Konjak is no stranger to making some absolutely gorgeous and amazing games. His Noitu Love series is often touted as being the best of the best when it comes to indie game development. So it’s really no surprise then that his newest game, The Iconoclasts, is right up there with the best of what he currently has to offer.
Before I begin with the preview, let me just get this out of the way, you (yes you!) can play a version of The Iconoclasts right now! It’s fully playable and quite extensive. What I am previewing today is his IGF build which adds some extra niceties like widescreen and game fixes. But don’t let that stop you from checking out what is easily one of the best indie Metroidvana titles to ever be released.
The Iconoclasts has you playing as a young 17 year old girl named Robin who is a mechanic in a world where using specific tools and in general being a mechanic is outlawed unless you work for a particularly devious tyrannical organization called the One Concern.
It’s through the One Concern that the games’ plot develops. You see, the world is controlled by a church-like organization which controls every citizen and the fuel which powers their lives. Robin (you) illegally fix things and study mechanics much to the chagrin of the agency and their cronies.
Overall, the story is quite deep from what I’ve seen so far and funny to boot! There are some serious overtones here with regards to tyranny and organized religion (it’s bad!) Joakim Sandberg, the developer, has also tossed in enough humor and innocent charm that it’s not overbearing.
Now as I’ve said in the title post, The Iconoclasts is a Metroidvania primarily, but it’s also a bit different as well.
First, there is an overhead map for you to explore and you’ll be back tracking, come and going, and generally sniffing out secrets almost everywhere you go as one would expect in any Metroidvania title. Anybody who’s played the old Metroid games should feel right at home looking at The Iconoclasts map.
Second, while the game does have collectible items, etc. it gets a little different in an almost RPG-like upgrade system whereby you find raw materials and you can synthesize them into stat increases for Robin.
Finally, the game is rife with physical puzzles. By that I mean, you’re not going to be challenged mentally so much, but you will be tested with your speed and actually figuring out how to make a path open up.
So while The Iconoclasts is a Metroidvania, I’d also say that it expands the genre in meaningful ways to give a fresh perspective on the genre.
At last, we get to the art and music. First of all this game is GORGEOUS. I said that in the title, but it needs to be repeated. The colors are bright and vibrant, the backgrounds are fleshed out and meaningful, and the sprite art is some of the best I’ve ever seen. It hearkens back to the SNES era without relying on it’s over-simplicity. And the music… absolutely amazing. It fits the mood and tone of the game perfectly.
The Iconoclasts is going to be a great game when it’s released. In fact, I’d be surprised if the game wasn’t nominated for one of the IGF awards because it’s so polished, fun and beautiful. Ordinarily this would just be a straight review, but since Joakim is still working on it I thought it best to just make this a preview and wait for the full version…
Again my version was the IGF build of the game, but you can play an Alpha version right now by simply heading to the link below. It’s roughly the same game, but without widescreen support and minor changes throughout. Oh and it’s 100% free… Enjoy!