Iconoclasts Review

In Iconoclasts, all Robin wants to do is help people. Fix their homes. Fix their vehicles. Fix anything that’s broken and get it to work again.

In Iconoclasts, all Robin wants to do is help people. Fix their homes. Fix their vehicles. Fix anything that’s broken and get it working again.

What is really out of order though is the society in which Robin lives. The democratic government has been supplanted by an ominous religious authority whose beliefs are now law. One Concern soldiers enforce those laws arresting, imprisoning and even executing citizens at will.

As a self-taught, innate mechanic with no government licence, Robin is not permitted to do what she loves to do, what she was born to do. So, she has to ply her trade discretely using her specialized wrench to better the lives of those around her.

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Robin’s moral battle turns into a full-blown bloody revolution as she joins a movement to remove One Concern from power and free the people from the group mind-think that’s stifling liberty and freewill.

Iconoclasts’ message may seem a bit heavy for a simple action platformer but Iconoclasts is anything but simple. A homage to old school platformers, the game has been a labour of love for developer Joakim Sandberg. Sandberg spent seven years making his dream a reality and it was certainly time well spent. Sandberg uses traditional platformer hallmarks as bricks in the foundation for his own unique vision.

When it comes to platformers, I grew up with everything from Mario to Sonic to Crash Bandicoot to Adventure Island. I have since transcended the let’s-take-10-hours-to-make-this-ONE-jump style of games. Thankfully, Iconoclasts is nothing like those at all. Its focus is on puzzles rather than timing. While many of the riddles require Robin to use her wrench in resourceful ways, she must also blast away at tricky and vicious creatures, shift blocks around to reach inaccessible areas and battle ruthless bosses.

Even though I have experienced all of these elements before, the way Sandberg has integrated them is fresh and charming. The level design, characters, themes and the soundtrack itself bring back memories of all of those iconic games that shaped so many of our childhoods while also showcasing the best of modern gaming in every way.

Although Iconoclasts is an impressive and inventive action platformer, its spirited celebration of individuality is what gives the game a heart and a soul. Its message rings true especially today in a world where individualism is under threat. A world in which a wide spectrum of political groups are trying to stifle creativity and dissenting voices, forcing and shaming people into marching in step with them instead of making their own decisions and following their own hearts. Robin and Iconoclasts is a hero and a game our time needs.

A thought-provoking theme.
Fantastic soundtrack.
Brains over reflexes.
All the best of yesterday’s and today’s platformers.
If puzzles aren’t your thing, you had better move on.

Review Summary

An inspired homage incorporating the best of the past while including the best of what makes the platforming genre so timeless.

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