In ancient times, Machina ruled the world. Now, they’re left abandoned in ruins. You set out to discover the secrets and wind up having to save the world. Isn’t that how it always is?
You’re Cram, a S-Class machinarian for the academy, the headquarters for those searching the ruins. In Machina of the Planet Tree -Planet Ruler-, you get sent into a scene with Cram sneaking into some ruins. Soon after, you meet Retla, get told off at the academy, and then head into the forbidden Great Ruins. This sets forth a huge chain of events that eventually lead to you needing to save the world.
Machina of the Planet Tree is an RPGMaker title that has actually had a fair bit of work put into it. The character sprites are well done, though some of the enemy sprites are definitely not “original”. You’ll explore through each area, trying to find the seal at the end, and will fight a variety of things along the way.
The story isn’t overall something that you’ll remember forever, but I did find myself getting into it and wanting to see more. I didn’t quite see the final boss and the ending coming. Well, okay, I did partly see the final boss coming, but not the full thing. The story is spread out over 6 chapters that will probably take you around 10 hours to finish. That’s how long it took me, though I ignored going back to town a lot to talk to the NPCs at the Inn, bar, and store. When there’s no true side quests to be found, I didn’t really find much incentive to head back much.
Well, okay, there is sort of a side quest in the game, but I wouldn’t call it a true side quest. You’ll receive materials and broken weapons as drops from enemies, as well as from excavation nodes in the dungeons. You can use these to make new weapons and upgrade ones you already have. There’s a limit to how much one weapon can be upgraded however, and it’s very likely you’ll end up with pretty much the same weapon you started with when you reach the end of the game.
I found combat quite enjoyable in Machina of the Planet Tree. To fight, you’ll have to set up combos. The amount you can do is limited by your cost, with each ability costing a different amount. You’ll need to work out the best abilities to use in combos for the enemies that best uses your cost. If you can’t fully use it, you can always back out and defend, although I found you should be careful against magic users. For some reason, defending always made me take a lot more damage than I should have from them, typically ending with that character dying and me having to revive them.
You can also use “Assist” abilities in combat. These abilities are your buffs, healing spells, and so forth. These are extremely handy to use in boss battles, so make sure you don’t forget you have them! I found it can be easy to forget, though once you start getting closer to the end, it becomes easier to remember. Though I suppose this is mainly because you’ll likely end up dead if you don’t. These abilities use your TP, which is also used to enhance your attacks should you press the D key to use them instead of a regular confirm. If you’re at 100 TP, you can also choose to super buff your character in general for that turn, doubling their available cost. Once you’ve used up that turn though, you’ll drop to 0 TP which temporarily debuffs your character until you get it back up again.
Items, on the other hand, use cost to use, along with having a stock amount. I never really had troubles with keeping a stock on items, mainly because they’ll drop so frequently from enemies and excavation points. Well, it doesn’t help I also tend to be cheap on using them, even if I’m literally rolling in more money than I know what to do with and could use them as much as I ever wanted to. Heck, when you get to the last chapter, if you head back to the shop you’ll find they finally have an accessory available – the only one I could find in the whole game – that costs a whopping 300k. Eh, it’s okay, 300k is no problem, even when buying three of them! Or at least that’s how it was for me. Maybe it’s because I got so lost at times… It worked out though, as I needed all the experience I could get for the final bosses!
Musically, I found myself usually putting the game on mute until I made it to a boss. I just got tired of hearing the same songs over and over again while fighting. The song for the “rare” enemies also felt really odd, it was just randomly, “Hey, surf’s up dudes!” in feeling. Machina of the Planet Tree also features voice acting, though it’s all in Japanese and only in combat. Thankfully, everything else is translated, and I can forgive the lack of an English voice cast for a smaller release like this. The translation also seemed pretty good, and I can’t really recall any grammar or spelling issues.
Even though Machina of the Planet Tree -Planet Ruler- only comes in at around 10 hours, they’re an enjoyable 10 hours. I kept finding myself wanting to find out what would happen next, even if it was just going from seal to seal to progress. The combat was fun and kept making me have to think out my inputs whenever I’d get +1 cost or I’d come up against an enemy that would resist my usual combination. Sometimes it would annoyingly double accept some inputs, giving me a combo penalty and messing up my plan of inputs. I’m not sure if this was a product of playing with controller or not, but it did happen enough to be a bit annoying.
If you’re looking for a pretty good RPGMaker title, then this game should be right up your alley. It flows nicely and although it is only around 10 hours and lacks proper side quests it was quite enjoyable. Combat was enjoyable, the combo system made you really have to plan attacks out, and the translation was good. The music did start to get a bit repetitive at times though, and it would have been nice for there to be more of an incentive to go back to town more often. Regardless, Machina of the Planet Tree -Planet Ruler- is definitely an enjoyable title, and definitely one for folks who enjoy a good RPGMaker game or even just a good RPG in general.
Machina of the Planet Tree -Planet Ruler- Review Score
Machina of the Planet Tree -Planet Ruler- is available now on Steam.
I would like to thank Sekai Project for providing me with a copy to use for review.