In a year full of great RPGs, Fuga: Melodies of Steel flew under the radar. Here’s why CyberConnect2’s little-known gem deserves more attention.
With such spectacular successes as the.To hack series, the most sold Naruto: Ultimate Ninja franchise and 2020s Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, it’s safe to say that CyberConnect2 knows its way into game development. Apart from these well-received games, CyberConnect2 has also created lesser-known titles like the Little Bronx Tail series, which focuses on colorful anthropomorphic animal characters set in a steampunk world. The first two games, Concerto for tail and Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, were 3D action platforms that received positive reviews, but ultimately failed to garner the sales required to be considered successes.
Despite the lukewarm sales, CyberConnect2 did not want to leave its original series and released a third installment titled Fuga: Melodies of steel. Unlike its predecessors, Fuga is a turn-based RPG instead of an action platformer – and a good one at that. While it wasn’t a financial success, the game’s well-crafted plot, stunning character designs, and beautiful music deserve a lot more attention than they’ve received.
Fuga: melodies of steel takes place in a world filled with anthropomorphic cats and dogs in an era reminiscent of WWII. The story begins in a small village attacked by the Berman Empire, a fascist dog regime. The small town is home to 11 surviving children, who find a powerful tank called Taranis, which appears to be a relic of an ancient, advanced civilization. By working together and using the power of Taranis, children can repel Berman’s onslaught and save their families from captivity.
Which makes Fuga: melodies of steel effective is how it tells a dark story based on real-life tragedy while giving players moments to breathe with heartwarming kindness. The entire cast is charming and adorably designed, making them instantly endearing. Between battles, the mega tank acts as a second home where the player can interact with the characters to learn more about them.
These moments give players a glimpse into the lives of the characters before Berman’s invasion. It’s also a good idea that CyberConnect2 has hired French voice actors to play the characters, as the story is so heavily inspired by the French countryside during WWII. In addition, Fuga is not afraid to address the dark and grave themes of genocide, racism and the cruelty of war. Underneath the fine art of the game and its often cutesy vibe, there is a powerful story of hope in the midst of tragedy.
Fuga: melodies of steel cleverly mixes its gameplay and story to develop its themes of tragedy and hope. During the game’s turn-based battles, a chosen child animal will take control of a specific aspect of the Taranis. For example, one will control a cannon and another will control machine guns. Each child brings their own strengths and weaknesses to combat, which can either turn the tide of a fight or lead to defeat.
Some of the enemies in the game are very tough, but when the health is low enough, the Taranis has one final weapon: the Soul Cannon. It can take out pretty much any enemy in one hit, but at an insanely high cost – you’ll have to sacrifice the life of one of the kids to use it. Fuga gives players the difficult choice of sacrificing one child to allow everyone else to continue to show even more clearly what the cost of war is and how harsh and cruel it is, especially for children. The game even has different endings depending on which children survive until the end of the game. Fortunately, with enough strategy and patience, players can avoid such a tragedy and keep everyone alive.
Although it hasn’t attracted much attention, Fuga: melodies of steel was one of the best games of 2021. Between its beautiful music, a touching story about friendship and hope, and a simple yet rewarding game system, this is a memorable RPG that’s as heartbreaking as it is adorable. Although the Little Bronx Tail the series will probably never reach the heights of popularity it deserves, Fuga: melodies of steel clearly indicates that it deserves to continue thanks to the incredible and powerful work of CyberConnect2.
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