System: Nintendo Switch (Also available for PS4 & PS Vita)
Developer: Joakim Sandberg
Publisher: Bifrost Ent.
Rating: UK & EU 12/ US T
Overall Feeling: I like it a lot
(Review code kindly provided by publisher)
It baffles me to think that Iconoclasts is primarly the work of one individual. Joakim Sandberg, the games developer spent more than 7 years putting it altogether. However, one important question remains: is it any good?
The game’s main protagonist is a young female mechanic called Robin. Her wish is to help others but a powerful religious group stands in her way. Robin’s world is entrapped by a ruthless ideology, everyone lives in constant fear of a religious organization called ‘One Concern’. The people live feeling terrified of upsetting Mother and invoking her wrath, in the form of Penance; a judgement that occurs while the offending sinners are at home.[pullquote]Iconoclasts is a glorious achievement[/pullquote] One Concern’s chief objective is to gain complete control over the world’s most precious substance – ivory. It doesn’t take long to figure out that the groups’ intentions are bad, but the story becomes more engrossing as it develops. I don’t intend to spoil anything! It’s clear however that the story has been well thought out and not simply tacked on. It’s also important to note, that things become quite dark and the consistent use of minor language makes this title unsuitable for younger children.
Iconoclasts is a solid platform action/puzzle game. On the one hand, the game includes multiple enemies to defeat, as well as a host of boss fights to overcome. What’s more, the game controls so well, that even newcomers to the genre can grasp them. That’s not to say that there aren’t challenging areas in Iconoclasts; there are, but the developer has done a fantastic job of gradually increasing the game’s difficulty. I also like how notices are placed throughout the game to help players with basic controls and newly introduced game elements.
As usual with a game of this type, Robin gradually obtains new weapons and abilities. She begins her journey with a basic golden wrench and stun gun, and obtains a few extra upgrades along the way. These are used not only to boost Robin’s attacking power but also to help her solve puzzles within the game. As much as I enjoy the running and gunning of Iconoclasts, it’s the puzzle element which keeps drawing me back to the game. New areas are often closed off by doors and it’s the player’s task to gain access by solving puzzles. To begin with, the puzzles are simple and demand little more than turning a switch with Robin’s wrench; but others demand more thought.
Iconoclast also gives players the opportunity to play through set stages designed for other members of Robin’s team. My favourite secondary character, Mina, boasts a basic firearm which requires the player to aim by holding down the fire button and using the left thumbstick to aim. Some of the games best moments take place when Robin and Mina work together; either to solve puzzles or progress past a boss.
In terms of playtime, a basic run-through can take around 10 hours, but I’ve clocked almost 20 hours and I’m feeling a little sad knowing that I’ve reached the end of the game. There were times when I got a little lost, but the game boasts a great Metroid style map which is great for finding doors and items you may have missed.
Graphics and Sound
Iconoclasts boasts a great pixelated artstyle that’s both detailed and colourful. Everything in the game looks great; from the character art and animation, level foreground and backdrop design, as well as environmental animations such as flying birds, falling leaves, and blustery snow.
[pullquote]It’s easily one of the best games I’ve played this year[/pullquote]The game has a great soundtrack along with fantastic sound effects. It’s hard to pin down what my favourite in-game tracks are; but Robin is probably my favourite simply due to its cheerful/uplifting nature. Then again, I really enjoy the track titled Chile and the character Chrome has a pretty cool soundtrack too! If you would like to listen to the full Iconoclasts soundtrack, then check out the following link:
My only gripe
The game is great! It boasts a gripping storyline, fantastic gameplay, but it’s let down a little by the overuse of certain swear words/slang terms. As good as the story is, I can’t help feel that this lets the quality of the writing down a bit. There are a number of curse words used along with two particular swear words beginning with B. I just wish this wasn’t the case!
Iconoclasts is a glorious achievement. I’ve enjoyed virtually everything about it: the storyline, level design, character development etc. It’s easily one of the best games I’ve played this year. If it wasn’t for the language issue, I’d happily give the game our maximum award, but as it is, I like Iconoclasts a lot!!!!