Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling into Darkness Review

Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling into Darkness by developer Chime Corporation and publisher Spike Chunsoft Inc.Sony PlayStation 4 review written by Natasha with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

If there was ever a series that had the ability to draw out a plethora of emotions from me that teeter close to anguish, despair and hopelessness, then Made in Abyss takes first place at the podium. What's that? Never experienced this story? Well don't worry because Binary Star Falling into Darkness is about to show you exactly what the power of surviving madness can do to your mental prowess.

Strap on that spelunking gear folks, because we're about to dive deeper into the abyss.

The Story

For those unfamiliar with Made in Abyss, the story centers around Riko, an orphan girl. Riko lives in a village surrounding a large pit known as the Abyss, and she lives and breathes to become a Cave Raider like her late mother Lyza, a legendary white whistle. Being only a red whistle, Riko can only travel down to the 1st level of the depths. While scavenging for some artifacts during an excavation a fellow Cave Raider is attacked by an unexpected monster. Determined to save him Riko distracts the creature only to put herself in danger.

Thinking she has sentenced herself to death, she runs for her life only to be saved by a mysterious boy, but this boy isn't human. With no memory of who or what he is, Riko names him Reg and boldly asks him if he would help her in finding her lost mother in the depths of the Abyss, also known as the netherworld. Curious to find answers to who made him and to be helpful to Riko, Reg agrees to sneak her into the other layers of the Abyss. But remember, the further one goes into the Abyss the harder it is to come back alive.

Into the Abyss

As you begin your adventure, Binary Star will start you off in story mode. Think of it as a 4 hour long tutorial that shows you the ins and outs of the Abyss. You'll follow Riko and Reg's story from the manga/anime series and descend into the first few layers of the netherworld. During this mode you'll learn how to explore, gather and craft many different tools, remedies and weapons to help you survive.

Each area you traverse will show up on your map, which will also highlight key areas of interest and show you where the next section of the map will cross over. The further you travel downwards the longer and larger the area maps become. This also applies to the difficulty level.

In order to get to certain places on the map you'll have to do some climbing and scale the mountainside. There are climbable walls in every area and will require stamina to traverse. Reg is especially handy with his grappling arm to help descend, but when you have to go up, watch out, because the curse of the Abyss will take affect. The curse will affect your character's health and it will drop significantly, causing you to become immobile, which can be dangerous if you're trying to escape enemies. Curse of the abyss = vertigo. (Can't tell you how many times I've fallen to my doom thanks to vertigo)

Got to Fight to Survive

Binary Star is no stranger to monsters. With each area you'll be introduced to some new enemies, which you can choose to fight or hide from. If you think you're not strong enough to fight certain beasties, then maybe consider sneaking past them to continue forward.

For each monster you destroy you'll be able to forage material that they'll drop, but you only have a short window to extract resources from them before their body disappears, which can be tricky when you have to fend off multiple enemies at once, losing the opportunity to harvest materials.

While you try to battle your way through the abyss you'll come across some Active Time Events (ATEs). These little impromptu button moments were a bit confusing at first. There are no instructions, just timely placed button prompts that drove me to half of my deaths. A bit of an inconvenience, which I wish had a better explanation on how to properly time certain moments, but hey... I EVENTUALLY got by. (Pro tip, you have to wait for the ring to be INSIDE of where the green circle is)

Becoming a Cave Raider

Once you've finished the main story you'll have access to survival mode, where you can design your very own cave raider, level them up and survive the abyss at your own pace.

One of the most noticeable changes from story mode to survival mode is the difficulty. Think of story mode as a river, the further you go down the rougher the waters and you'll most likely have to maneuver your way through a couple of rapids. Now take survival mode, you see that waterfall coming at you... good luck, hope you packed some floaties because everything is out to kill you with a vengeance. If you're looking for a challenge in surviving the unknown then this route may be worth it.

In story mode you'll be set to follow a linear path, which means you'll have limited exploration. Certain areas will become accessible only during survival mode, which is a nice twist in allowing the player to explore new areas. These areas would show up on the map, but would turn you away during story mode, saving them for later in survival mode.

Gathering is everything in order to see the light of day again and as you explore you'll have to scavenge for supplies. These materials are always easy to spot thanks to the faint glow they give off, indicating that they can be gathered. For every item you collect you'll be adding the weight to your backpack, which has a weight capacity of 10,000 grams. Go over that limit and your character will have a difficult time moving.


To conclude, Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling into Darkness (man that's a mouthful) stays true to it's origins while allowing players to experience Riko's and Reg's adventure first hand.

Afterwards, you'll be able to try your hand at surviving the Abyss yourself. If you like crafting and surviving dangerous terrain, then try your hand at becoming a Cave Raider. Just be prepared to die... a lot. Trial and error, but you'll come out stronger in the end, right?

Binary Star gets my review rating of 7 out of 10. Now then, let's see if you can survive the madness of the Abyss.

Score: 7 / 10



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