February 4, 2023

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or a game by its sprites, but I admit I initially overlooked Astlibra Revision when it came out in mid-October. The Steam page for this platformer action JRPG from a Japanese solo developer has over fifteen years of development time, but looks like some kind of crazy fantasy clipart collage. Even the catchiest screenshots are a confusing clash of mismatched art from different sources, poorly cropped images, and poorly tiled terrain.

And yet it now has over 5,000 Steam user reviews, almost all of them positive. Hundreds more are coming in every day – huge numbers for an unknown Japanese indie. Between the buzz in the store and a few people I follow on Twitter singing his praises, I took the plunge. I’ve now played about forty hours, enjoyed them all, and I’m not done yet, because it’s an almost endless source of surprises.

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