ASTLIBRA Revision Review
When I play games on the Nintendo Switch, they are usually bright and colourful Mario or indie titles, so I don’t normally expect super impressive, realistic-looking games. I can honestly say that ASTLIBRA Revision, a game that used to be only on the PC, surprised me. I thought the difference between the versions would be huge, but I am happy to say that this is not the case.
The tale begins with a cinematic movie showing the main protagonist of the game, as a child and his friend, as children, running from monsters attacking the village. The two of them get knocked out and separated from each other. The hero wakes up in a cabin without his friend, but he is not alone; there is a talking crow who claims to be the one responsible for saving him.
ASTLIBRA Revision is a 2D side-scrolling action RPG that has you exploring a dangerous and vast world across multiple chapters. The game features a simple gameplay loop where you will visit a location that usually consists of five to 10 screens as you fight the enemies of that area, which in the beginning involves fighting a group of slimes. After that, there will be a massive boss — so large that it takes up over half of your screen — to defeat. Once you are victorious, the story will progress, sending you to a new location.
Defeating the small enemies you encounter will build up your stamina, giving you the power to use Possession Skills and XP to gain levels and strengthen your character. The fights require a tonne of slashing and quick reflexes to avoid taking damage. Early in the game, you will acquire a shield that you can use to block incoming blows and protect yourself. When you earn enough stamina, the Possession Skill that you can use is powerful enough to disintegrate any object that is in your way, including doing massive damage to the bosses that you have to face.
The story isn’t as simple as it may seem; as the characters grow and explore more of the world, the plot keeps twisting, and themes like time travel are introduced. Characters and other elements of the story are turned into game mechanics, like how Karon isn’t just a crow sidekick but a set of special skills that you use during your journey that can always be changed and switched to whatever you need for the circumstances that you find yourself in.
There are a lot of customisations available in this game, so much so that it feels a bit overwhelming at first. The game recommends that you try out the demo to learn the battle system before jumping in to learn all the mechanics. At first, you will be fighting using a sturdy stick, which, surprisingly, is quite effective against the slimes you will be facing. Fortunately, you won’t be stuck with it for long as you will acquire new weapons, armour, shields, and accessories as you earn gold and items from defeating the enemies.
Swinging your weapon around isn’t the only way you will be attacking; you can hit the required buttons to make a combo, or an auto-rapid fire option lets you chain a series of normal attacks. The controls are very responsive and quite easy to learn; even if you can’t remember what each button combination does, you are sure to produce a useful attack. If playing with an Xbox-style controller, just hold X and a direction on the d-pad. For example X then Up and Up, will perform a fire skill; X then Down and Down produces a water attack and so on.
Once you get to your first village, you will learn that you will make weapons using materials that you find while exploring the area. You aren’t able to just walk into the store and buy something off the shelf; instead, get the supplies you need for the sword or other item you want and pay the fee to assemble it. Weapons aren’t the only thing you need to collect supplies for; there are also special items like torches or keys to open treasure chests that you encounter. Once you have a recipe, you can use a key mould and lumps of clay you find from mining to create the special item. If, at any point, you have items that can be broken down into their base components, you can use dissolve to break them into those individual items.
ASTLIBRA Revision has six different difficulty selections to choose from, Easy, which concentrates more on the story; Normal, which has moderately challenging battles; or Hell, which is a dangerous mode, even for hardcore gamers. So, no matter your experience with games like this, you will surely find something that will work for you. This is not a short game that you will have completed in a couple of sittings; it will probably take at least 50 hours to get through, obviously depending on how many side quests you do and how long it takes to defeat bosses in your way.
There is so much more that I could talk about, but you are better off experiencing it for yourself by checking out the game. The only real issues that I found were, firstly, that sometimes the music would loop funny as it didn’t cut off at a good spot. This isn’t a huge issue, but it may get a bit annoying if you are in an area trying to grind and level up your character. Either way, it was epic-sounding and fit the elements of the story very well. The other issue was that the pacing felt really slow at times and it felt like it took way too much time to get to the next area and it would drag a bit.
It is obvious that a lot of love and passion went into ASTLIBRA Revision. It is a worthy addition to your Switch library if you love action RPGs with a deep story and loads of customisations. This is a title for you for a fraction of the cost of the bigger titles out there.
ASTLIBRA Revision (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
ASTLIBRA Revision is a great port of the PC title that looks gorgeous on the Switch. It has a deep story with loads of customisations to enjoy.