By Steve Baltimore / March 11th, 2022
|Publisher||The Arcade Crew|
|Release Date||February 14th, 2022|
|Platform||Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Switch|
When I first saw Infernax, I thought this was a great modern day take on Castlevania 2. I really had no idea what I was in store for when I took it on for review. I’ve done a couple of playthroughs, and messed around with a few Easter eggs, so it’s time to share my thoughts on this one. Did this bring back great memories of my childhood, or remind me of how frustrating NES games were? Let’s find out.
The story of Infernax is a simple one. A great knight returns to his homeland to find it has been invaded by demonic creatures. He will now take up arms to defeat these creatures and reclaim this land. The many choices you make throughout this tale will shape how the story plays out. If you do good deeds, you will gain favor from town folks, and different storylines and quests will open up. You can always go the evil route and gain favors from the monsters as well, who have their own tasks that need completing. These choices will have a great impact on the ending you receive as well, so there is a lot of replay value here.
The gameplay here is exactly what you expect from a game that is paying tribute to Castlevania 2. You navigate through many side scrolling areas, defeating enemies in order to progress. You start off with a basic mace and simple armor, but these can be upgraded when you find something better. Players will gain XP and Gold from each kill. You can use the gold to buy items and spells, and XP will build up your basic attributes: Life, Magic, and Strength. There are a few puzzles you will encounter along the way, and you will have to explore each area to find the skills, magic spells, and other things you need to move forward. If you talk to the people in town, you won’t have too much of an issue figuring out what do next at any given point. There is nothing too cryptic here, just like in our favorite retro games.
I want to stress, while things here seem very basic, the team has done a great job of throwing a lot of spice into the mix. The pixel art cutscenes for the bosses and story encounters are top notch, and there is a ton of off beat humor thrown into this game which I love. This is something I feel has been missing from gaming for a long time. The only real complaint I have in the gameplay department, is some of the platforming was a bit too much for me. Thankfully, there are couple of different difficulty settings, and if you get really stuck, there’s a cheat menu you can use. These cheats can be turned on and off at any save point. There are some other goodies that can be unlocked in that menu as well, such as extra gore, paint ball mode, a jet pack, and even a chainsaw.
I could gush more about the amazing pixel graphics here, but I feel like I should give the amazing soundtrack a nod as well. Every track here is chiptune gold. If you can purchase the soundtrack for Infernax, you should do so. The day and night themes are both wonderful and really get you in the spirit of exploration, while the fast-paced boss themes pump you up for the hard fights ahead. The sound team should be really proud of what they accomplished here. The sound effects are great as well. They have that nice retro style to them, but are modern enough that they fit right in with games made today. The splatting sounds are the ones that really amped up the immersion here.
Infernax is one of the best indie games I’ve played in a long time. It’s a great throwback to not only Castlevania 2, but other great NES games from my childhood as well. The gameplay here is solid, the story is fun and humorous, and there are plenty of extra goodies to keep players coming back for more. The game is a bit on the difficult side, but there are plenty of fun options to play the game as you want to. Infernax can be completed in about 4 hours, but with all the extra endings, the replay value here is high. I feel like this one is well worth the $19.99 asking price for anyone who loves games in this style, or older gamers looking for a throwback from their childhood.
Game was provided by the publisher for review.
Berzerk StudioIndieInfernaxPCReviewsSteamThe Arcade Crew