many thanks for the free copy of the game, go to – Top Hat Studios
  • Formats – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
  • Reviewed version – Xbox One on Xbox Series X
  • Release date – February 22, 2022
  • Introductory price from – £12.49


TXH-score



2.5/5

Benefits:

  • Visual novel with complex plots
  • Has nice visual flourishes
  • Not a romantic comedy, for once

The inconvenients:

  • So…so much…exposure…
  • …and emotional self-reflection…
  • … and nothing happens

Information:

  • Many thanks for the free copy of the game, go to – Top Hat Studios
  • Formats – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
  • Reviewed version – Xbox One on Xbox Series X
  • Release date – February 22, 2022
  • Introductory price from – £12.49

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