By Josh Speer / September 8th, 2019
Infernax is one of the many games I played at PAX West which I wasn’t able to schedule a demo for. Most of those games were an utter delight, and Infernax was no exception. Developed by Berzerk Studio, the wonderfully creative minds behind the frenetic Just Shapes & Beats, it’s a very different game from that musical masterpiece.
I hope you love pixel art as much as I do, cause there’s a ton of it here. Infernax was decidedly inspired by some controversial cult classic NES games, specifically Castlevania II and Zelda II. I’m really glad I finally got around to playing one of those classics before trying Infernax, since it meant I understood what the game was trying to accomplish. Namely, Infernax is trying to take the stigma away from Castlevania II and Zelda II, and rework them into a more functional and entertaining experience. Which isn’t the same as easy, cause I got my but handed to me more than once as I played Infernax. The key difference is, it was mostly due to my own incompetence, instead of falling through an invisible floor.
One of the ways this homage differs from its inspiration is that you can cast spells in the game. But worry not, there’s still a day / night cycle like in Castlevania II, though I wasn’t able to experience it in the demo. There’s also a Fate system, where your actions will affect how things progress. I got a taste of this when I faced a poor blighted villager. He asked me to put him to rest, and I was given a choice to pray for him or smash his face in. I did what I thought was the right thing and prayed, and suddenly the villager started moaning horribly and transformed into a nightmarish boss monster. After putting the beast down, I liberally dosed myself with his blood, bashing his head in just for good measure. After all, the monster isn’t truly dead until it’s pulped!
There’s great artwork in the game, and I really loved the gory and intense nature of things, especially the cutscene animations. While I wasn’t able to get past the second boss in the game, I am excited by Infernax. Especially since it’s slated to release sometime in 2020 on Steam and consoles. And while they haven’t specified which consoles yet, I got to demo the game on a Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. If you love edgy, unique and interesting fare, you should stay tuned for more coverage of Infernax. I know I’ll be paying close attention!
Berzerk StudioCastlevania II: Simon's QuestgoryInfernaxoprainfallPAX West 2019RetroZelda II: The Adventure of Link