I is for Iconoclasts

In Iconoclasts, you play as Robin, an unlicensed mechanic in a society where that is frowned upon at best, and illegal at worst. Something isn’t right with the world. There are intermittent earthquakes, your brother has gone missing, your father is dead, and One Concern soldiers are terrorizing pirates and normal citizens alike with no regard for who is actually at fault.

At least, I think that’s what’s going on? I’ll be honest, the story of Iconoclasts is the weakest part of it for me. There are several different factions, but who belongs to which is fuzzy at best. Some of the characters that seem like they’re both against whatever you’re trying to do are then shown fighting with each other in a cutscene. Motivations for most of the NPCs are either flat and contrived, or impenetrably murky.

What’s good is that there’s more to Iconoclasts than the story. The gameplay is firmly in the Metroidvania arena. There are several different areas you can explore, weapon upgrades to acquire, and other tweaks to augment your abilities. The world is a bit more linear than I initially expected from this style of game, as there aren’t many instances of required looping or backtracking. That could be a pro or con, depending on what you’re looking for in a Metroidvania. There are plenty of hidden rooms and unlockables, but nearly all of them are optional. You almost never see an area that you can’t access early in the game that you absolutely have to come back to later in the game.

The third major pillar of this game is the vast array of boss fights. The bosses are varied in attack style as well as how you go about defeating them. Most of them I really enjoyed, though there was one boss fight about midway through the game that I absolutely hated. I’ll avoid spoilers, but the mechanics of this boss fight are poorly explained, and don’t actually show up anywhere else in the game. Luckily, that’s only one of over 20 major and minor boss fights that populate the world of Iconoclasts.

The three aspects of the game are story, platforming exploration, and boss fights. I enjoyed two of those three things. If you’re really into Metroidvanias and you’ve already played all the heavy hitters, give Iconoclasts a go, but get it on sale.

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