Is Iconoclasts iconic? Almost…
Iconoclasts is an adventure platformer from developer Joakim Sandberg where you play as a young mechanic, Robin, stuck in a broken world of religion and harmful harvesting of natural resources. In this society you’re assigned your role at birth, and must work hard to get rid of your ‘sin’ in order to get to City One, a place where sin is nowhere to be seen. But Robin and friends aren’t ready to take this world’s strict laws lying down.
It seems like a very promising opening at first, but that’s when the story starts to get convoluted. Iconoclasts started to feel as though it didn’t know where it was going, which was a shame as the story of a totalitarian regime in a bright, artistic world like this could have been great if only the structure was tighter. That said, don’t let the story put you off entirely as the characters you encounter and play with are some of the most human characters I’ve ever played as. They just want to survive, find love, or thrive doing what they enjoy in a world that doesn’t recognize them as human beings, but workers. You can’t help but root for them, and that’s what makes the cast of Iconoclasts so enjoyable.
That said, Iconoclasts does keep you on your toes. It isn’t just your usual jumping on enemies and solving puzzles, but something much more refined. Gameplay can vary depending on tasks; for example, at one point you’re asked to switch between two characters and hide from something invisible. One character can hide any place, but the other only seems to be able to hide successfully in water. It’s creative gameplay which stands out.
Gameplay can change depending on your character. Most of the time in Iconoclasts you play as Robin, where you have a wrench and three guns; one that stuns, one that releases bombs and one that lets you swap places with other things or people. You’ll need to use your initiative to make use of these items to solve puzzles and access new areas, but don’t expect the game to help you with tasks as there is little to no direction on what you should do when you’re stuck. If you’re a beginner at platformers, this can be particularly frustrating.
But that isn’t the only thing you’ll get irritated at when playing Iconoclasts, especially if you’re hoping for a few more clues on how to progress throughout the game seamlessly. The map included in the game is incredibly small, and there is no way to zoom. While not a game breaker, the lack of helpful settings options available to use in Iconoclasts is quite disappointing in terms of numbers.
That said, Iconoclasts isn’t all bad. Controls are smooth and easy to use and there are side quests which keep things exciting as you discover more about the world and its characters. The soundtrack is also phenomenal, with the slightest change of notes conveying a lot more tone and energy than the story’s muddied writing.
Iconoclasts is a platformer that offers fun and wacky gameplay, and the controls are great. The characters are memorable, but the game fails to pull the player fully on board due to its patchy storyline and lack of focus on seamlessly guiding the player on their way to completion.
Iconoclasts is a fun, but difficult platformer with a great cast of characters, brilliant controls and a fantastic soundtrack that is let down by a story with little direction.