I love it when games wear their love for Castlevania on their sleeve. Infernax, a game that was apparently kickstarted with a little more than $3,000 USD, strongly echoes the early entries of that series in terms of style and tone. Unlike the 8-bit Bloodstained games, however, it’s more in the vein of Simon’s Quest than anything else. I got to play a 30-minute preview of the game and, honestly, I very much wanted to keep playing once I was kicked back to the menu. Infernax is set to release this year, so let’s take a look at what it has on offer.
When Infernax begins, you’re prompted to start with a classic or easier difficulty. The classic difficulty takes you back to your last save when you die, while the other one gives you frequent checkpoints. I’m not going to lie, I did not choose the classic one. Save points aren’t exactly close to each other, and I wasn’t interested in being careful.
The game’s visual style is indeed similar to the NES classics, but it doesn’t attempt to actually look like an NES game. The color palette is too vibrant and it’s heavier in finer details, making it closer to a SNES or Genesis game.
As I said earlier, Infernax is very reminiscent of Simon‘s Quest. Of course, it’s made with more modern touches. Luckily, I absolutely don’t expect any “kneel on this screen to get spirited away by a random tornado” shenanigans. You play as a knight who is fighting to free his homeland from evil magic. It’s predictable, but games like this are never about the story. There are some neat pixel graphic story sequences that give a more cinematic look at certain things, too. The presentation is certainly in my wheelhouse, as I felt right at home with most of what the game seems to be going for.
Don’t call me Belmont
Gameplay is quite typical. This is a 2D sidescroller, after all, so you walk left and right while hitting enemies with your weapon. You can also equip and cast magic. Enemies grant experience points upon death, which can be used to upgrade three stats: health, damage, and magic points. I’m not sure if the game is actually structured like Simon’s Quest, though, as I didn’t get to see enough of the game to know how much linearity to expect, or if we’ll be finding ourselves going back and forth to reach new areas and items.
The controls and combat are what you’d expect, but everything during my brief playtime was satisfactory. Most of the build covers the game’s overworld, but during the last 10 minutes it had me walking through a dungeon as other knights were violently cut down by the demonic hordes. There are keys to find to open doors and the like as well, so it wasn’t a purely straight shot. The preview culminated in a boss battle against an unholy monstrosity.
Infernax hits all of the right notes in regards to throwback monster killing, that’s for sure. The only thing I didn’t like was how overly flash-heavy the game can be. It goes overboard with flickering lights during story bits, and photosensitive people should keep away for now. Still, I had a good time, and will be coming back for more if the flashes are cut down when the game releases later this year.