Arelite Core Review [PC] – A World Only A Blacksmith Can Save

Arelite Core invests players into a journey in which a master blacksmith embarks on an adventure to witness the secrets of other master blacksmiths based around the world. Played in traditional RPG fashion with gorgeously rendered sprites, established turn-based combat, unforgettable characters and a timeless musical score wrap it all tightly together.

In Arelite Core, a master blacksmith – Karden – from the small village of Arreal undertakes a journey to travel around the world to learn the secrets of his trade. From village to village the legendary blacksmith will meet and greet with other master craftsmen, accompanied by his savvy and egotistical battle buddy, Baeme. Picking up other companions throughout your journey and uncovering truths about the dangerous ancient Arelite stones, players will swiftly grasp the mechanics of this familiar looking RPG.

Traversing through dungeons may lead to hidden paths containing helpful items, as well as more monsters.
A Colorful World

As the simple story progresses about the dedicated craftsman and his cocky companion, the lurking dangers of Arelite – an ancient resource used to make absurdly powerful weapons – is now falling into threatening hands. Knowing the power of Arelite, increasing your knowledge and skills as a blacksmith is now crucial in stopping the evil forces and bringing peace back to the world.

The aesthetics of Arelite Core brings back the early years of the adventuring/RPG genre, with colourful and unique sprites, text-based narrative and an enthralling musical backdrop. Exploring, developing your characters/parties and easy-to-learn turn-based combat all provide for a thrilling ride atop the compelling story following the master blacksmith and his faithful and colourful companions.

The open areas and dungeons to roam are familiar in almost every sense of the word when compared to the 16-bit fantasy titles the gaming community remembers so fondly. Unraveling bits of lore and dialogue by talking to the wandering villagers, or bartering with charismatic business proprietors for useful items, armour and weapons are still the standard when entering new areas. Though the game doesn’t offer much difference when it comes to the traditional RPG mechanics, Arelite Core still manages to produce an immersive story full of role-playing tactics and a plethora of evil monsters.

Traditional turn-based combat mechanics bring common tactics found in a heap of other RPGs.
Classic Combat Mechanics With A Few Quirks

The turn-based combat tactics involve all of the strategic – both defensive and offensive – manoeuvres, including physical strikes, magic, healing and special moves known as Blitz. Battles break out once the player (or the enemy) has made contact, spinning players into a bout filled with a number of powerful monsters. Standard strike attacks deal damage using whichever weapon is equipped by each character. By gaining levels and upgrading your characters, new skill points and weapons will increase the strength of these strike attacks.

Other tactics like parrying and the ultra-powerful Blitz moves offer unique abilities to raise defence, recover health or deal massive blows to tough opponents. Parrying acts as a form of defence to prepare the given player a stance against any incoming attacks, but also adds a touch of health to the character as well. With every landed blow or damage taken, each characters’ blitz bar begins to fill. Every time the blitz meter fills, a point is acquired and may be used to initiate a special blitz skill. Powerful elemental attacks, magic abilities like summoning monster allies, or healing/buffing your companions in battle are only a few of the unique tactics available through the blitz system.

The world is in turmoil against a devious threat using the powerful resource, Arelite.
Strengthening Your Stance

Strengthening your party comes in a variety of useful skill and blitz upgrades. Adding skill points earned through multiple levels, three different categories known as Stances – one for each of the three combat moves – are available to increase in a manner of different ways. Increasing the Strike, Parry and Blitz skills provide a number of buffs, percentage increases in strength or defence, more effective blitz encounters or the ability to stun enemies more frequently. These skill categories act as the main form of character development giving each character a unique twist in combat and strategy.

Blitz, strike and parry moves are all vital stances in overcoming the odds, but having a strong weapon equipped can be just as important. Finding weapons happens, but more often players will find more success in forging their own weapons from resources and metals found throughout their journey. Taking gems and metals to blacksmiths will allow players to forge new weapons and armour for each character, also increasing your Smithing level in the process. The higher the Smithing level, the greater the weapons that can be forged at blacksmith shops.

Tons of foul monsters loom in the vast world of Arelite Core.
Arelite Core Review

While traditional RPGs come a dime a dozen nowadays, it’s refreshing to embark on a journey from a different perspective. Playing as the blacksmith with unyielding determination to become the best at his craft is inspiring and charming. Dragon Slumber creates a riveting tale with intuitive perks, skills and useful upgrades. Tons of vile monsters and a cast glowing with interesting dialogue and deep character traits all fit neatly inside this tightly wound RPG. An experience rivalled by so many, yes, but it still brings its own identity to the saturated genre.

Astral Traveler Review [PC] – A Thrilling Futuristic Runner

In the collective world of racing titles amongst the indie game community, the anti-gravity racer provides some of the most thrilling experiences around. Astral Traveler – the sophomore release to Dragon Slumber’s debut title, Arelite Core – combines a hectic and precise racer with intuitive platforming and arcade-like shooting.

Breakneck Speeds

In control of a highly tuned, fast-paced race craft, you begin your racing journey by entering the first of five Nebula areas, each containing a distinct list of racing sectors to complete. As you speed through tube-like courses at breakneck speeds, different obstacles and pulsar spheres lie scattered across the track.

Astral Traveler Review
Blue Pulsar Spheres are scattered throughout courses providing fuel and sudden bursts of speed.

As you race throughout the different Nebulas the courses grow significantly more challenging. Enemy aircraft float ahead of your location firing away, taking damage from your constantly depleting fuel gauge. Speeding forward using your thrusters, smashing into walls and objects or taking damage from enemy ships will all take chunks of your racing craft’s fuel away. Once your fuel is completely depleted, your craft will combust – therefore ending your current run.

Adding onto to your remaining fuel gauge is possible and Astral Traveler is sure to provide the player with plenty of opportunities to do so. When launching through the levels, the anti-gravity mechanics allows you to leap and twist your craft around the tube-like course discovering blue pulsar spheres which can be blasted in fuel points using your laser cannon. Also, destroying the various waves of enemies results in fuel points which can give the player more incentive to fire away at those pesky opponent ships.

Astral Traveler Review
The rotating level designs put your quick thinking to the test.

Enemies, The Least Of Your Problems

Aside from providing fuel/health for your racer, the blue spheres found sporadically throughout the levels may also be used for quick bursts of speed. Using the Phase technique, you’re able to gain a sudden energy boost by quickly pressing the appropriate input right before contact with the pulsar sphere. Some enemies have protective shielding and require this ability to reflect projectiles back in their direction.

Enemies are only half of the equation when it comes to derailing your current run. Many dead-ends, lava pools, rock walls and other unfortunate ways to meet your end appear excessively throughout the campaign. This gives a true platforming feel, guiding the player to continuously leap from one ledge to the next, constantly rotating around the course. The fleeting soundtrack, hectic gameplay and overwhelming odds create a futuristic racer full of heart-racing moments and tremendously relieving finishes.

Astral Traveler Review
Level themes take you through an assortment of varying Nebulas across space.

Making your way through the game becomes increasingly more difficult as the levels begin to increase in length. On top of this, more advanced obstacles and manoeuvres begin to make an appearance, giving a slight difficulty curve to your Astral experience. Kindly enough, many of the longer levels feature checkpoints about midway through the course, graciously negating any particularly frustrating areas commonly found throughout the game.

Astral Traveler combines skilled racing reflexes with the action of a third-person shooter and outlined with the timing of a challenging platformer. With tons of courses to choose from, high-octane speeds, attention-demanding action, along with an addictive light-speed experience, the game delivers.

You can start your journey through the depths of space and find Astral Traveler available now on Steam for PC.