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Video Game / Soaring Machinariae

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Soaring Machinariae (天翔のマーキナリエ) is an Action RPG developed by Kensei using RPG Maker MV. Gotcha Gotcha Games localized and published it onto Steam in 2021.

Iris is a Machinariae who serves the automaton handler, Maria. The two seek the legend of the Tower of Desire, which requires them to undergo several difficult trials. At the same time, they must compete with Mel and Orchis, a rival handler and Machinariae pair. Additionally, one of the locals, the Seer, asks them to look for any clues about her father, who went missing while attempting the trials. Unfortunately, a mysterious Machinariae stands in the way of anyone attempting to complete the trials.

Can be downloaded from Steam or itch.

This game contains examples of:

  • Big Bad: The Desire System of the Tower of Desire is revealed to grant wishes by manipulating cause and effect. Unfortunately, the trials are designed to be deadly so that the energy of the dead are used to fuel the successful wishes. The very legend of tower itself is bait designed to lure people to die for the sake of fueling the Desire System. The system itself is also sentient and tries to kill the protagonists when they refuse to make a wish.
  • Cap:
    • Stat-buffing items have a cap of two each.
    • Revitalizing Water has a cap of 3
    • Healing Waters, Energy Pots, and Return Feathers have a cap of five each.
    • Only one repair kit can be held at a time.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: After the second fight with the Gravekeeper, Iris states that she can sense a deep sadness from the mysterious Machinariae. The Gravekeeper is Rosa, a Machinariae whose handler suffered fatal injuries right before reaching the top of the Tower of Desire. The handler wished for Rosa to gain the power to act without him, but she went mad without his support. After learning the truth behind the Desire System's Equivalent Exchange, she wants to destroy the system by driving off or killing anyone who tries to seek a wish from it.
  • Defend Command: Averted. Defending is automatically performed if Iris is standing perfectly still. This will reduce damage and prevent the enemy's attack from inflicting ailments.
  • Difficulty Levels: Every increase in difficulty reduces EXP and gold gain, makes guarding less effective, and increases the requirements for stat boosts. Hard and Expert prevent healing at save points and passive EN regen. Expert doubles non-guarded damage to Iris, but provides the Free Buster item, which prevents direct comboing into an Energy Burst in exchange for allowing the Energy Burst to be performed manually.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Every time a dungeon boss is defeated, all enemies get stronger. This is to allow the player to beat the dungeons in any order they want while maintaining a level of challenge.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Fire is good against Metal, Metal is good against Wood, Wood is good against Earth, Earth is good against Water, and Water is good against Fire. Every time Iris beats a dungeon, she gets a core item that allows her to change her Energy Burst at the cost of giving her an elemental weakness. Since the five main dungeons are elementally themed, the first dungeon the player completes determines the optimal order to beat the rest of the dungeons.
  • Enemy Summoner:
    • The giant plants in the Chanting Woods can summon bees to attack. However, the bees disappear after flying offscreen.
    • The giant knights in the Tower of Desire can summon sword enemies, which also remove themselves from the field like the bees.
    • The mirror enemies in the Tower of Desire can summon weak copies of Iris as enemies. However, if the mirror is killed before the clones, the clones will still remain on the field as regular enemies.
  • Equivalent Exchange: The Tower of Desire's wishing system will grant the wish of the winner, but it also absorbs the energy of anyone who dies in the trials to fuel the wish.
  • Evil Knockoff:
    • For the second boss of the Tower of Desire, Iris has to fight a copy of Orchis. Orchis herself has to fight a fake Iris offscreen.
    • The Tower of Desire has mirrors that can endlessly summon weaker copies of Iris.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: The Tower of Desire is simply defined by its ability to grant wishes at the cost of the wish energy of the losers of the trial. The game doesn't explain why such a system was created and the system only exists as an endgame obstacle for Maria and Iris.
  • Hard Mode Perks: While Expert makes enemies hit harder, it also provides the Free Buster item, which prevents the normal attack chain from comboing into an Energy Burst while making it so that the Energy Burst can be activated manually through the item usage button. This is actually advantageous in some ways, since it prevents the player from accidentally wasting EN with button mashing. It also makes it easier to kill enemies that are resistant to normal attacks.
  • Harder Than Hard: Expert mode shares Hard mode's EXP and gold rate, nullification of EN regen and save point HP restoration, and reduced guarding effectiveness. However, it also doubles non-guarded damage to Iris and prevents the difficulty from being changed for the rest of the playthrough.
  • Healing Checkpoint: Checkpoints heal Iris's EN. They also heal HP on Easy and Normal modes, but not on higher difficulties.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In response to Maria's jealousy of her and attempt to drop out of school, Mel punches the former and points out that she had to rely on hard work rather than genius to succeed in automaton school and that it's insulting to her to just assume she's talented. Maria is stunned silent and decides to stay in school, showing that she realizes Mel has a point.
  • Jump Physics: The game has a jump button, and at the highest point of the jump, Iris can avoid certain attacks. However, Iris cannot jump over enemies.
  • No Name Given: The island itself doesn't have a name, and neither does the only town on the island.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Many maps have bottomless pits, but they do minor damage rather than instantly killing Iris. Iris's attack animations are unable to make her fall into a pit in order to make it easier to fight flying enemies. However, enemies cannot be pushed into bottomless pits, including the grounded ones.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Mel and Orchis are also trying to complete the island's trial, and they succeed in obtaining all five keys needed to enter the Tower of Desire, which means they also fought the five elemental bosses. After the second boss of the Tower of Desire, Orchis narrowly defeats a copy of Iris.
  • Point Build System: Soul Crystals can be spent to open nodes on a grid, which increase Iris's stats and sword range. Unlike most grid systems, this one doesn't grant her additional skills.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Although Mel and Orchis manage to defeat a copy of Iris, Orchis took too much damage to continue climbing the tower. Thus, the duo has no choice but to give up on the tower and return home empty-handed.
  • Random Drop: Normal enemies have a chance of dropping HP orbs, EN orbs, or gems.
  • Recurring Boss: The Gravekeeper is fought three times in the game. The first two battles are merely warnings to leave the island, but she gets serious in the third battle, since this is her last chance to prevent them from making a wish in the Tower of Desire.
  • The Rival: Mel is an Automaton handler who looks down on Maria for being less skilled. Unfortunately for Maria, Mel is taking on the island's trials at the same time as her.
  • Rivals Team Up: The second segment of the Tower of Desire requires two handler-automaton pairs to go through parallel paths, where they have to activate paths for each other. Maria/Iris and Mel/Orchis end up cooperating on the opposing paths, despite their longstanding rivalry. The trial then throws in a twist where each combatant has to face a copy of the one who helped them.
  • Robot Girl: All of the automatons shown in the game are female, including the protagonist Iris.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Maria worries that she falls into this trope, due to being a mediocre Automaton handler who is partnered with Iris, a top-class Machinariae. She doesn't allow Iris to use her Energy Burst at first because she's afraid her potentially flawed maintenance of Iris could cause the technique to backfire.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Maria and Mel became friends after the former saved the latter from an out-of-control automaton, but their friendship became strained after Mel started outperforming Maria as an automaton handler. During a mission, the two got into an argument about sparing the rest of the enemies, and Mel insulted Maria's father, straining their relationship further. However, when Maria tries to drop out of handler school, Mel goads her into staying, showing that she still cares about Maria. While competing to clear the Tower of Desire, the two still show grudging respect towards each other for getting so far in the trials.