Iconoclasts is a game that provides a fun romp through a number of brightly colored and beautiful looking landscapes, which only helps to disguise the dark and sometimes brutal realities of the people who live in it. If you have played Cave Story, you will be able to make a lot of comparisons between the two.
You play as Robin, a rogue mechanic in a land where the ruling religion of the world dictates how you should live your life if you wish to be provided the safety and comfort of the grand City One. The game starts off immediately by introducing the Agents, enforcers of Mother, the matriarch of land, and very quickly the player can see there is some hidden backstory to the going-ons of her family. As you travel through the various forests, deserts, and strongholds of the enemy, the narrative of these secrets becomes unwound in a satisfying way that helps build the personalities of your various companions.
The game controls smoothly, with Robin wielding her wrench and various guns to defeat creatures ranging from cute-looking deer monsters to ghastly floating skulls. Climbing, crawling, and riding your way through the areas feels great, and the various puzzles left me feeling satisfied after completing them, some of which have various ways to solve if the player is creative. Upgrades called Tweaks help the customize your own play style, though I personally found myself sticking to a very specific set throughout the whole game while wishing there were some more interesting choices available.
You will encounter a sleuth of bosses through the game, each a unique experience that requires different tactics and timing to defeat. These range from revived robots from a past-era to the Agents of Mother herself. These fights can be tough, but the game is generous in allowing you to retry immediately upon defeat, instead of forcing you to re-traverse the area leading to the boss over and over, though most of the time a save point is provided directly before the boss anyways.
The companions you gain in your journeys are unique and interesting, each with their own stories and opinions. Sometimes this leads to them fighting amongst themselves, as your actions or those of your other allies contrast with their beliefs. The interaction these characters have with your quest, with each other or with the forces opposing you, leads to some unexpectedly dark turns and sometimes leaves the player questioning if what they are doing is truly the right thing.
In all, the game is a can’t-miss opportunity for lovers of platforming and harsh realities, with great storytelling that only seems to fall flat towards the end of the game, which feels somewhat rushed and left me with a sense that I had somehow missed something along the way.
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