Ironcast - PlayStation 4 Review

Ironcast

Quick Glance:

•    Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
•    Players – 1
•    Achievements – Yes
•    Steam Trading Cards - Yes
•    Steam Controller Support - No
•    Retail Price - $14.99

A number of variables give Ironcast a fresh twist in the already popular color matching puzzle genre.

High Level Premise – Puzzle Quest meets FTL in this Steampunk Victorian era rougelike.

Graphics/Style – Standard 2D matching puzzle game with a Victorian steampunk art style that can stand in its own style.

Music/Soundtrack – Fitting for the style, but nothing stands out

Story – An interesting story that fits the whole basis of the game's theme very well.

Replay-ability – Low, Ironcast has no multiplayer offering, and leaves little to return to upon 100% completion.

Time Commitment – Can be played in moderation through isolated sessions.

Value – Very High, as the game has a lot to offer for a budget priced digital download.

Favorite Element – Highly addictive reward system

Every thematic detail of Ironcast has been taken into consideration, including the menus.

Sean Says – Ironcast is deep.  It introduces a variety of new elements to the popular color matching puzzle genre.  Its deep puzzle elements, excellently crafted reward system, and meticulous detail to the Victorian Era theme help it to stand out from the competition.  For some, this may indeed be overbearing, especially for the casual pick-up-and-play gamer.  Puzzle enthusiasts will likely eat this one up, however it’s easy to write this one off for those looking for something with a little less substance.

                  After some time with the campaign, I couldn’t help but think about how great Ironcast could be with multiplayer modes.  The mechanics are already in place, which almost makes its absence look like a missed opportunity.   Something as simple as 1:1 duels could re-write the playbook for the genre going forward.  The addition of such modes could easily draw a larger crowd towards this unique puzzler, granting it some much deserved attention.

Gareth Says – Hmm, where to begin with this game.  I would usually start off by mentioning that if puzzle games such as Bejeweled, Candy Crush, etc. are not your thing, then this won’t be for you.  However, this game is so much more involved, it would be a shame to brush it off so easily.  The basic idea is to connect three or more blocks of the same color, much like the majority of other puzzle games.  The great thing about Ironcast is that it’s where the connection with other puzzle games ends.  You connect the four different colored blocks in chains to either fill your ammo, build electricity, fill coolant, or store repairs.  You then use the filled gauges to fire rockets, energy beams, canons, and other weapons at your enemy, all the while balancing how fast your mech is moving to dodge bullets.  Oh, and don’t forget to put your shield up to reduce damage.  Are you making long enough chains to get more XP so that you can use more power-ups sooner?  Did you salvage as much gold as you could to buy new equipment for your mech from four different categories, or to upgrade your reserves?  It may sound like a lot at first, but it’s not overwhelming in the least.  The more you figure out the finer points, the better you feel when you walk away from your first unscathed battle.

The art style is beautiful and the characters & machines all fit in the steampunk alternate universe.  The art style continues to shine in the main base menu where you spend your time performing upgrades and repairs to your mech.  It is rewarding every time you unlock a new weapon and check to see what it is, only to realize that you just got a shield that is twice as powerful!  From this menu, you access the missions page where you can choose between three different available missions.  These missions range from a straight on fight, to talking someone up so that you can make a trade with them.  The small variety between the missions helps keep it fresh.  Since this is a roguelite game, dying will send you back to the drawing board.  Much like many games of the genre, you can use earned medals to make yourself stronger for the next time you play.

My only complaint about the game is that there was not enough.  By the time I reached the end, I was left wanting more.  I unlocked all of the pilots, mech suits, and power-ups playing a few hours a day.  After that it was finding the most effective way to take on battles so that I would have enough XP and money to strengthen my mech.  This game would be a great candidate for DLC packs adding more missions, characters, and mechs. The game is a great puzzle game to get lost in, only until you reach the end.  You will enjoy playing it and feel satisfied when you defeat the final boss. 

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