The opening hours of Made in Abyss: A Binary Star Falling into Darkness struggle mightily to provide reason to struggle through the early progressions, and it will no doubt put off some players before they reach the best parts of the game. That said, this adaptation of the Made in the Abyss The manga is likely to satisfy fans, both in its retelling of the first arc and in the introduction of a new story, though it’s hard to feel invested in the latter without already knowing the source material. A solid story and intriguing world are present, but they’re often overshadowed by a confusing pacing and lackluster gameplay.
Made in Abyss: A Binary Star Falling into Darkness is an action-RPG-survival game that doesn’t really commit to any of those genres. In the world of Made in the Abyss, mankind discovered the titular Abyss and founded an entire society dedicated to exploring its seemingly endless depths, encountering primeval creatures and ancient relics along the way. To successfully descend, explore, and return, players must battle creatures with slow, unresponsive controls, as well as forage for food and crafting materials in a way that resembles a breath of the wild style survival mode.
Made in the Abyss is a game composed of two stories: the “Hello Abyss” mode and the “Deep in Abyss” mode. The former is a retelling of the manga’s first arc and introduces the characters, world, and mechanics present in the game, while the latter is an entirely original story. The main issue here is that “Hello Abyss”, despite being its own story, is really a slow-paced 5-hour tutorial that doesn’t prepare players for success in the “Deep in Abyss” mode. . The reason for this is that despite the existence of the foraging, weapon durability, and crafting systems, players can ignore most of them and complete the first story. Worse still, to get the desired experience, players have to play the “Deep in Abyss” mode which is only unlocked after completing “Hello Abyss”.
“Deep in Abyss” is where Made in the Abyss really shines, even if it’s almost like learning to replay the game. Unlike “Hello Abyss”, this mode is brutal and throws a lot more at the player, which not only helps them feel more engaging, but allows players to interact with Made in the Abyss‘ various systems in a way that makes them necessary and interconnected. It also has the advantage of telling an entirely original story that gives it the freedom to explore the characters and the world without needing to hit some manga beats. One mechanic that really shines is the Curse of the Abyss, which is a status effect that stacks each time players level up, but each layer of the Abyss causes a different affliction. Unlike “Hello Abyss”, Curse of the Abyss really impacts how the game can be played while the effects are active and forces players to be creative and resourceful in order to survive.
Made in Abyss: A Binary Star Falling into Darkness is a good game marred by poor pacing and an inability to blend gameplay mechanics with the story from which they stem. If this game was purely the “Deep in Abyss” mode, it would be a great action-survival game with elements of RPG mechanics and even a bit of horror mixed in. However, the contrast between the game modes in both gameplay and presentation is shocking and leaves one wondering why “Hello Abyss” had to be a condition to access what feels like the “real game”.
Made in Abyss: A Binary Star Falling into Darkness is now available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and PC (Steam). Screen Rant received a Nintendo Switch download code for the purposes of this review.