Keizo is a one-man army who poured sweat, tears, and probably a few bottles of sake into Astlibra Revision for over a decade. This side-scrolling JRPG was built with the precision of a brain surgeon and feels like it was designed by a seasoned veteran. Keizo, bless his soul, even went the extra mile and re-translated the game so it reads smoother than a fifth of tequila on a desert highway.
Astlibra Revision is the JRPG Mount Everest. Despite resembling one, it’s about as far from a metroidvania as a tequila sunrise from a kale smoothie. Astlibra Revision is a 2D ARPG so linear it could give Euclid a hard-on, with backtracking so minimal it’d make a bloodhound blush and a story that is utterly unpredictable and engrossing.
Fans of Vanillaware games and Street Fighter will not want to miss out on Astlibra Revision, but why? What can gamers expect from this side-scrolling RPG? Find out in this Astlibra Revision review!
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Release Date: November 16, 2023
Price: $19.99 USD
In Astlibra Revision, reality’s a busted carnival funhouse, a kaleidoscope of fever dreams where your past chases you like a rabid weasel on tequila. You, some lost soul with a crow perched on your shoulder like a feathered omen of bad luck, stumbling through this pre-rendered landscape, chasing whispers of your origin like phantoms in a fog.
This is a trek through the id, a bender through the subconscious where the wallpaper bleeds and the furniture sprouts teeth. The crow, your sole companion in this circus of the damned, is a trickster, a harbinger of chaos, a feathered reminder that the universe is a cruel joke and you’re the punchline. It pecks at your sanity and whispers secrets in your ear that make the desert wind sound like Gregorian chants. In Astlibra, even the crows are existentialists.
Astlibra‘s narrative unfolds throughout the protagonists’ arduous journey. Their isolation is shattered by the momentous discovery of the first human they’ve encountered in a vast expanse of time, setting the stage for significant developments.
New bonds are forged, alliances cemented, and an artifact of immense historical significance falls into their possession. The potential to reshape the very fabric of time itself rests in their hands, demanding immense sacrifice and resilience in the face of unimaginable trials. It’s a story that is about many things and keeps the player guessing.
Astlibra presents itself as an exploration of boundless possibilities, an odyssey through the annals of time and the depths of the human experience. The story’s unfettered creativity, and immersive world where the only constant is the relentless pursuit of truth, amidst a whirlwind of unpredictable and surprisingly erotic encounters and transformative trials.
The dialogue is thicker than a frat boy’s wallet after Daddy’s check clears. Even though the utterly wild story can drag on like a slug, expect to fight the urge to mash the action button to speed things up.
Keizo poured his guts into this Astlibra, packing more content than most AAA RPGs. The main scenario stretches past the 60-hour range – that’s enough time to grow a beard worthy of Zeus himself. Compounded with the extra dungeons and post-game, Astlibra is the game that keeps on giving.
Astlibra presents itself as a hybrid, balancing the strategic depth of an RPG with the dynamic thrills of an action game. Success hinges not solely on lightning-fast reflexes, though they become ever more crucial on higher difficulties, but on an astute understanding of elemental resistances, strategic item use, and meticulous character optimization.
In the heat of the apocalypse, adrenaline pumping like a nitro-fueled jackrabbit on payday, you start with a ground combo, quick and dirty like a back alley brawl. Upward thrust, like a dragon punching at the heavens. Then it’s air slash, a whirlwind of chrome carving through the enemy’s ego. Downward thrust, a meteor of pure fury slamming them back to the dirt.
The coup de grace; a quicksilver shuffle that leaves the enemy’s weapons chasing ghosts. You’re a phantom, a goddamn wraith, weaving through their attacks like a hummingbird on a sugar high. They’re flailing in the wind, a windmill in a hurricane, while you’re already lining up the next move. Astlibra’s combat is as visceral and crunchy as the best fighting games from yesteryear.
Astlibra is a siren of a game, luring you in with its sweet song of massive anime breasts and combat highs. You’re like Indiana Jones, spelunking through dungeons the size of Texas. Each stage is a booby-trapped temple brimming with secrets, begging you to crack it wide open. You slash your way through demonic hordes, parrying goddesses, and dodge molten snot rockets from dragons the size of Volkswagens.
Astlibra Revision‘s beauty isn’t conventional. It’s a beauty that creeps up on you, a slow burn that starts with a flicker of unease and blossoms into a mesmerizing spectacle. Its graphics are a potent mixture of pre-rendered textures, stitched together with a surreal, dreamlike logic. Buildings stretch and contort, defying gravity and Euclidean geometry.
Characters move with an uncanny fluidity. It’s unsettling at first, this clash of the familiar and the alien, but soon, the discordance becomes strangely endearing. The roughness becomes hypnotic, the impossible angles a portal to a world of boundless imagination.
The sound design is a cacophony of visceral impact. Every crunch of metal on metal, every guttural roar of a monster, reverberates through your bones. Parrys resonates with a metallic clang, a satisfying feedback loop that reinforces the weight and power of your actions.
Halfway through the game, Astlibra takes a huge turn. It takes everything you love about the first act and cranks it up to eleven. New weapons unlock, each a new dance of destruction waiting to be mastered. Summons evolve, taking on monstrous forms that make your jaw drop. New bosses emerge, leviathans of hellish proportions, monstrosities born from the darkest corners. They’ll test your reflexes, your strategy, your very sanity.
The plot, already a rollercoaster of betrayal and revelation, takes a nosedive into the void. New characters are introduced, shrouded in mystery, their motives as murky as the shadows they stalk. Old faces return, bearing the scars of past battles and whispering of secrets you never knew existed. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (again, probably), you’ll find yourself muttering theories to an empty room, your brain on fire with possibilities.
When you finally reach the end, when all the threads are woven together and the final credits roll, it’s not just a sigh of relief. It’s a bittersweet ache, a longing for more of this madness. Astlibra‘s post-game isn’t just an extension; it’s a love letter to the players who dared to delve deeper, who craved the challenge, who reveled in the unexpected.
Astlibra Revision is an epic that would make Tolkien blush. At the tail end of the marathon, it throws a curveball that’d leave a Major League pitcher whimpering. It’s like Astlibra has got an infinite well of weirdness, constantly bubbling up with fresh insanity just when you think you’ve seen it all.
Astlibra Revision was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a code provided by WhisperGames. Additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy can be found here. Astlibra Revision is now available for Windows PC (via Steam) and Nintendo Switch