There is an overabundance of retro-inspired games but here's Infernax; an indie that does quite a decent job of bringing back the past.
Infernax tells the simple story of a knight who's trying to save the kingdom from evil magic that is plaguing its citizens by turning them into monsters and zombies and stuff. You can name this knight whatever you want and the default is Alcedor so we'll just call him that. Anyway, Alcedor's adventure will have him traverse the lands while conquering 5 castles on his quest to shatter their seals by defeating the bosses within. Then, the source of the evil magic will be revealed and Alcedor will hopefully save the kingdom once and for all. v1d30chumz 3-238-199-4
The campaign within Infernax is structured similarly to Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and there's a dash of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link thrown in for good measure. However, this adventure isn't even close to as cryptic as those classic NES games which is a good thing. That being said, it does have similarly stiff controls with the most annoying part being jumping. Sure, you had little jump control in the old Castlevania games but here, you jump very high and there's no way to jump just a little bit by quickly tapping the button. This can be rather cumbersome, especially when you want to hop a short distance. On the plus side, the boss fights are unique and satisfying; definitely the highlight of the journey. In a way, they act as a great payoff for trudging through the mostly dull game world.
Now that I mention it, Infernax has a very small map and the handful of dungeons are quite limiting, too, as I completed the whole game within a few hours while doing most of the side-quests. The surprising thing is that even though it's a small world, you'll see plenty of repeated room layouts over and over again which is just lazy game design. On the other hand, there are some truly enjoyable quests to take on throughout your adventure and you'll occasionally be prompted with decisions that can result in devastating or rewarding consequences. Because of that, you'll want to play through Infernax at least twice. Plus, you may discover different endings. 🤫
Game Wizard codes
Infernax includes a menu option that allows you to enter codes via the Game Wizard which is an homage to the Game Genie cheat device that was popular in the '90s. If you give this game a go, enter these codes to unlock some cool treats:
You can also play as a few bonus characters by entering the Konami code at the title screen (↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A Start) and inputting your name as AXCEDOR or GARDAKAN. Leave a comment below if you know any more codes! 😊
As I mentioned, Infernax is clearly inspired by a couple of classic NES games and it does an excellent job of emulating the feeling of playing those games. The "just one more go" level of challenge and the stiff controls actually make it an impressively nostalgic experience. Heck, it even features a day/night cycle that interrupts the gameplay like it does in Simon's Quest. On the downside, this also means that Infernax doesn't have much to offer when it comes to its own identity. The only aspect that stands out is its over-the-top violence which is funny at first but it wears thin quickly thus making this nostalgia trip lose a large part of what makes it unique in the process.
One element that I enjoyed is how there is a load of secrets to discover throughout the game world. Although it's a short journey before the end credits roll, you'll gladly keep playing in order to discover more hidden treats and Easter eggs. As you do so, one issue will get in the way which is the fact that Infernax inexplicably crashes occasionally and even booting the game up in the first place can require many attempts. I'm not sure if this is an Xbox One issue or if it will be patched but holy hot darn, was it irritating whenever I couldn't start the game up. Once, I got up to answer the phone mid-game and when I got back, I was at the Xbox main menu. What?! 😠
Infernax is an authentic retro experience and for that, I commend it. However, it could have gone from good to great if more work went into fleshing out its game world, tweaking its stiff controls, and ironing out its severe technical issues.
- + Challenging old-school gameplay that copies its inspirations well
- + Unique boss fights and quests
- + Lots of clever secrets to find
- - Besides over-the-top violence, it doesn't do much to forge its own identity
- - Small and repetitive game world
- - Stiff controls / frequent crashes