Iconoclasts (PC) Review

By Wes Maulsby 29.03.2018 2

Review for Iconoclasts on PC

After nearly eight years of development, and five years after his first retail game, Noitu Love 2, developer Joakim Sandberg has completed his second major project, and this one's a doozy. Iconoclasts is the story of a young engineer named Robin and her unlikely journey in a world that is nearing its end. After meeting up with a wide variety of fun and interesting characters, players will need to be ready for a variety of intense challenges.

Before you even begin to play the game, there are two things apparent from just the title screen: first, there is going to be an abundance of vivid colours on the journey and, second, it is going to be accompanied by some rad music. Those are two factors that form a major strength for Iconoclasts. Along the roughly 14-hour play-time, players will encounter a variety of environments, which each feel unique. Forests, deserts, underwater towns, and more, await gamers, with each new location utilising terrific sprite-work, intricate details, and a rich colour palette. Accompanying those colourful landscapes is a musical score that may be the strongest aspect of the game. Each new location comes with music that perfectly defines not only the mood of the setting, but of the characters and their situations.

Screenshot for Iconoclasts on PC

Speaking of characters, if the music isn't the main strength, the characters certainly are. There is a wide variety of characters, big and small, which provide terrific humour throughout, while the main cast of protagonists and antagonists grow and change as the stakes get higher. Early on, the characters keep things pretty light-hearted, with a few sprinklings of seriousness to keep the story going. As you near the end, however, that relationship has been completely inverted as the true nature of the narrative reveals itself and the gravity of the action begins to set in. Iconoclasts is not just a serious title, but it has a serious message from developer, Joakim Sandberg. Without spoiling, one just needs to examine the title for a clue since, after all, an iconoclast is someone who attacks and tears down cherished beliefs and traditions.

Screenshot for Iconoclasts on PC

That is enough about the story and silly characters, though; it is time get the real meat of this and any game - the gameplay! Once again, Iconoclasts shines in this department. This is a 2D action platformer that finds its strength in the action. Battles will escalate from a slight simmer into a fever pitch as the stakes continue to rise. New enemies bring about new battle mechanics, with the later game throwing challenges that will put your quick-twitch-skills to the test.

The boss battles present another layer of difficulty as each feels distinct and each requires a different strategy to bring down. These bosses range from intense one-on-one fights to face-offs against enemies that fill the entire screen. Some of the larger bosses can feel a bit frustrating as their sheer size can make some attacks difficult to deal with in the fast-paced engagements. Other bosses present unique challenges and rule-sets that can feel fairly opaque. Once figured out, they can be quickly overcome, but the first few runs can feel like a steep uphill climb until learning the new rules.

Screenshot for Iconoclasts on PC

To best the many challenges of the game, you are given two main weapons: a stun gun and Robin's trusty wrench. Both of those weapons are upgraded and modified as progress through the game is made, which grants Robin a more robust combat and puzzle-solving arsenal. In addition to the weapons and their upgrades, the player may also customise themselves via Tweaks. These are modifiers that range from being able to take a free hit, to strengthening Robin's wrench in a variety of ways. With three slots, players are free to customise their Tweaks in order to maximise their potential, whether that be to increase survivability or combat effectiveness.

Both the weapons and the Tweaks are essential for not only defeating all of the enemies, but to clear all the puzzles within the world, as well, which include some real headscratchers. Many can be solved at their first encounter, while others require equipment obtained later. Hidden achievements and a Metroidvania-style layout will provide players with plenty to do once the credits roll. For those seeking a greater thrill, Harder Difficulty is available from the outset, while New Game + and Challenge Mode are unlocked after the first completion… although only the most skilled players need take on Challenge Mode, as even the weakest of enemies become one shot killers.

Screenshot for Iconoclasts on PC

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Don't let first impressions fool you. Beneath the bright colours and initially sunny disposition of Iconoclasts lies a game that is going to challenge you in a variety of ways. It will force the best from your quick-twitch-skills, with fast-paced and frenetic combat. It will strain your brain with tricky puzzles and unique boss encounters, and it will also present a world whose obstacles and solutions may even challenge your own ideals and world view. This is an experience that cannot be missed by fans of both 2D action platformers, or by those seeking a greater level of mental and ideological engagement.

Developer

Joakim Sandberg

Publisher

DANGEN Entertainment

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Woah, this looks cool, steam or what? Not sure how this slipped by me.

Steam and PSN Smilie I hope it eventually comes to Switch!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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