A definite icon in the genre.

(Editor’s Note: ZTGD is currently affiliated with members of the publisher of this game. None of that was considered in this editorial)

When playing Iconoclasts a few things come to mind. One: the polish in this game is outstanding. It feels like something made by a large team of developers over many years. The second thing that springs to mind is that it took eight years for it to come to fruition, but not from a large team, by just one man. Iconoclasts is a passion project by Joakim Sandberg. A game he had envisioned years ago and it is now finally coming to fruition. After dropping on PS4 and PC earlier this year, Nintendo Switch owners are now able to experience its greatness.

Game development is hard. Developers can spend years working on something as polished as Iconoclasts and never come close. Which makes it all the more impressive that this game came from just one person. The passion shows though. Iconoclasts is his take on the traditional Metroidvania-style action platformer. The hook this time around is a wrench, and it works beautifully. There is so much to love about this game so let’s dive right in.

MSRP: $19.99
Platforms: Switch (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $19.99

Iconoclasts is an action platformer with plenty of inspirations on its sleeve. Underneath, though, this is really a narrative-driven game. There are a lot of religious and dark undertones in the story. It tells the tale of how different levels of society are treated, and it does it extremely well. There is no spoken dialogue, but the emotions are conveyed so well due to text-style and character reaction. They are all memorable, and I found myself attached more so than some games with hours of spoken dialogue. It is just told so well.

Playing as Robin feels great. While the core mechanics are borrowed from the genre, the way things play out is unlike any other game I can remember. She starts the game with a wrench and a gun. Everything feels polished and tight. The shooting feels great, but the real star of the game is the wrench. It can be used as a melee device, spun around to reflect projectiles, and of course more as upgrades are presented over time. Exploration is minimal. The game follows a pretty linear path, with some nooks and crannies to explore over time. Still, the familiar map design disguises it well.

There is a lot to digest in Iconoclasts. The levels offer up new mechanics just when things get stale. This goes back to the polish I spoke of earlier. Just when I was getting tired of one thing, the game throws something entirely new at me. There are a few places where I got stuck, but if I stepped back and looked at what I was doing, the answer was always there. This is clever game design. It also shows just how much thought and testing went into the game before release. It is hard to find games with this level of great design.

The bosses are also some of the most interesting in any game I have ever played. They use the game’s mechanics in clever ways to spice up the encounter. I always knew what I needed to do, but figuring out how to do it was the puzzle. I got excited any time a new boss encounter cropped up. Again that is telling of the quality behind the game design.

The visuals offer up the standard pixel format so many indies have adopted. However, here they are so well animated that it really stands out. The color palette is also bright and vibrant. Each area has its own unique style, and enemy designs are clever in that they telegraph how to defeat them based on design and movement. It’s brilliant. The music is eerily atmospheric and provides a nice counter to the visuals. The game just does so much so well it is hard to ignore.

Iconoclasts is a brilliant game that permeates from the amount of care and time put into it. It is by far one of the best of 2018, and I recommend everyone give it a go. It is now available on almost everything (still waiting on my XB1 version guys!) and even if you are as sick of the tried and true formula of so many other games in this genre, this one stands out. Yes it is worth noting that we are affiliated with the publisher, but I promise that has no bearing on my feelings for this game. It stands out above the crowd and deserves so much more attention than it is currently getting.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Beautiful animation
  • Extremely polished
  • Great boss fights
  • A little more linear than I had hoped
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.