Welcome Time Wasters!
My time wasting this week went to a different type of game than normal. Rather than just finding a random game from the web or my phone, I bought one on Steam. I don’t usually grab games as soon as they come out, but a trailer for Iconoclasts sold me on the game instantly.
Some of your probably already know about Iconoclasts. It’s a game that was in development for almost a decade before finally getting a release. I’d never heard of it before, but it looked dang promising and was made by one guy. My previous gaming experiences have led me to trust labors of love like this, which is part of the reason I was so willing to grab the game as soon as it came out.
Iconoclasts is a 2D platformer with a focus on puzzles and story. I want to get the negative out of the way first. So let’s talk about the story. As always, I’ve be avoiding spoilers, so please excuse the vague terms.
The story of Iconoclasts starts out with Robin working as a mechanic when she isn’t allowed to. This is due to the One Concern, a government/religion that forces people into single jobs and controls most aspects of their lives. Robin enjoys helping people and isn’t going to let the One Concern get in her way of doing that.
Iconoclasts begins with a simple enough idea and is lighthearted at the start. However, later it the game it begins to take a more serious tone. Honestly, this is where the game’s story starts to go downhill. To top if off, there’s a major twist ending that just feels like a cheap trick. It’s a real story killer that I just can’t excuse.
Another problem with the storytelling in Iconoclasts is the dialogue. It’s not something that I would normally bring up, but the game is overly wordy and convoluted. It also features a much more prominent story than other games in this genre, which is only more damaging to it. I appreciate the effort of trying to create a more involved story, but it falls flat here.
Alright, with that out of the way we can start talking about the good, and there’s a lot of that. To begin, Iconoclasts is a game that challenges players with fun and satisfying gameplay. This includes the various puzzles in the game, as well as the combat and platforming. It’s got some Metroidvania flare to it with picking up upgrades to explore new areas, but that isn’t the main focus. It’s more about the platforming.
Platforming in Iconoclasts is a joy. Robin can use her trusty wrench to grab and swing off of certain objects in the game. This lets the player travel some sections of the game almost completely off the ground. It’s fun and rewarding to players that can pull it off. To go along with the platforming are loads of environmental puzzles that players will have to solve. The game does a good job of presenting players with puzzles that aren’t too hard to figure out, but can also require some thought. They’re the type that make you feel smart for figuring them out.
Another major focus of Iconoclasts is the boss fights. The game has over 20 of these and most of them are an absolute blasts. Some of the bosses are pure skill with the wrench, gun and other weapons. Others require teaming up with different characters for semi-scripted events that still feel great. One of my personal favorite bosses was also a puzzle that required me to switch back and forth between two characters. Once each character solved their part of the puzzle, the boss’ weak point was exposed. I’ll probably always remember it as one of my favorite boss fights in a video game.
Iconoclasts is a game that has a lot of visual flair. Like I already said, it’s a labor of love and that shows in the graphics. Characters have a lot of spring in their step that makes them seem alive. There’s also a lot of animations for each character to clearly show what they are feeling. The world is also beautifully crafted with several areas that each have their own distinct appearances.
The audio in Iconoclasts is another positive for the game. There quite a few areas with background music that easily stands out as great. Unfortunately, not every area is like this, but audio is used to help with story moments and it is executed well. The sound effects in the game are solid and do a good job of providing the player with proper feedback to compliment the platforming, combat and puzzles.
Overall, Iconoclasts is a good game with some major flaws. The story drags the game down a lot, which wouldn’t normally be a problem. However, the story is such a large focus that it’s hard to avoid. I’d say the best way to play through Iconoclasts is to skip out on the story and just enjoy the gameplay.
Iconoclasts earns 3.5 GiN Gems out of 5!