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Bite Sized Reviews: Synergy
I've been away for a while! Some big news to announce, as well as a new review. Hope you enjoy!
By TheThousandScar Posted in Gaming, Impressions, Indie Games, PC, Reviews on May 29, 2024 0 Comments 5 min read
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Bite Sized Reviews: Synergy

What a busy couple of weeks it has been! Before I delve into today’s bite-sized review, I have an announcement to make.

SteamDeckHQ is one of the definitive channels for everything regarding the hugely successful Steam Deck. The staff there are lovely people, and I’m happy to announce that I recently joined them as a feature writer there. It’s been a long time coming but it’s going to be a fun journey!

That does not change much for my articles here if anything. They will all continue, but they might be a little less frequent as I adjust to the new shenanigans! This is still my platform to cover all the fantastic indie games that exist. Interviews will proceed as normal. We’ll always be open! I just may need to prioritize things like affording stuff.

Internal Thoughts: Do you mean more Rimworld DLC so you can do more horrible things to characters in your video games?

We should move on to today’s review, huh?

Synergy is an interesting little game. Launching last week in Early Access, it has all the makings of a nice city-builder. The graphics are gorgeous, inspired by Moebius for sure. As soon as I booted into my first game, the art style breathed it into every colourful line. I’m the last person who’ll call myself an art expert. I’m not. I’m more like Baldrick’s art talents from Blackadder. Jean Giraud was one hell of an inspiration, and Synergy is the latest video game that drew from his incredible artwork.

I’m not used to beautiful city builders but Synergy’s visual design drew me right in. This is a saturated market, especially in the indie scene. While the competition is not quite as fierce as the roguelike scene, there are a ton of games out there. With 2024 hits such as Manor Lords, Farthest Frontier, Time to Morp, Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles, and Roots of Yggdrasil, that is a lot of games Synergy is competing against. Now that I think about it, I’ve covered all but Farthest Frontier recently here! I’m addicted to city builders.

The key argument Synergy needs to address is: how does this differ from the competition? How does it stack up against other games like it? That’s always something to challenge ourselves when games release, but especially so in Early Access. Asking players to part with money upfront to test a game that’s constantly in development requires a ton of trust, after all. After several hours of playing with the tutorial and the sandbox mode, I’m still unsure what to think of Synergy. It looks fantastic and it plays fairly well, but right now I’m struggling to recommend it over the competition. Due to juggling a lot of pies, I haven’t played as much Synergy as I would like, so consider this an early impression.

That doesn’t mean I think the game is bad. Quite the opposite. The premise is simple enough. In a strange alien world, you must guide your tribe to prosperity. In this inhospitable environment, it is all about survival. In the Early Access version we have, you can play the tutorial level, the WIP campaign with two-story scenarios, or go full-on sandbox. The tutorial is pretty well done, and it solves one of my pet peeves. Learning organically while playing is my preferred way to play a tutorial, and Synergy offers that in spades. In sandbox mode, you can replay any map from the campaign, which is a nice feature.

What I liked about economy mechanics is how much it focuses on research. It’s a new alien biosphere and nobody knows how things work yet. Therefore, you have to study the flora and fauna scattered across the world to learn how they support human life. The number of ways different plants can be used to build the settlement is kind of awesome. The environment must be spared from your parasitic nature, so harvesting plants needs to be prioritized over tearing the resources out completely.

It’s also cool how much Synergy values water purification. It’s a rough world out there, and no access to clean water is a fast road to the ‘Up Shit Creek Without Paddle’ scene. Studying the biomes helps to work out what the best route to take. It’s a similar system to Stranded: Alien Dawn’s observing mechanic, although in Synergy you use a specific building instead of instructing an NPC.

As for the gameplay, the abstract 2.5D graphics are pretty to look at, although there’s no way to react with the colonists. That’s a shame, as I like zooming down into my settlements and watching them work. There are no traits or characteristics that set one colonist apart from another, which makes Synergy feel a little soulless at times.

For Early Access, I think Synergy is a solid enough city builder. The amount of content available is decent, given the price of 25$. The isometric graphics are beautiful and I enjoy the educational/scientific focus the game has. I just feel right now, the early access version currently available might not be the best fit in this stage of development. When going up against its fellow rivals, that 25$ does not stretch as well as other titles do.

There is a good game here, but players might want to wait for some more updates before picking it up.

#gamingnews #indiegame #Strategy #videogames


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