Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom is a fantasy RPG created by Rideon, Inc and published by KEMCO. You take the role of Blacksmith’s son who must create and honor his father’s legacy by becoming a Blacksmith of his own right. This game excels at a satisfying and customizable gameplay loop of combat, story, and item creation. Similar to games like Moonlighter or Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop!?, it’s an RPG that offers a constant feeling of progression while also allowing freedom in creating your approach to combat.
Build Your Fame
Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom(BSK) starts off with the player’s character being a son of a blacksmith. It is up to you to build and develop your professions to renowned status in order to go on difficult areas to gather and harvest rarer materials. Learning how to maximize your approach and team dynamics when playing the game is key while also keeping up with your progression around the town. It’s a heartwarming tale with a select amount of characters you interact with. BSK delivers on a great loop of gathering, creating, trading, leveling, and combat flowing each section into each other. You seamlessly go from one activity to another while always knowing that you’re growing steadily stronger because all these menu systems build and help each other.
Take for example our Guild Master Aegon and Matron Carmela; the tavern owner. Aegon sets you on the path of becoming a stronger adventurer to gather better resources which in turn improves your ability to craft weapons and armor. He sends you on various kinds of quests that mostly rely on two things, monster-killing or item creation. Your rewards for completing tasks will have various effects but most importantly it reinforces the player to always be crafting better gear that unlocks harder and stronger enemies. While Carmela helps feeds your team with additional exp points with every meal that helps give your character additional levels since combat is more focused on gathering supplies than leveling characters. Every spot in the town helps develop your character or helps provide additional bonuses to creating a better blacksmith shop.
How’s your Menu Game?
BSK is easy to understand once you get the flow of what to do each passing day. You talk to Aegon who tells you of your father’s exploit and set you on the path of being an adventurer by completing quests in the dungeon. Visit the tavern and chat with the beautiful bar owner who helps level your character by always feeding them to gain extra experience points. You meet a shopkeeper who keeps you supplied with potions and other consumables for battle or techniques for forging new items. Once you understand how every piece of the game’s various locations fit, you start to develop your party and tackle various areas with powerful enemies. Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom becomes repetitious in a good way while also spending an exuberate amount of time managing through various menus.
BSK is an RPG but with tons of menus, you have to navigate through. It is a double edge sword but never truly detracting from the enjoyment when playing. You have a menu for your party, a menu for formations, skills, passive skills, weapons, armor, items, materials, a secret book of challenges that rewards prizes, and so on. Again, while it is cumbersome to navigate each menu it is rewarding for a min-max playstyle. You have a lot of agency and customization of how you want to develop your party and tons of resources to do it with. Blacksmithing creates opportunities to complete quests but also providing a steady flow of powerful armaments while also turning a huge profit. This allows you to buy as many potions, skills, Orbs to customize your party while also progressing the story.
Everything you do builds on each other, every activity and quest will make you stronger or offer new recipes to strengthen your Blacksmithing skills. If you’ve played several RPG games, some games will often throw in certain mechanics or gameplay options that you ignore because fundamentally it doesn’t matter in the long run. BSK is a game that each doesn’t include useless gameplay mechanics and loops, everything has a purpose.
Grids and Elementalists
Combat is based on a grid system of monster positioning and party formations. BSK still offers enough strategic planning and monster variety to keep it fresh with each new dungeon unlocked. The game offers about 5 different classes, to begin with, while adding new classes being added as your progress each rank of your blacksmithing shop and story. Each new class offers different abilities and buffs and allows for a mix/match approach to developing different teams. You are not limited by leveling each class either or trying to learn abilities at a glacial pace. Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom’s approach to combat is less about leveling but proper management of your party.
You make tons of money blacksmithing to develop your characters, weapons, and abilities. This game reinforces the loop of creating positive feedback and experimentation. Which is one of the game’s biggest strength by allowing you to develop each party member how you see fit. You can learn skills by purchasing them, change classes while retaining everything you’ve learned, and allowed to mix classes that complement well or experiment with unique combinations. Combat is engaging while also hard enough to break a player’s reliance on one move or character. I found myself often switching classes and the positions of my character to match the challenges ahead.
Combat, while challenging and satisfying, is a keystone in the loop of fighting, smithing, selling, and upgrading. You create more powerful gear, develop new combinations and buy additional skills to create a powerful team. While questing or completing certain objectives, you also unlock Formations that grant various buffs towards different playstyles. Combat and dungeon exploration has to be efficient and figuring out the best formation, classes, and items to bring help to maximize monster drops and resources that feed into your blacksmithing. The game makes this clear early on, some bosses will force you to adopt different strategies and party dynamics in order to progress. BSK is part tactical RPG with a grind base system while also adding the fun of managing resources and creating items.
I Don’t Like Sand…
My main criticism of this game is the art direction. Major story characters are well designed and likable. Monster designs are stellar and their pallet swapped version look distinct enough when exploring new areas. Given the amount of time you spend on several menus, it can become an eyesore always looking at the same beige and sand-colored options when crafting or accepting quests. Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom is a game based on specific geography but by not differentiating every activity; it all looks bland. Considering the amount of time you spend creating and crafting items, I would have liked to see a small forge or some type of animation to help bring context. Exploring dungeons through the overworld and completing arena runs have a distinct look. Blacksmithing, being a core pillar of gameplay, should have some visual flair breathe some life into your forging activity.
Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom is an RPG game with a repetitive but satisfying loop of combat, party management, and crafting. I found myself having a blast playing this game while watching online streams after you gain an understanding of how all menus and choices work with each other. Finding and maximizing your approach is fun and the amount of customization and party classes allow for intriguing experimentation. The game is well written with a great host of characters that make the game’s town feel alive than other generic games. Combat can be difficult if you try to go for a one fits all approach to your abilities and party’s formation. Taking advantage of everything at your disposal is key and switching weapons or abilities is painless and doesn’t need an arbitrary grind to master. BSK delivers on the fun and would love to see a sequel that offers more animations and better art direction to breathe some life into the game’s overall aesthetic. You can buy the game here on this link.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check out some of my other reviews like MegaMan Zero/ZX Legacy Collection and One Step From Eden. For more great interviews, reviews, editorials, and news stay tuned to CultureOfGaming.com or check us out on OpenCritic.com.
- THE GOOD
- Great Characters
- Combat and Well Balanced Difficulty
- Synergetic Mechanics and Systems
- Lots of Party Customization
- Variety of Monsters and Fun Achievement Like System
- THE BAD
- Overworld Dungeons Look Basic
- Forging Not Expanded Upon
- Menu’s are Bland
- Could Use a Party Loadout System
Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom is an RPG game with a repetitive but satisfying loop of combat, party management, and crafting. Finding and maximizing your approach is fun and the amount of customization and party classes allow for intriguing experimentation. This game excels at a satisfying and customizable gameplay loop of combat, story, and item creation. Albeit a bit plain looking, it’s got heart where it counts and a great game that is easy to pick up with hours of enjoyment.