It’s been a long, long time since the XBox Live Arcade and Playstation Network Store first launched. Retro inspired games have been crowding the market stalls of these (and other) storefronts ever since, so it’s a bit difficult to come up with a package compelling enough to entice gamers and overcome “8-bit fatigue”. Does “Iron Crypticle” succeed? Let’s find out.
This is very much an arcade experience, so there’s very little in terms of story. You really are here for the gameplay, and once again, TIKIPOD delivers in spades.
In this arcade-style twin-stick, single-screen shooter, you go from room to room, clearing them of enemies, overcoming bosses, and collecting loot. There’s tons of loot to collect, a lot of upgrades for your character(s) to achieve (you can play solo or with up to 3 other people), and a really good variety of enemies. There’s the odd color-swap present, but for the most part, I found “Iron Crypticle” to have tons of content.
You do have the “New Game” mode, but after completing that, you get access to “New Game +”, which grants you new rooms, new bosses, and of course, a tougher difficulty and better loot. Sounds like a good time? It is! There’s a shop where you can buy stuff, and ability upgrades which will help you defeat the tougher bosses.
This is an arcade game after all, so the key to enjoying and succeeding at “Iron Crypticle” is chasing the score and the loot. For this, food pickups are key and you are really required to pay attention to these to keep the chain going and the multiplier at the max. While you can “finish” the game in a few hours, if you want to collect everything the game has to offer, you’ll have to invest a bit more time. Experienced players are looking at 3-4 hours, while more casual gamers will invest north of 5 hours to max things out.
The pricing, as usual, is another great thing about this TIKIPOD release: you get a lot of game for $9.99. If you’re interested in more TIKIPOD games, my personal favorite is “Rock Boshers DX”, which is also available on the Nintendo Switch, and which I reviewed a couple of months ago (you can read the review here).
Anything negative about it? Well, I did find the music repetitive, and considering you’ll be spending your time going over rooms and collecting goodies, it can get tiring. I’m also on the fence about retro-inspired graphics now, and I wonder how much this type of visual presentation will affect games moving forward. I personally think that, maybe, switching to cell-shading or low-poly graphics might be a good palate cleanser, and incite gamers to try new games.
Other than that, TIKIPOD has delivered another great arcade experience, and those looking for a good time, either by themselves or with up to 3 friends, should definitely look at “Iron Crypticle”.