Iconoclasts for the Nintendo Switch Review
Iconoclasts is a Metroidvania that pays tribute to the titles of my childhood. As a gamer closing in on his third decade of life, I couldn’t help but feel giddy. The pixel-art was beautifully done & the animations were buttery smooth. When our heroine stood idle, her hair bounced as her body did. It was announced in 2010 & one could tell of the love & nurturing that time allowed. I admire Joakim Sandberg for his immense passion, having stuck with a project for 8 years. When it initially launched in January 2018, it received critical acclaim & the hearts of gamers everywhere. It’s now coming to the Nintendo Switch but do those praises still ring true. Or did Iconoclasts face some issues during the porting process that hindered it’s performance; let’s find out!
You play as Robin, a female mechanic that lives in a world that has outlawed private practice. No one’s allowed to deviate away from their assigned profession, given to civilians by an entity known as “Him”. Of course, you refuse to abide by this & following in your father’s footsteps, you’ve been secretly working. However, while doing business for yourself is a sin, being a private mechanic is far worse. This has caused the punishment known as “Penance” to frequently befall Settlement 17, where your brother resides. Suspicious of this, an organization known as One Concern comes to pay you a visit. In addition to increased Penance, they’ve noticed repairs aren’t as plentiful as they once were & you’re the prime suspect. Thankfully during the meeting, the agents receive a call that someone they’re looking for has been spotted. They leave but not before promising that they’d be back.
When I first booted up Iconoclasts, as I mentioned before, the pixel-art was stunning. It’s impressive how much detail went into making sure the backdrop wasn’t just an after-thought. When you went into homes, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the detailed background. The overall design choices I found to be incredibly charming. Whenever I’d have to back-track, I never grew tired of the scenery. The characters were all unique, their emotions visible by their animated emotes. Every NPC within towns were rarely ever the same even. Although the differences were never extensive, like hair or clothes color, it helped immerse me into the game.
Iconoclasts, in my opinion, is very retro when it came to the sort of Gameplay present here. For example, the bosses are never clear in how to defeat them. You’re required to figure it out while also following the attack pattern so to avoid damage. You do get told what to do at times but normally, there’s only a visual cue that’ll hopefully nudge you in the right direction. Probably the biggest indication of retro influence in the aforementioned need to back-track. There are several areas in a level that you can only access after obtaining later game items. This was something used a lot in older games in order to save on memory while adding as much as possible.
If there’s one thing that I’m very critical of with gaming, it’s writing. So, when I was given the chance to cover this game, I jumped on it. I’ve heard great things about the story upon its initial release that I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. I booted it up & was absolutely delighted that indeed, the writing was fantastic. I’ll admit, while I thought the writing was great, because of its quirky aesthetic, I expected a cheesy story. Was I wrong as the narration dove into topics such as death, corruption, & even same-sex relationships.
While I found minor mistakes in dialogue here & there, it never took away from the experience. I was still wildly entertaining & I especially loved the sense of humor sprinkled in. For example, quite early in the game, there are two guards speaking. One mentions he’s feeling ill, diagnosing himself with cancer. The other replies, calling him a hypochondriac, and for good reason. We then learn this isn’t the first time, in fact, the other day he thought he had diabetes due to a sore toe. I did see something else that while doesn’t have an huge impact, I found clever. During dialogue, to illustrate a character being interrupted, a word is cut off & replaced by ellipsis. Here, Joakim Sandberg kept the entirety of it & by instinct alone, you begin reading. As you do, the dialogue window shifts to another character interrupting. Being cut off so suddenly as I was reading made it feel authentic, at least for me. Again, not a huge impact on the over-arching story but I felt like it was note worthy.
In conclusion, I found Iconoclasts to be extremely enjoyable & definitely worth every penny. I found myself loving every second & sometimes bobbing to the music. While I found some tracks to be average, there were a few that were catchy, especially the first level. The art-style alone makes it feel right at home on the Nintendo Switch. With it’s surprising story, responsive controls, and engaging story, I can only think of two words when talking about Iconoclasts.
Review by Fernando, reviewed on the Nintendo Switch. Game provided by Bitfrost Entertainment