Made in Abyss is one of the most popular anime and manga properties to come out of Japan, and the franchise finally receives its first game for consoles and PC. Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness faithfully adapts the mystique, lore, and characters of the IP into a new survival RPG. The Abyss provides difficult challenges to overcome as the player, but various elements hold back the overall experience of the game.
Welcoming the Abyss
Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness begins with the “Hello Abyss” mode, a brief prologue introducing the world of Made in Abyss and its main characters. Players will embark on Riko and Reg’s journey to find Riko’s mother, Lyza, at the bottom of the Abyss. Furthermore, Hello Abyss mode provides an overview of the game’s combat and cave raiding mechanics such as crafting, excavating, and climbing. Hello Abyss covers Made in Abyss up to Marulk and Ozen seeing off Riko and Reg to the third layer of the Abyss.
On the surface, gameplay appears to be somewhat shallow in Hello Abyss since multiple mechanics are not introduced until further progression. By the end of Hello Abyss, players should have a solid grasp of the game leading into the first end credits. Once Hello Abyss is complete, the “Deep in Abyss” mode becomes accessible. Deep in Abyss featuring an original story featuring a player-created character. The core game of Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness begins in Deep in Abyss as players take off to become a veteran cave raider.
Traversing the Depths
Players will journey through multiple layers of the Abyss in the Deep in Abyss mode. The survival RPG elements are most prevalent in Deep in Abyss such as EXP levels, upgradable skills, crafting, and gathering materials. EXP is gained by completing quests and trading Relics found in the Abyss. Players may accept side quests from NPCs and the cave raiding guild. Players start out as a Red Whistle cave raider, the beginner rank. Difficulty increases as the player progresses through the story, levels up, and earns a higher ranked Whistle. Orth, the main cave raiding town, offers multiple shops with valuable gear and items for Abyss cave raiding. Overall, Orth provides the standard affair of resources expected from survival RPGs.
Once in the Abyss, players must keep track of their health and fullness (hunger). The Abyss is full of natural resources such as wildlife and plants, so there are plenty of ways to replenish health while on an adventure. It’s recommended to carry food items before going into Abyss though or the player is in for a rough time. The Curse of the Abyss is another condition to consider while traversing the depths. Physical and mental burdens afflicted by the curse become more dangerous while descending into the Abyss. In addition, many primeval creatures pose a threat while exploring the depths. Navigating the Abyss is quite brutal and unforgiving, but some unlocks prove to be very useful later in the game.
Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness carries a lot of the favorable qualities worthy of the Made in Abyss series. The game features fully-voiced main scenario and a faithful rendition of Made in Abyss characters and setting. However, the game feels repetitive due to resource management and constant backtracking through areas for quests. Additionally, the combat system feels stiff even after acquiring various upgrades. The game’s presentation from visuals to audio needed some more work too.
Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness has a solid foundation for a survival RPG but the end result is a mixed bag. Unfortunately, it’s also an unrefined game that could have benefitted from more development time and resources. Made in Abyss fans may still have a good time with the new title but the opposite is also possible due to the game’s flaws. Performance of the Nintendo Switch version is also lacking due to visual bugs and frame rate stutters near groups of enemies. Some issues such as audio bugs still persist after the day one patch.
Out of the Abyss
Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness encapsulates the punishing reality of the Made in Abyss world. The survival RPG challenges the player to traverse danger-ridden environments, but the lackluster combat and level design may dissuade some players from continuing onward. Redeemable qualities of Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness such as characters, lore, the crafting system, and much more are held back by glaring flaws. At the very least, Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness attempts to reward players who persevere with a decent main story, an enhanced tool set, and powerful abilities.
Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness is available now for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC via Steam.
Disclaimer: Spike Chunsoft provided Final Weapon with a Nintendo Switch review code of Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling Into Darkness.