Libra: Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom (Switch)
Release Date: January 7, 2021
File Size: 355MB
Click here to view on the Nintendo eShop.
Libra is our “first impressions” series. These are generally spoiler free, but may reveal some base plot points and mechanic details.
KEMCO: a name that either brings forth excitement or frustration (or perhaps a mixture of both). I have never dove into the huge library of games that KEMCO has published, mainly due to other games capturing my attention first. But since I am weak when it comes to anime art styles that appeal to me, the styling for Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom caught my interest immediately. Being made aware that this game is the least KEMCO-like game in the publisher’s library, I am nonetheless excited to finally dip my toes into the dark side that is a KEMCO title.
You play as a young protagonist who’s father has been sent off to war and unfortunately, never comes back. As the court blacksmith, your father owned a blacksmith known as The Iron Bird. Determined not to let your father’s legacy die, you decide to pick up a hammer and start learning how to become a blacksmith yourself. With the help of your childhood friend, Valeria, and the strange fairy inhabiting the blacksmith known as Pitta, you work your hardest to build up the shop.
The gameplay loop is very simple and addicting to fall into. You explore dungeons to collect supplies that you need to make items back in your workshop, which can then be put up for sale. You can explore one dungeon per in-game day. The day ends when you set up shop and approve the items that you wish to put up for sale. When you successfully sell an item, you earn both gold and customer satisfaction, both which play a part in increasing your store rank. You can play around with your prices when it comes to selling your items. Selling an item at a discount earns you less money, but more customer satisfaction, and vice versa.
Battle encounters are not random, with monster silhouettes appearing in the dungeon instead. They are relatively easy to escape, as after a certain distance, they will stop pursuing you. When it comes to combat, those familiar with Rideon’s other games (mainly the Mercenaries titles) will be familiar with the general gist. You can attack, use your skills, use an item, defend, or retreat. Your skills will all start off at level one, but you can upgrade them using gold.
You have the choice of creating your own team of adventurers that will be with you for the remainder of the game. On one hand, this does cut down on the amount of redundant characters that could have possibly been introduced in the game. But on the other hand, that means that outside of battles, your team of characters don’t really matter much. You can give these characters any of the existing classes that you have, so as you progress through the story, you can have more interesting team layouts.
To progress the story forward, you have to both level up your store level as well as complete mission requests from the Guild. There are both main story requests and side requests. You don’t have to complete the side requests, but they are a great source of gold outside of your shop. The mission types tend to be either collecting certain materials, killing monsters, or creating weapons/armor/tools for people. And while that’s fine, it can be repetitive for those looking for more of a variety with main quest and side quest options.
- Addicting gameplay loop.
- Nice art style and design.
- UI can be a bit overwhelming in spots.
- Gameplay can feel tedious after a few dungeon runs.
Overall, I am enjoying my time with the game, although it is currently falling in the camp of being more of a side game than a main game. I am excited to continue on with the game however, so any hopes that I have currently haven’t been squashed just yet. I feel as though things have settled into a nice groove with the gameplay, so I’m curious to see what exactly will be done with the story and characters. I’m not holding my breath for much, but that’s to be expected.