Crymachina Nintendo Switch Review
Screenshot by Siliconera

Review: Crymachina Features a Fascinating Take on the Post-Apocalypse

Though Crymachina comes from the same team behind the underrated Crystar, it takes inspiration from other games more. The action RPG is a sci-fi post-apocalyptic thriller that kicks off with a young girl hospitalized in a world similar to our own before quickly shifting to the distant future where she is now an android.

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What then ensues is a bizarre but incredibly fun story about a group of machine girls trying to become “real humans.” Although the overall plot is mostly forgettable, Crymachina‘s themes draw inspiration from thought-provoking games like NieR: Automata more than anything else. This is especially true with the mechanical but humanoid characters the campaign centers around and the exhilarating, action-packed gameplay.

In the game, players get to explore the futuristic setting of Eden through various missions. Each mission only lasts a few minutes on average and typically has the same general formula. This usually involves a linear path with enemies along the way and a larger foe or boss at the end. There are sometimes optional branching paths with items or extra bosses to fight, but not much else. Though this formula becomes repetitive, the combat never does.

Crymachina Nintendo Switch Review
Screenshot by Siliconera

Unlike Crystar, the combat feels fluid and engaging. This is even the case on the Nintendo Switch, where I spent most of my time diving into the game. Crymachina’s gameplay features the usual hack-and-slash combat and includes a normal attack, dodge, and parry. In addition, you have two arms that attach to your machine’s body, which you can customize.

The feature allows your arms to act like machine guns, lasers, etc. On controller, the player activates these abilities using the left and right shoulder buttons, respectively. These arms mainly act on their own when you use them with quick cooldowns. Given how speedy everything in the game feels, you have to constantly be on your toes while in the middle of battle.

The best way to excel in this sometimes challenging action RPG is to spam your arms and then follow up with an attack, dodge, or parry when necessary. You will also want to activate your other special abilities like a transformation when you get them.

Crymachina Nintendo Switch Review
Screenshot by Siliconera

There’s never a dull moment with Crymachina’s break-neck speed combat, and it is one of the most enjoyable hack-and-slash games I’ve played in a while. I hate to keep drawing comparisons to NieR again, but if you like how swift the movement and combat felt in that game, you’ll likely enjoy the gameplay feature in Crymachina as well.

However, Crymachina lacks a bit outside of its combat sections when it comes to pushing the story forward. The intro throws you directly into the action a little too fast. As such, you only learn a few bits and pieces of the game’s characters and story. There is also a bunch of weird terminology for the various enemies, factions, and diseases, which the game takes its time to explain fully.

Perhaps the oddest part about the game is what happens in between missions. When you aren’t in the mechanical world of Eden fighting, you’ll be back at the Imitation Garden. This spot acts as a base for the girls. Here, you can customize your arms, as mentioned. There are also other activities, such as leveling up characters, unlocking abilities, and a gacha mobile game. You can also chat with the other characters. However, most of the story elements and character moments happen here at the Imitation Garden in the form of tea parties. As you progress through the game, you unlock these odd tea party moments.

Screenshot of characters.
Screenshot by Siliconera

While strange, these tea parties are just a cute way of saying cutscenes. Some of these are required to progress the story, while other optional ones reveal more about the characters. Overall, this shallow way of handling the story leads to some witty and funny moments. However, it also lessens the impact of the overarching plot. Sure, some cutscenes happen during missions, but they’re sadly few and far between. The story gets somewhat interesting later in the campaign, but it certainly doesn’t reach the levels of other games in the genre.

But if you ignore the oddly-paced story and can focus solely on the gameplay and figuring out which stats to increase at the Imitation Garden, this is an exceedingly fun game in short bursts. It helps that the visuals look so vibrant and colorful despite the depressing setting.

Although the locations look dark, they often pop with purples and blues. In addition, the characters look so detailed and stunning in their art style. This also goes for Switch, which still looks and feels impressive, even with the apparent drop in resolution.

Screenshot of a character.
Screenshot by Siliconera

Ultimately, if you want a hack-and-slash RPG with high-speed and fun gameplay but with a middling storyline, this could be a sleeper hit for some players. While not as deep as I wanted it to be, the game handles its mission format and character-progression system well enough. I just wish the story had a little more depth to match its intriguing post-apocalyptic themes and world setting.

Crymachina releases for PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, and PC on October 24, 2023.


CRYMACHINA is an action RPG where mechanical girls strive to survive in a post-apocalyptic world to become “Real Humans''. But what does it mean to be a “Real Human”?

Crymachina offers a cybernetic futuristic world with excellent action-based combat. Though it loses itself in the weeds with its plot, it delivers nonstop fun.

Food for Thought
  • Fans of NieR: Automata should check out this sleeper hit.
  • Some of the optional bosses in levels are meant to be fought later on when you are a much higher level, so don’t waste your time.
  • Watch every tea party conversation for the best character moments.

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Cody Perez
Cody is a writer who has been sharing his love for video games and anime since his high school days in 2012. When he isn’t writing about the latest JRPGs and anime series, he can be found in Final Fantasy XIV, occasionally playing some Call of Duty, or lurking on Twitter @SoulcapCody.