Synced review

by on September 18, 2023
Release Date

September 8, 2023


Synced is a game a little at odds with itself. On the one hand it offers a really exciting gameplay loop that sees you fighting alongside huge nanomachines with gameplay reminiscent of the excellent Astral Chain. But on the other hand its static, looter-shooter world never changes or evolves based on anything you do. Because there’s no real campaign story to follow, a lot of it just feels like you’re going through the motions. But they’re pretty good motions, mind.

In Synced, the world has been overrun and decimated by nanomachines. Humanity is all but gone, with the rich and privileged buggering off to live in floating cities and leaving the rest to fend for themselves. As a Runner, your job is to head out into the remains of the world and look for information, data, resources and – the intro movie promises – answers. The actual answers are pretty light on the ground though. There’s plenty of lore to be found, but you’re never building towards taking back the Earth or defeating a big bad nemesis. You’re just going out and shooting things, looting things and then escaping.

Synced review

There’s a good selection of Runners with more to unlock as you play. A battle pass system keeps you grinding for cosmetics, upgrades, character and weapon skins, and you can spend currency you’ve earned or purchased at a central hub where you can interact with and see the other Runner characters, which is a nice touch. Each Runner has their own core skills, but they all move and control the same.

What brings Synced to life is the ability to defeat and then subjugate larger nanos. By wearing them down with sustained damage, you’ll be able to use your special knife to sync with them. From then on, you can summon them to fight for you and buff you until the end of the run. There are four types of Nano, and the ones you sync with will morph into the one you chose each time. They kind of missed a trick here not allowing you to go out and hunt down different Nanos Pokemon-style to build a menagerie of them.

Instead the combination of Runners and Nanos never really feels like it makes all that much difference, especially in group runs where there’s multiple types on the field anyway. It’s not a game that inspires tactical play, instead going for balls-out action that feels oddly refreshing. Each run sees the world state slowly deteriorating as more and more Nanos enter the fray, with a countdown always ticking towards a wipe. You need to get in, nail the objective (usually killing a big Nano node or boss) and then get out. It’s not open world, so there’s little in the way of exploration, and that keeps the pace fast and rewarding.

Synced review

You’ll earn Radia from killing enemies and destroying certain items, which feeds into a Hades-style upgrade system each run. Finding special kiosks allows you to spend Radia on special buffs that often boost your Nano abilities or add game hanging effects to your weapons. For example, once you unlock the ones that drop explosives on kills or make the recently killed Nanos explode anyway, you’re going to tear through most of the enemy hordes. Again, the emphasis here is on fun. Synced doesn’t really try to do anything super clever, and that might be one of its greatest strengths. There’s no pretentiousness here; you just shoot and loot and have fun.

It’s a very decent looking game, too. While there isn’t much variety in environments and enemy design, it manages to maintain a palpable atmosphere of a destroyed world on the brink of total collapse. There’s not much dialogue to reinforce it, but the blasted cityscapes you fight through tell visual stories of their own.

Weapons feel damn good, too. It doesn’t quite have the Remnant 2 third-person feel, but each weapon has reassuring, satisfying feedback as you mow through the hordes. The shotguns in particular pack a really comforting punch when anything is dumb enough to get close. Ultimately, though, Synced will need to bring out new game modes and new Nanos in fairly quick succession if it wants to stay competitive and hold public interest. There’s plenty to grind on the pass, but even that can start to feel a little stale without variety.

Synced review

For many, the multiplayer will give it legs. Pitching several teams of Runners against one another to fight for resources, against the clock, with swarms of Nanos attacking and the same escalating difficulty is nothing short of frantic genius. Gameplay becomes more tense, more emergent, and certainly more entertaining. Played with people you know all communicating and strategizing, all deploying Nanos against one another, Synced is elevated to a genuinely unique experience.

Synced combines simple storytelling with effective shooting, interesting powers and a fantastic, almost roguelite, upgrade system, and absolutely has the potential to dominate the live service space with regular updates and events. It may not necessarily do anything super new, but it presents an addictive, satisfying alternative to the wash of hero shooters and roguelikes out there.


Great shooting
Fun gameplay loop
Controlling Nanos feels great


Needs more variety
Storytelling is a little flat

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Synced combines simple storytelling with effective shooting, interesting powers and a fantastic, almost roguelite, upgrade system.