Astlibra‘s story, while familiar, is engaging and sprinkled with enough twists to maintain interest. It’s full of comforting tropes, but players will often be surprised at twists throughout. This is exactly how the gameplay is as well, leading players through familiar action combat but sprinkling it with delightful RPG elements that keep it engaging.
Players follow a protagonist whose journey begins with the usual JRPG tragedy – the loss of his childhood friend after a demon attack. Astlibra takes it a step further and mysteriously removes all humans from Earth. While the plot may tread familiar ground, it’s the surprises along the way that keep the narrative fresh. However, the game’s dialogue suffers somewhat, possibly due to translation issues, and there’s a noticeable level of fan service that might not appeal to all players. This is all too common in games with anime aesthetics, but some will, of course, vibe with it.
The gameplay in Astlibra shines with its 2D action combat that emphasizes combos and character customization. The depth of character builds is a standout feature, offering numerous ways to tweak characters and earn abilities through gear. This customization makes each playthrough feel unique and encourages experimentation, though this can occasionally be daunting when making significant decisions regarding skill trees and equipment crafting. Combat is satisfying and responsive, with each strike carrying a sense of weight and impact. The magic system and the use of a magic gauge add another layer to combat, enhancing the RPG elements of the game.
In terms of presentation, Astlibra presents a solid yet uneven artistic vision. The monster and boss designs are a highlight, with creative and memorable designs. However, the environments, while conceptually interesting, lack depth, likely a consequence of the game’s budget constraints. Despite these limitations, the game maintains a coherent artistic direction that suits its budget. The music is a high point, offering an excellent soundtrack with memorable epic and emotional scores that linger with players long after the game ends.
Astlibra successfully marries RPG depth with engaging action combat, wrapped in a familiar yet captivating story. While it has its flaws, such as inconsistent visuals and a sometimes off-putting level of fan service, the game’s strengths in character customization, combat mechanics, and memorable music make it a worthwhile experience for fans of the genre.
Astlibra successfully marries RPG depth with engaging action combat, wrapped in a familiar yet captivating story.