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Blacksmith Bay – Review

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Blacksmith Bay Lets You Smith Swords and Sell Wares.

Craft, Sell, Explore

Blacksmith Bay promises to let you build your own metalworking business while also providing an entertaining action RPG experience. I checked out this game featured as one of the Play NYC 2020 demos to see how it’s coming along.

Roughly a decade ago, a neat game called Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale made its Western debut on Steam. This game had two facets — allowing players to run and item shop and dive into dungeons to acquire more items to sell in your shop.

We’ve seen a few more similar games in the ensuing decade. Moonlighter, Winkeltje, and other titles have let players run their own item shop in one way or another, and now Blacksmith Bay promises to deliver a new experience in this subgenre.

Forging Ahead

I happily ventured into Blacksmith Bay to see what it was all about. My adventure began with a short story introduction delivered via slides and I was quickly plopped down into the game world.

I soon found myself meeting the town’s mayor who had a classic RPG problem: a spider was in his basement and the town guard didn’t give a damn. I needed a sword to tackle this problem, so I was soon sent off to my shop to begin my work.

Your shop is in a terrible state at the start. Various debris is on the ground; cleaning it up will give you your first pieces of starting material. During this process, I discovered that you can rearrange your shop pretty much however you like — certainly a nice touch for games of this style.

Building a Better Sword

My cleanup completed, I then moved on to my mission — forging my very first sword. A sword is generally comprised of four parts: the blade, a hilt, a handle, and a pommel. The pommel and handle were provided to me from the start, but the blade and hilt needed to be forged.

First, I needed to load up some wood to fuel the furnace. Next, I chucked some ore in a big ol’ bucket to make bronze and placed down a mold for a hilt. I poured it out, grabbed the hilt, and cooled it in oil. I then repeated the process for the blade and followed that part up with some tempering.

I then grabbed the four parts and went over to a table to assemble them. It was here that I encountered my first serious problem: the inventory and controls were pretty darn wonky. I kept misclicking things and accidentally dropping items, but I eventually got it done.

Sword in hand, I went down into the mayor’s basement and slaughtered a truly tremendous spider. I got paid a hefty amount of gold and was anxious to get my blacksmith business started. What I didn’t know, however, is that my adventure would be over shortly after it began.

Blacksmith Bay Has Promise (But Needs Work)

I successfully completed the starter quest and followed up with another two, discovering the places where I could buy wood and ore, respectively. I also delved into a nearby mine, fighting a couple more spiders and getting a sense of this game.

My next move was to try and open my shop — and it was here that I encountered my biggest problem. A big part of Blacksmith Bay is about moving objects around. You have to place item molds to forge the various weapon parts. When I tried to do this again, the game completely broke.

For some reason, one of the molds was stuck in my hands. I couldn’t place it down and I couldn’t pick anything else up, either. I restarted the game a couple of times and tried again, but I was unable to actually progress any further — Blacksmith Bay had just outright broke.

This isn’t that big of a deal — this is an early demo and demos often have bugs. Sometimes, demos even have game-breaking bugs. That’s what happened here and it’s a terrible shame because Blacksmith Bay seems very promising.

I didn’t quite get to experience everything I would have liked in the Blacksmith Bay demo. I still get what they’re going for here and it seems like exactly the sort of game I’d love to play. The game’s Steam Store page says it’s set for a 2021 release — I’d love to see what it looks like when it’s in better shape.

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