Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Iconoclasts Review

It took 8 long years, but finally Iconoclasts reaches us in 2018. From developers Konjak comes a colourful Metroidvania platformer that follows the story of self-taught mechanic- Robin.

Unfortunately for Robin, she lives in a world ruled by religious authoritarianism, as her beloved hobby is outlawed to the unregistered thanks to cult One Concern.

Despite being mute, Robin is a great character who has a very caring nature, and her naivety only adds to her charm.

Iconoclasts review

Story & Story-telling of Iconoclasts

Due to her disobedience of the law, in which she’s only trying to help people, she is hunted down by One Concern. She eventually escapes and ends up washing ashore near another town.

The inhabitants of this town practice an entirely different religion and are a totally different group than One Concern and they help Robin recover from her dramatic escape. From here, Robin and her allies plot their resistance against One Concern and their evil schemes.

For a game of this genre, there’s a lot more involved in the story, with a lot more twists and turns. Normally I love with a game with an in-depth story, but with Iconoclasts, I surprisingly felt like it was a bit too much.

My first main issue was the heavy use of dialogue. Some scenes just went on for far too long and I found myself reading too much. Again, normally I’m ok with this, but in this particular genre, I just want to play! I want to run and jump, I want to explore, and I want to find hidden secrets.

But I feel I was held back from that and it actually hindered my experience. To add salt to the wound, I didn’t find the story all too interesting in the first place. If a game is going to place so much focus on the story, it needs to be captivating, which sadly I didn’t think it was. I was engaged around the start, but then I started to lose interest a few hours in.

This heavy focus on the story did seep a little too much into the gameplay, as I felt the game was too objective-based, and didn’t give the kind of freedom associated with games of this genre. There were moments of freedom where I could explore, but it wouldn’t be long before I had to strictly follow the next objective because the story took too much priority.

Yet another problem added was the vague objectives, and for a game so focused on story, you’d think the objectives would be better defined. If you stopped playing for a while and then came back, you’d have a tough time working out what to do next.

It makes it especially hard when there’s no marker on the map to point you in the right direction. So you better hope you know exactly where to go when you start playing!

Level Design

Moving away from those major criticisms, there’s actually quite a bit to enjoy in Iconoclasts. When you are getting involved in the actual gameplay you’ll find some well designed areas. The actual platforming sections are fun and well varied, but I think the game’s biggest strength is its puzzles.

Almost every area contains some kind of puzzle, or at least some kind of thought is needed to get through platforming sections. Staying true to the Metroidvania genre, you’ll notice certain features that you can’t access or interact with until later on, and then when you finally gain the new ability needed, it’s as fun as ever to go back and see what secrets await you.

While discovering secrets is generally one of the best parts of these types of games, unfortunately it is quite underwhelming in Iconoclasts.

There are definitely heaps of treasure chests to be found, and the puzzles and platforming involved is enjoyable, it’s the rewards that let me down.

Most of your rewards are basically crafting materials for creating Tweaks, which are equip-able perks that give you slight bonuses such as increased melee damage, running faster, last longer underwater, etc.

These bonuses are nice but they’re hardly necessary, making the crafting only slightly fun, and those treasure chest rewards feel a little unsatisfying.

Iconoclasts Combat

Fortunately the combat and enemy encounters are one of the most well thought out areas of Iconoclasts. Robin’s main weapon of choice is her wrench and can be upgraded for combat and puzzle purposes. She also gains additional weapons such as stun gun and roller bombs, each having handy single shot and charged shot variations.

Enemies are also varied well with different attacks and way of defeating them. You can’t just blast away at all of them as you’ll be looking for weak points to deal damage.

Another part of combat that’s greatly appreciated is that the game alerts you when an enemy is about to perform an attack that can be parried. When you see this signal, you can prepare yourself to parry the attack, which is super useful and adds more fun to the action.

Probably the biggest highlight of the action is the boss battles. Boss battles are almost puzzles in themselves, and you’ll need to think your way to victory rather than just shooting mindlessly at them. There are plenty of bosses throughout the game, so you’ll have a lot of fun with them to break up the excessive dialogue.

Summary

I felt I should have enjoyed Iconoclasts more than I did. But eventually I found myself just pushing through. The combat and general platforming/puzzles were the highlight for sure, but the heavy focus on the story and dialogue held it back for me.

The elements that make games of the Metroidvania genre so satisfying just didn’t give me those same feelings. I still feel compelled to recommend this game because you can see the effort and thought that went into Iconoclasts, but for me, I just couldn’t get into it like I do with every other game of the genre.

Score: 7.8

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: