It's not a name that has a huge fanbase or widely known popularity, but after reading this review, perhaps you can stick this game on your wishlist. Iconoclasts is a metroidvania. I'm fully aware a lot of reviews I've posted over the last months have all been metroidvanias - it's a genre I enjoy playing and as a result will have some reviews about them ;)
Iconoclasts surprised me. Going through my steam queue I noted a pixel graphics style metroidvania, so obviously that went onto the wishlist. It stayed there forgotten for the better part of a year, until it showed up in a bundle on Fanatical. I got the game because I had it wishlisted, and I have to say - zero regrets.
Charming, proper retro feel and a lot of attention to detail. The main heroine of the game is a mechanic in a far and distant future where a white liquid called "ivory" is used to power biomechanics and electricity. World changing in a way you could not imagine until you reach that point in the game where things are explained without spoilers.
The game gives a feeling of various super nintendo-era games and does this very well. Right down to the not-so-smart sidekicks, over protective siblings and evil characters turned good. For the art and movement style I would say it reminds me of Starbound, crosscode, chrono trigger and stardew valley. Somehow all those styles were turned into a single metroidvania, and it was done well. The graphical style is very colorful, and the characters both good and evil have a way of showing quirks that really bring them to life. This game is not for the faint of heart. People will be kicked off hills, arms will be torn off and characters may or may not be vaporized by a giant beam of death from the sky. You have been warned. The comedy especially really just "works", and it works very well.
Any other SNES era style RPG where your character nearly drowns and gets fished up - would be the start of the story. In Iconoclasts - you are thrown back overboard! (Sorry, small spoiler, very early in the game and that bit had me laugh out loud)
Technology or magic
As a mechanic you would think your character has some knowledge over machinery. You get a gun and a wrench, and you use it to bash enemies and solve puzzles. Actual robots exist in the world, but will usually be unfriendly rather than neutral. Lore wise that's the confusing bit. Some characters appear to wield magic-like powers. It's "probably" not actual magic, but nanotech. I guess you'll find out for sure if you actually play the game. It's not a spoiler because I don't know the answer myself yet ;)
Iconoclasts gives you a few "key items" so and then, mostly in the form of guns or wrenches. For those easily intimidated - most puzzles are optional and serve to give you crafting materials. Generally you'll find them easy and obvious to solve - but some may require some technique. There were a few points in the game where I was trying to figure out where to go next. The game seems to detect this and will start spawning little white fairies to show you your next place to go. It doesn't do this if you're making decent progress so it shouldn't bother you too much. Not like a giant flashing green arrow that some games do.
Triangles squares and circles
Do NOT mix triangles and circles. Things get unstable, and unstable things will explode. Part of the charm of the game and it's world is where many parts of the world are made up out of squares. Yet, some people worship the triangles. It's the circles that appear to be part of the instability and disease that's infecting the world. Things get very interesting quite quick - but you'll have game modes where you can simply turn on immortality if you don't want to spend a frustrating time dying to bosses and figuring out not-super-clear mechanics on how to defeat them.
Relaxed mode is great if you just don't care too much about getting killed by boss fights. Yes, you are effectively immortal, but get to play through the game for the puzzles, story and exploration. It's a game that should give you more than a good few hours of enjoyment. For a fairly cheap indie game title, that's an achievement in it's own right.
There are a few "meh" points where you're traveling back and forth for no reason other than to deliver a letter or food to a certain NPC. Luckily you will unlock a fast travel system eventually. The map is quite big, and the faster travel modes and speed boosts will help you a lot. Odd enough, this appears to be part of the circle system. (ha, no spoiler there)
Iconoclasts release date: 23 Jan, 2018
Minimum system requirements: It's a pixel art game, do you really need these? Please don't say you are still running anything like Windows XP SP 3, because that's one of the minimum OS requirements. As well as a 2 GHz dual core CPU. Really, you'll be fine. Just make sure you have 500 MB of disk space and 512 MB Video memory available in case you're running this in a VM.
Thank you for this interesting review!
Here it goes on my wishlist!
No spoilers, but I thought the story just kept getting better and better. I really liked how all the characters were fleshed out and seemed like real people, even the "bad guys"! Also? Great music. I'm going to go listen to "Moonlight" again right now.
Finished it recently and I agree; the story was quite deep and I actually made the effort not to skip it. I also liked the puzzles and boss fights. However, some parts were left underdeveloped - like the weak side-missions and mostly useless tweaks. By the time I got good ones, I was already close to finishing the game.
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