Upon first seeing the trailer of Infernax I couldn’t help fall in love. The game just screamed the manga Berserk to me, and with the studio that created the game called Berzerk Studio maybe it was a bit too on the nose. That’s how I felt then but how would I feel after sinking a few hours into this crazy game?
I have to admit starting that I am not a fan of really hard games anymore. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990’s I played a fair few and I think I have paid my dues. I am older and have less time for the Dark Souls, and Bloodborne’s these days. Saying that when I first started Infernax I did feel that dread. I was getting butchered more than I liked and I wasn’t having fun.
In Infernax you play as Alcedor. A knight who has returned home from the crusades to find his land overrun by deadly monsters. Pretty standard stuff really for this type of game. Think Castlevania II and you’ve hit the jackpot. The thing that Infernax does better is the over-the-top gore elements. The little cut-scenes when you die are horrendously funny. Also, it has some choice-based narrative sprinkled in there. This caught me by surprise, especially the first one that made me do a little involuntary fart.
Infernax’s gameplay is truly what makes this a good game. The different difficulty levels were a godsend. I mostly played on “Classic mode” as I said above, I just don’t do Hard modes anymore. Playing it, you get more frequent save points, you retain XP and gold as well. It’s great because it doesn’t make the actual enemies or dungeon platforming easier. They are still a pain in the rear but more manageable for all the dying I do. It just feels fair, unlike other newer games.
Balls to the wall
Infernax is like two different games. Up until completing the first dungeon, it is very repetitive. Most enemies have a simple fight pattern: block, get one or two swings in, block again, kill, move on. This can get very tedious as there are loads of minor skeletons, Zombies, etc… everywhere. After you’ve beaten your first dungeon in the game, it’s a whole different animal. You can start buying upgrades to your health, which means getting hit a few times isn’t such a big deal. Also spending XP on more damage and magic means you can smash through these little fights quicker and they feel less of a chore.
After you see and fight your first boss you just want to get the rest. The designs are just brilliant and what I came for. They are twisted and grotesque and yes I am going to say it again, very Berserk. It is just a pity that there aren’t that many but in a way, it makes the length of the game just right. The dungeons are difficult but short and look great. They are typical 2D, 8-bit side scroller dungeons. Some lava platform jumps, loads of monsters and spike falls. The reward is killing the bosses and opening those sealed doors.
The only real gripes I had, gameplay-wise was with the jumping. You can only jump very high. There’s no way to jump just a little bit by quickly tapping the button. This was very annoying especially when you are jumping platform to platform over lava. You couldn’t just judge the jump, I found myself overjumping and trying to float back in time. The other annoying thing was the lack of any manual in the options. You kind of have to have either played these types of games before or just figure things out. It took me a while to figure out how to block for instance. Like come on, it’s a small thing just stick one in there.
Survive the first hour or so in Infernax and things get bloody very fast. If you are looking for a bit of a challenge and that old retro feel then give it a shot. I won’t disappoint. Plus maybe try out the old Konomi code on the menu screen.