Iconoclasts is so similar to Owlboy that it is basically criminal. Art, gameplay mechanics, and even the way the story is outlined are just about the same. That is not necessarily a bad thing however, as Iconoclasts is a good game regardless.
Enemy variety. Iconoclasts does a great job when it comes to enemy variety, a very important trait for metroidvania games. New enemies are constantly introduced, sometimes several at once. The credits for the game have a “creature” section that lists every enemy in the game and I was surprised by just how many I had forgotten about simply because there were so many in the game. And that does not mean that the attack types and such grew stale either. Each enemy has their own unique attack and method of elimination. Many of the enemies require a different combination of moves to eliminate, so it is not like the player can get through just spamming one attack.
Fun boss fights. This is more an extension of the previous point, but the game also offers a variety of fun boss fights. In fact, the most difficult puzzle in the game is just figuring out how to kill the different bosses. I actually got stuck quite a few times because of this. The bosses make excellent use of the different gameplay mechanics to offer up exciting, yet sometimes challenging battles.
Crazy story. The story here in Iconoclasts is on such a large scale and just does not make any sense at times, but it was an absolute blast to play through. Some of the characters encountered in the game are absolutely crazy and have some really excellent dialogue to go along with that crazy. I am sure that a lot of effort went into making this game’s story complex, yet interesting, but it came off as a comedy more than anything to me. I like to believe that was intended and, as a result, the game was much more enjoyable.
Controls can be annoying at times. One mistake I made constantly throughout the game was touching the analog stick when grabbing onto a rail. Doing so caused my character to jump off of the anchor point rather than hold onto it and glide along the rail. In order to use the rails, I had to keep my hand off of the analog stick. It did not feel right, as normally one would move the analog stick in the direction they wish to go, but in this case it can actually cause an unfair death. For a game that stresses constant movement, this aspect just did not fit in.
Tweak variety. Iconoclasts includes a number of tweaks scattered throughout the game world. These tweaks, once found, can then be crafted and equipped, with the player being able to hold three at a time. The mechanic itself is nothing new, and was a good addition, but the game just lacks in variety here. The game barely has ten total tweaks, with only two or three of them actually being useful. There is only one tweak that adds anything new to the gameplay, the rest just make the game less annoying. For example, there is one that increases the player’s run speed and another that just makes it so the player can charge up their wrench in one spin rather than two. Both of these just serve to save time for the player. The game could really do with some more gameplay-changing tweaks.
Wonky difficulty. There are two difficulty options to choose from at the start of the game: standard mode and harder mode. I went with standard expecting a light challenge. I was surprised to find that most of the game is painfully easy on this difficulty. Most of my deaths were due to stupid mistakes or me not realizing how to finish off a boss, rather than the fights just being difficult. I had more trouble clearing certain enemy sequences than many of the game’s bosses. Some of the later bosses were much, much easier than earlier bosses, giving so many health drops that I could tank several hits and still be fine. The difficulty was just all over the place. The “standard” difficulty would be better off relabeled as “easy” and the inclusion of a “very hard” difficulty would work wonders.
Iconoclasts does a lot of good when it comes to the metroidvania genre. The gameplay mechanics are slick, the enemy and boss variety is excellent, and the story is just crazy. However, the difficulty, tweak variety, and controls could use a little work. If you are a fan of Owlboy or similar games, then definitely give Iconoclasts a look.
You can buy Iconoclasts on Steam here.
I was provided a free review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.