Review by Eric Kelly

Review: Machina of the Planet Tree -Planet Ruler- (PC)

Review: Machina of the Planet Tree -Planet Ruler- (PC)

Sekai Project has expanded the number of genres it's covering with this RPG release. Made with RPG Maker, the game uses scripts to enhance the experience to make for a more interesting game. But the limitations of the base engine reveal themselves, as the game has some shortcomings.

The game is about a young man named Cram who is something of an excavator, or tomb raider as he seems to be using his job as an excuse to go into restricted sections of the ruins he explores. He's looking for artifacts to make money, and his latest attempt has him running into a woman named Retla, which gets him involved in something much more than a simple raid. Now he is involved in a bid to save the land by restoring the Planet Tree, which will have you going to different dungeons based on a specific element. Typical stuff. 

What's less typical is how the game uses scripts outside of the base RPG Maker engine. Battle plays out in a manner similar to Xenogears or Chrono Cross. You have a set number of AP to perform a series of attacks, which does increase as you gain levels. Each attack usually has an element or type that enemies are susceptible to, and taking advantage of that is key to success. However, players are encouraged to mix their combos up, as you get extra damage bonuses for doing so. In addition, the game lets you use suped up versions of these attacks called Over-Arts, which use a gauge which acts like the Focus gauge from Wild Arms. It recharges over time, but these attacks are definitely powerful, and can sometimes add an element that it didn't have before. There's also a state called Over Tension which allows for other more powered attacks, but using it renders the character inoperable for a few turns. It's a fun set-up, but the game is still an RPG Maker game. It's limitations are apparent, as the game has frame-rate issues when the action gets too hectic. There's also minimal gamepad support, as the d-pad isn't recognized innately, requiring something like JoytoKey to use. These are inherent issues with the engine itself, which is terribly optimized.

The game's plot is pretty typical, but the dialog is fun at times. Music is good and there is some basic voice-acting, mainly being used as battle cries and victory quotes. Although it's only in Japanese and not sub-titled. There's a synthesis system which let's you make items, weapons, and armor with materials gained from dig points in the dungeons, which are more or less the equivalent of treasure chests. It's a fun game, so JRPG will have something to like here. Just be aware of the issues and prepare for a typical story and some light grinding over the 12 hours of estimated play time.           

Summary : The game has some decent writing despite the overall story being very typical of the genre's heyday, with an interesting battle system which unfortunately is held back by the limitations of RPG Maker.

Acquisition Method: Code provided by Sekai Project. 

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The music and character sprites are great.
  • The battle system is similar to Xenogears, but the use of elemental attacks is significantly more important.
The Bad:
  • The framerate gets cut down often during battle.
  • Standard typical JRPG Plot involving elemental stuff.

Eric is one of the co-hosts of the RPGrinders podcast, as well as a freelance video game writer. You can follow him on Twitter @EricRPG .

Review by - 11/22/2015 4:17 PM4105 views

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