Iconoclasts Review - PlayStation 4
Quick Glance: Iconoclasts
- Platform: PS4; PSVita (Reviewed), PC
- Players – 1
- Achievements – Yes, trophies
- Steam Trading Cards - Yes
- Controller Support - Yes, Full
- Retail Price - $19.99
High Level Premise – 2D Metroidvania/platformer
Graphics/Style – Vibrant & beautifully detailed 2D environments in the same spirit of the Neo Geo days.
Music/Soundtrack – Fitting tunes for the many environments found throughout the game, however it’s the spectacular sound effects that should be applauded here.
Story – Take on the “One Concern”, a corrupt and totalitarian government as a young mechanic named Robin.
Replay-ability – Moderately Low – little to do after completing the game unless you missed any chests.
Time Commitment – 10-12 hours
Value – Moderate - while Iconoclasts has some of the best controls & mechanics in its genre, the game has its flaws, making the asking price a hard sell for some.
Favorite Element – The amount of detail that has gone into detailing the environments in Iconoclasts is a true labor of love.
One of the most beloved genres among classic gamers has always been the “Metroidvania”. Ever since the dawn of this type of platformer, a number have attempted to recreate the magic that Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night possessed. While Iconoclasts contains the visual flare and solid gameplay in the spirit of those titles, it falls a bit short in its story and fun factor.
As the daughter of a once well-known mechanic, you play as Robin, in an adventure against the One Concern, a corrupt government that is out for her. While the theme is great for a change, the story is poorly executed through copious amounts of dialogue among a game that you cannot help but feel should prioritize its excellent platforming controls over a deep story. To make matters a bit worse, there are far too many characters that are mentioned by name, making it quite difficult for the player to differentiate their order of importance within the story. While some may gravitate towards this dialogue-driven twist to the genre, it was too hard to jump back in after putting down the game for a couple of days.
With that out of the way, there is also more than enough to love within this package. First off, the sheer amount of attention paid to every intricate detail and environment is evident, as the game has been beautifully handcrafted down to the very last sprite. With so many clever mini games, mechanics, and even humor inserted into the game, you can’t help but smile when those moments come around. It’s clear that Iconoclasts was a labor of love, with no expenses barred when it came to releasing the finished product.
What’s even more impressive is the way this game feels at home on the PS Vita. The rich, vibrant worlds truly translate well onto the handheld, especially on the OLED model. After realizing the game was cross-buy among the Sony consoles (shout-out to Bifrost Entertainment for taking part in this awesome practice in 2018), it became clear that the game is perfectly suited for the Vita, and exactly the type of quality experience that scene craves for. It can’t be recommended enough to experience this version of the game if you have the opportunity to do so.
The trophies are probably the most glaring flaw among the game. With an adventure that totals more than 50+ enemy bosses and countless collectible chests, it is unacceptable that Iconoclasts contains such a lack-luster set. While the game could be forgiven for not containing a platinum, the few trophies present are simple, uninspired, and feel more or less like an afterthought. As a trophy hunter, this is probably the hardest detail to accept and understand.
Iconoclasts isn’t for everybody. The game takes a proven formula, and adds a twist by making it a story-driven experience. The simplicity and mindlessness from the Metroidvania’s of yesterday is lost to a deep and involved tale full of dialogue and characters that led to a convoluted story. Even if that isn’t for you, there is still a lot to like in this package. The art, gameplay, and tight controls don’t get much better than this, and are the real ways in which this title shines. While Iconoclasts may not be exactly what it appears at the surface, it’s highly recommended that all fans of the genre give it a chance.