Anvil Saga – First Impressions

Today I wanted to talk about Anvil Saga, a management sim with RPG elements where you pick up the hammer and strike the iron while it’s hot to make your father proud of you. You play as papa’s favourite and only son, Arthur, who fell in love with a merchant’s daughter and hence has to now not only earn enough money but also enough fame and reputation to be able to marry her. Hence, you’ve got to train up your skills, fulfil orders, upgrade your shop, hire and train workers, and deal with different factions, all for love, sweat and glory! Amazing!

Developer: Pirozhok Studio
Publisher: HeroCraft PC
Genre: Management, Medieval, RPG, Simulation, Indie
Release Date: 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy for Beta Testing was provided by the publisher.

Honestly, I love games like this one where you get a store and have to bring from the ground to the top… I love shop sims. Anvil Saga is similar to other games in the genre as you can reject or accept orders and have to procure the necessary resources (ores -> ingots -> item) to fulfil the order and earn your money. You can hire workers who get better at smithing, mining, fighting and another skill – that isn’t implemented yet – over time, eventually even gaining traits that can benefit you or give you a disadvantage. Hence, you’ll need to assign them to the right jobs and give them tasks that they’re good at. I got a worker named Stone just now who’s afraid of spiders and hence has a 10% chance to look around for the fuckers. His arachnophobia must be not as bad as mine since I look around for them a lot more than that. Anyways, Stone is also very good at carrying stuff since he’s got the strength of five men, meaning that the ores that he mines don’t slow him down as much when he carries them to your chest. Hence, I sent him into the mines and while the Arachnophobia is kinda bad in that instance, the carrying bonus is really good and makes up for any time lost.

Obviously, you can also just buy the items from a merchant but it’s more about the profit here. If you’re gonna buy ores and then smelt them and then sell the goods, you’ll make less money overall compared to when you mine them for free and then work them and sell them. There are also choices to make here and there with work orders that need to be prioritized, buildings that need to be upgraded, and there are choices that affect the relations of you and France, England, the bandits, etc. All of that sounds quite neat on paper but…

I honestly thought I’d get to check out the full release here but it seems to be just the first 45 minutes, so it’s more of a demo, I guess? Some features aren’t implemented yet and I’m not entirely sure what the full release will be like in the end. I mean, the core gameplay loop is fun but it’s a bit too early to judge, I think. I’m not upset about it being a demo, I just wasn’t expecting that it would end so abruptly, right when I was about to build up more funds and hire more employers, but I guess it’s whatever.

Issues I’ve encountered were…

  • Errors in the translation.
  • Some problems with the UI bugging out.
  • The build menu is very hard to navigate through.
  • Buying ore is almost always better than mining it.
    • After all, your employees’ food and energy levels drain quite fast.
  • Work orders aren’t paused during cutscenes, which is quite annoying.
  • Some trait descriptions didn’t really tell me much. “Mentor” lets Arthur smell rich customers from miles away… what does that mean?

But what I really like is…

  • The core gameplay loop of crafting items and selling them.
  • The idea behind the different traits that affect your gameplay.
  • The idea behind the different seasons and events that affect the customers you get.
  • The management aspects, the art style, the music, and the animations.

I would love to see a fully fleshed-out version later and I’ll definitely keep looking out for more updates and revisit this later. I’d love it if you could craft different items and essentially stock up on them instead of having to craft them when they’re needed since customers get impatient and since they can get upset if you don’t get to them quickly, even though they arrived late.

In the end, Anvil Saga is kinda nice but a demo’s a demo and it only shows the core gameplay loop. That one’s satisfying right now but I’m afraid that the grind may become annoying later on unless they have a fix for that. I’m looking forward to more updates in the future.


This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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