by February 25, 2022 @ 2:47 pm
Reviewed on Switch
It’s easy to fall in love with Infernax, Berzerk Studio’s lovingly crafted 2d action-adventure game. Very likely inspired by Zelda II and Castlevania, the game successfully hits those old school notes and delivers a wild ride from beginning to end. It’s something that would’ve felt right at home on the NES, but with a level of modern polish that’s undeniable and helps propel the game forward quite tremendously.
A Tale of Heroics and Horror
You’ve probably seen the setup of Infernax before. A small village is plagued by the ol’ doom and gloom, with folks left and right begging our hero for assistance. Even though the basic premise of the game is familiar, though, it takes some pretty wild twists and turns throughout the course of the adventure, which encourages you to dig deeper and entices you to help out optional NPCs you might otherwise ignore.
What I loved about Infernax in terms of its story and characters was how it delved into horror territory more than I initially expected. I thought for sure this would be a nice little fantasy adventure like the also-recently-released Swords & Bones, but the game seems to take more cues from different works of horror instead — including Evil Dead and the writing of H. P. Lovecraft — without being all that Lovecraftian, mind you.
While it’s hardly a Metroidvania, Infernax definitely tucks away some of its side quests behind special abilities and items that you earn later in the game. You’ll meet a character who’s possessed by an evil spirit early on, for example, but you won’t be able to help him until much closer to the end of the game.
A lot of the bosses you encounter have grotesque, demonic appearances. They’re quite horrific, and they look absolutely terrifying in all their bloody, pixelated glory. Speaking of which, there’s a lot of nice, bloody, splatter-y goodness in Infernax, so you can expect to see the player character covered in red pixels more often than not as you make your way to the end.
Army of Darkness Meets Zelda II
Infernax beautifully combines different gameplay and thematic styles to create an absolutely stunning experience. For me personally, the game brought back fond memories of Zelda II. It’s hack-y, it’s slash-y, and it’s quite challenging. Speaking of which, combat also has a little Souls-like vibe to it, requiring you to be methodical when you attack. Even though some enemies are tougher than others, it’s easy to get caught off-guard by even weaker grunt baddies.
Though it’s simple, the combat of Infernax is tight and feels great. The game also has a nice little upgrade system that allows you to boost your attack power, health, and mana. I upgraded mana the least during my playthrough, but even then, I found myself using magic abilities quite often. These include lightning that can kill all enemies onscreen, fast traveling to save shrines, and non-potion healing.
You’ll visit cool overworld areas with secrets hidden in a lot of places. In addition, the game’s dungeons are an absolute joy to run through and clear. They’re tough, for sure, but they’re really cool and will test you by throwing tough enemies and crazy obstacles at you.
Interestingly, Infernax lends itself to multiple playthroughs. There are different decisions you’ll make throughout the game that can affect the game’s finale. As such, exploring different options and making certain decisions can hold quite a bit of weight.
There are two difficulties to choose from when playing Infernax: Classic and Casual. The challenge is high regardless of which you select, though playing on Classic means if you perish during your travels, you’ll be sent to the last save shrine you visited and will lose all XP and gold gained after your previous save. Casual, on the other hand, lets you keep some XP and gold, and it grants you additional save points. You really can’t go wrong with either option, though I enjoyed the challenge of Classic mode quite a bit myself as it was super rewarding.
It’ll take you about eight or nine hours to play through the story of Infernax, but it doesn’t really end there — or it doesn’t have to, at least. There are multiple endings, hidden characters, and so many secrets to uncover that it’s worth it to play the game at least a couple times. Not to mention, some of your actions determine a good or evil alignment, which further changes how the game’s finale plays out, so there’s definitely plenty reason to revisit Infernax.
An Awesome Pixelated Adventure
Visually, Infernax utilizes a pixel art style that works really well. It’s like something you’d see on the NES, with fun, colorful level and character designs that look beautifully retro.
The sound design is also killer. There are great day and night overworld themes, as well as catchy dungeon tunes and creepy little chiptune songs. It all just sounds really great.
We may still be in the early parts of 2022, but Infernax is a wonderful little game that I truly hope is a sign of things to come in the indie sphere for the remainder of the year. It plays and looks great, it’ll sink its hooks into you, and it’s just an awesome and captivating action-adventure game that’s totally worth it. Seriously, you should play Infernax.
Score: 9 out of 10
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