Iconoclasts is a spectacular game. Developed by Konjak who is basically a one-man show with Joakim Sandberg, it was published by Biforst entertainment on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Switch. Get ready to crank that wrench as we delve into this tantalising game.
Iconoclasts is a 2D action platformer with a 16-bit retro style which looks absolutely stunning. The story revolves around “Robin” a freelancing mechanic girl, helping out those that she can. However, a religious group that goes by the name of “One Concern” prohibits people from doing this outside the organisation and come after you.
Throughout the course of the game, you will meet up with a cast of colourful characters in the form of Mina, an outspoken pirate with an explosive gun, Royal, the next in line for the head of One Concern and Elro, Robin’s brother.
From the start you’re simply on the run but as things progress the stakes becoming higher with every passing mission. The pace of the story is handled well if at times a tad bit confusing and ambiguous but is beyond satisfying.
Characters that ooze personality
It shines through on the development of the characters over the narrative. It was something I honestly wasn’t expecting from the game and it made me appreciate Iconoclasts a whole lot more. It delivered some of my favourite characters in gaming this year who all felt distinct in their own way through their own individual motives.
The game had me craving more and I wished there was more to see of these characters, even after I had completed the campaign (which is roughly around 10 hours long).
The presentation of this game is phenomenal, its pixel art style is a joy to behold and it’s the little things that it adds that breathes so much life into it, from the charming bouncy animation of the characters to the variety of locations you get to traverse with a great depth of exploration. Accompanying the visual flair is endearing music, that compliments the game sublimely, capturing the essence of retro style music and sets the underlining tone for each area and part of the story.
Iconoclasts has “smooth as butter” gameplay, from the get-go you start off with your stun gun that has a handy little lock on feature, depending on how far the enemy is away from you. You then have the ability to stomp down on foes or smash certain red breakable breaks. After that, you acquire your trusty wrench which is capable of quite a lot, from being used as a weapon, to cranking bolts and deflecting projectiles.
The roller bomb fires off explosives and the usurper is a more powerful version of the stun gun, however, overheats much quicker. Each of your guns has a secondary function if you hold down on them, from your stun gun firing off a larger blast, your roller bomb shooting a missile and the usurper allowing you to switch places with certain objects, even enemies.
Tricky but satisfying
You will be using your arsenal to fight off foes and solve a multitude of puzzles that can get surprising tricky at points but leave you incredibly satisfied when you achieve them. It uses your tools at your beck and call in creative ways that makes you never hate the challenge it presents. This game gives you the bare minimum on how to play and use your tools. It’s up to you to figure out how a puzzle should be solved or how to beat an enemy and it is one of the most gratifying experiences I have had in a while.
The way Robin moves feels great at your fingertips, and when they switch up areas, such as adding in strong winds that push against you, it still feels fantastic, giving you an added sense of weight to the environment. The only complaint that I could bring up is that sometimes when swimming I got caught when near to the wall which was awkward at times, but it happened very rarely. The game does mix it up every now and then as you control other characters in the form of Mina with her explosive gun that requires you to aim, and Elro who is super slow but does a great deal of damage with his sword.
Bosses like no other
Now one of the most impressive aspects of this game are the boss fights and there are a ridiculous number of them. They all feel unique with the game upping the intensity with each one that comes by. Some, take a more strategic outlook to beat as you use your weapons to best them in inventive ways. It is a remarkable feat to have created so many boss battles yet make them all distinct and rememberable.
You also have tweaks, which are little perks you can make from finding materials all around the world in chests. Tweaks can increase certain stats for Robin, from being able to hold her breath longer, to more damage or allowing to stay charged longer, depending on where you are, they can be pretty useful.
This is one of the best platformers I’ve ever played, possibly being my favourite to come out on this generation of consoles. The controls are responsive and great to control, the excessive number of bosses is ludicrous but insanely fun and I must applaud Joakim Sandberg who made this game on his own, which is an incredible achievement that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Overall Iconoclasts is a spectacular game that I believe has slipped under the radar, it is hands down the best game I have played this year, I had an unbelievable amount of pure fun from this. From the challenges it presented to the clever puzzles and sheer quality of boss fights with their individuality, they could give final bosses from other games a run for their money. Its story and characters are well fleshed out and developed exceptionally well. The art style is old-school that holds a vibrant colour palette in some airs and darker in otherswhenever it needs to suit the mood.
So, in short PLAY ICONOCLASTS because it’s a “must buy” game for sure!