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[Nintendo Switch] ASTLIBRA Revision Review

[Nintendo Switch] ASTLIBRA Revision Review
EdEN
  • On December 18, 2023

ASTLIBRA Revision from Whisper Games and KEIZO is a solid fantasy-themed 2D action RPG on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our ASTLIBRA Revision review!

 

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ASTLIBRA Revision from Whisper Games and KEIZO is a solid fantasy-themed 2D action RPG on Nintendo Switch. It’s a project that indie KEIZO has been working on for over 15 years now, releasing bits and pieces of it as different chapters over the years, all leading up to this new, revamped version now known as ASTLIBRA Revision. This adventure pays homage to old-school games such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night with some nods to the old-school entries in the Ys series. This one is certainly a hardcore experience, but worry not, since it offers several difficulty settings so that gamers of all skill levels can take it for a spin – more on this in a bit.

Your journey begins during what seems to be a dream sequence – or more like a nightmare. A boy and a girl are being chased by a pack of monsters, and they run into a huge dragon-like entity that roars with might. The boy then wakes up in a house he has no recollection of. He’s so tired that he ends up collapsing in bed. The next day, he finds the girl’s ribbon near the river. Upon returning to the house, he notices a crow has managed to get in. Oh, and then the crow starts talking to you!

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It was this particular talking crow who found you unconscious and rescued you before it was too late. It seems the crow has no recollection of anything that happened before it woke up on the field next to the boy. The boy mentions that his hometown was attacked by demons, and he and his friend managed to flee… but that’s about all he can remember right now. You venture into the woods on your own to try and find your friend but are too weak to continue and end up collapsing in the heavy rain. The crow once again saves you and brings you back to the cabin, where you rest to heal your wounds.

The game’s introduction story sequence is a long one, so you won’t be taking on much of the 2D action during that initial segment. Be sure to have patience and take in the overall premise and story because the boy and the crow are pretty much isolated from the rest of the world! They will explore for years – eight years, to be precise – and won’t find anyone else for a while. The young boy grows into a young man, a new adventurer of sorts. It’s not until you find another traveler that your quest will properly begin…

You can play through ASTLIBRA Revision by choosing one of six difficulty settings, with the last one seemingly being locked at the start due to how punishing it can be. The difficulties you can choose from are Easy, Ligh, Normal, Difficult, Hell, and Impossible – that last one is the setting that will be locked from you. Choose Easy, and you won’t have much trouble progressing through the game as you enjoy the story. Go for Light, and you’ll be on a more casual journey that won’t overwhelm you.

 

Choose Normal if you want to take on the standard experience with battles that will test your skills. Difficult is a challenging option in which enemies will be more aggressive and will deal more damage, but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts by receiving more experience points, gold, and Force. Hell does its name justice since enemies will punish you for any mistake that you make. On top of that, the screen won’t pause if you use an item or a skill. At least you’ll get a ton of extra experience points, gold, and Force! The last one is the Impossible difficulty setting, which is actually not locked from you… just slightly greyed out. If you go for Impossible, you’ll need to know the game front to back so that you can survive the punishment up ahead. Are you up for it?

Once you’re ready to go, you’ll control your character with the left analog stick or the D-Pad as he jumps – and eventually double jumps – with the B button and attacks with the Y button. You can search and interact with the A button. As you attack enemies, you’ll build up ST on the bar at the bottom of the screen. ST can be used to activate skills with the X button and a combination of directions on the D-Pad, depending on what skills you have equipped your character with. You can also dash by pressing and holding down the A button. Once you get a shield and equip it, you’ll be able to perform a shield bash by pressing down on the left analog stick or the D-Pad and the Y button. This is an ability that has a cooldown to keep you from using it over and over again.

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As you defeat enemies and bosses, you will gain experience points, which will eventually allow you to level up your character. You’ll be provided with crystals, which can be distributed between 7 different stats to increase their values: HP, ATC, DEF, MAG, SPD, LUC, and ADA. As expected, HP will increase your max hit points so that you can receive more damage before being defeated. Increase ATC to boost the damage inflicted on enemies while attacking them with a weapon. Increase DEF to lower how much damage you receive.

If you increase your MAG stat, you’ll be able to boost magic power, which has an effect on possession and ranged magical attacks. Increasing your SPD will boost your agility, which will have an effect on attack speed, dash range, and combos. If you increase your character’s LUC, you will see a boost to overall luck, which will make it so that you obtain more coins, experience points, and other drops from enemies. The last one is ADA, which will increase your adaptability. This is good for increasing dive duration, underwater speed, and resistances.

 

Adding items to your inventory is a must if you want to survive in the world of ASTLIBRA Revision. You can, for example, add some berries to your stash, which you can then use from the menu to heal some of your wounds. Do know that there’s a slight delay between when you select to use an item and when it goes into effect. This means that if you’re attacked and hit before an item’s effect takes place, then the item’s use will be canceled. You can also add items to shortcut panels for easier and faster use. You can press the L button to bring up the panels and then select the item to use, pressing the A button to confirm.

Since you start your adventure with only a large stick as your main weapon – which is provided by Karon, the talking crow, after you run into some slimes – you’ll have to make the most of your hard-earned gold coins at the shops you’ll find. Sure, the large stick is good for getting the job done early on, but if you don’t upgrade your equipment, you’ll be in a whole world of trouble once you explore the cave! You could purchase a club that is good for bashing enemies. Or maybe you’d like a bone sword to slash at enemies. There’s also the option of purchasing other pieces of equipment to boost your protection. A larger and sturdier shield will soon be a must. You could also get yourself some leather armor to protect you from stronger hits that would otherwise deal a lot of damage.

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Oh, and you’ll also need to find the right materials for the shop’s owner to craft each item! These are not just regular materials. No, they’re magical materials you’ll have to find! They’re sometimes dropped by demons after being defeated. You’re also going to need some ore, which can be obtained from mining points. But just finding a mining point won’t be enough since you’ll need to have a pickaxe on you to be able to obtain the ore. Since a pickaxe will wear out with use, you should buy several of them at a tool shop so that you’re always ready.

Something else to keep in mind is that as you defeat enemies, you’ll collect colorful drops that contain an enemy’s Force. What these do is act as another resource for you to spend at your character’s skill tree! Karon mentions that it read in a book that if humans consume the colorful drops, it will boost their physical abilities, so you have to try it, right? Visit the Grow section from the menu and consume the drops to increase your max HP, or increase ATC, DEF, MAG, SPD, LUC, and ADA. That way, between unlocking boosts in the skill tree and allocating crystals when leveling up, you’ll be ready to take on the more challenging monsters up ahead.

 

ASTLIBRA Revision from Whisper Games and KEIZO is a solid fantasy-themed 2D action RPG on Nintendo Switch. As the work of a single indie dev who took 15+ years to complete it, it’s certainly something that manages to stand out on Nintendo’s console, thanks to its great-looking art style, solid gameplay mechanics, and the huge amount of content on offer. It’s a hardcore experience, but thanks to the different difficulty settings on offers, gamers of all skill levels can take this one for a spin. ASTLIBRA Revision is out on Nintendo Switch with a $24.99 price tag.

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Disclaimer
This ASTLIBRA Revision review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Whisper Games.

Review Overview

15 years in the making and worth the wait
8.5
8.5

Rating