Infernax is a new retro-inspired indie Metroidvania action platformer with several RPG elements. The game plays similar to a cross between Castlevania 2 Simon’s Quest and Zelda 2 The Adventure of Link. The game has some modern quality of life improvements but still features retro graphics and challenging gameplay. Check out our full Infernax review below and see if it is a Metroidvania worth playing!
What is the Infernax Plot about?
The plot of Infernax follows Alcedor, who is a duke that returns home to his kingdom after a long journey battling during the crusades. Unfortunately, after returning home he discovers that his homeland has been overrun by evil.
You go on a quest to end the corruption of the land and to rid your homeland of the evil cursing it. In order to rid the land of evil, you will have to take on several demons and foul beasts.
As you travel you’ll encounter several villages and you can help the local villagers with various quests for rewards to help you on your quest. You’ll also encounter an evil cult that plagues the land.
A very unique aspect of this game is that there are many choices you can make which will lead your hero down a path of good or evil. Depending on how you chose, the plot can change and it can lead to different spells and equipment you find.
The story is also told through various pixel art cutscenes which are a bit grotesque. The Infernax plot and story elements are definitely not for the faint of heart and the game certainly earns its mature rating even if it does just feature pixel art.
Infernax Gameplay – Retro Meets Metroidvania
Side-scrolling Metroidvania games have become quite popular on the indie video game scene and Infernax does it right. Infernax takes a retro-style game like Castlevania 2 Simon’s Quest and adds modern Metroidvania mechanics to make it more enjoyable.
First and foremost the game is an action platformer. You’ll travel across the map and take on vicious enemies like demons, skeletons, and zombies, with your weapons and spells. There are regular monsters you’ll have to challenge but also several more intense boss fights as you explore various castles and dungeons.
As you progress you’ll find additional spells, equipment, and abilities to expand your arsenal. On top of that, some of your spells, equipment, and items may change depending on if you choose to play the game as good or evil.
For example, you might gain a healing spell that restores your health, or you may get a spell that drains life from your enemies. Both spells restore your health, but one does it while harming enemies.
You’ll also gain experience as you kill enemies which you can use to power up your health, power, or mana. Each can reach a maximum level, but you can choose how you upgrade each to best suit your playstyle.
The game also has multiple difficulty modes depending on if you want to have the game be easier or more similar to retro classic action platformers.
Even though Infernax has retro graphics and plays like a classic action platformer, for the most part, the controls are surprisingly good. You’ll need to jump and dodge enemy attacks and dish out your own attacks and spells to get past enemies and bosses.
However, I did feel like some of the controls were a little more challenging that some Metroidvania games in recent years. In most Metroidvania games you’ll find various powerups that allow you to have more mobility and reach new areas. That part remains in Infernax but the additional mobility options are a bit more tricky to control than some action platformers.
For example, instead of having a double jump to reach high ledges, you have an upward thrust. You need to time your thrust just right in order to reach higher platforms. You’ll also need to jump off platforms and perform this upward thrust as you fall to duck under ceilings and propel yourself high enough to reach the next platform.
Another powerup is a sideways thrust that will propel your character horizontally for a significant distance. This is another challenging platforming element where you need to time the thrust just right or you’ll overshoot the platforms you are trying to reach.
These unique powerups can lead to some frustrating deaths as you explore dungeons. If you are playing on the harder difficulty you’ll likely need to play many parts of the same areas dying time and again until you master the platforming.
However, once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to breeze through early areas on a second playthrough. Just understand the controls do take some getting used to.
Infernax Graphics And Visuals
The graphics of Infernax are also retro-inspired, but the detail is much higher than in early retro classics. The base sprites of the game are similar to retro NES action platforming games but the colors and background details are more advanced.
With the graphics being more simplified, it does allow for most of the focus to be on the gameplay of the game. To me, graphics aren’t everything and the retro look is often actually an appealing feature of a game.
Infernax also has some pretty advanced pixel graphics in various cutscenes and when your character is forced to make good and evil choices in the game. These scenes can get pretty gruesome and brutal, which is how the game earns its M rating.
There is also blood and guts that spew out from enemies you kill as well as blood that will get all over your character the more enemies you kill. While the game does have a pixel art style it doesn’t mean it isn’t intense.
Infernax certainly pushes the limits of the pixel art graphics and does a great job showcasing the story and brutality in the game as well.
Quality of Life Improvements Compared To Similar Retro Classics
As I mentioned earlier, Infernax is similar to classic retro games like Castlevania 2 Simon’s Quest and Zelda 2 The Adventure of Link. These are great classic games, but some of their game mechanics haven’t aged well.
For example in Zelda 2 The Adventure of Link to cast most spells you need to open the menu and select a spell you want to use. In Infernax you can set a spell to one of your controller buttons and also quickly cycle through your spells with a push of a button. This allows you to stay in the action and still take advantage of your wide aresenel of spells when you need them.
Another improvement is the quest tracking feature. In many of these early retro Metroidvania-style RPG games, you talk to villagers and learn of a quest. Unfortunately, then you have to remember it on your own. In Infernax the game will list out your active quests will a little description of what you need to do. This is very helpful as you might have several active quests at once.
Getting lost can be a common issue in retro games. In Infernax, instead of wandering around aimlessly, you have a map. This map shows you key locations with area names and key features. This can help you find quests locations and know what areas villagers might be referring to. This can help prevent you from getting lost and help with quest completion.
The game also features the ability to warp between map save points once you acquire the spell to do so. This can help save you time backtracking. So when you need to buy an item you missed it is less frustrating.
What Is The Replay Value of Infernax like?
While most Metroidvania games don’t always have the highest replay value, Infernax has a lot of features to improve replayability. For starters, there is the good and evil mechanics within the game.
Throughout the game, you’ll be faced with many scenarios that give you a choice on what to do. For example, you might have a man that is about to transform into a monster and you can try and help him or put him out of his misery quickly.
Depending on your choices you might remain good or turn evil. These choices will alter the story in who you can befriend and also the spells you learn. The game ending can also change depending on how good or evil you are.
On top of that, the game has several different playable characters you can unlock. For example, you can play as a barbarian character, a wizard, and even a character with a machine gun. Each has its own unique abilities and playstyle which can have you playing the game multiple times.
Plus, after beating the game for the first time you’ll have a better handle on the controls and where to go. This makes a second playthrough shorter and it becomes more manageable. With all these factors going for you, Infernax definitely has a high replay value.
Overall, if you like Metroidvania games and retro action platformers, and RPG elements, you’ll likely really enjoy Infernax. The pixel graphics are simple, but the cutscenes of the game really bring out the story.
The RPG elements really make the game your own and keep the gameplay addicting. Bosses, enemies, and platforming are pretty challenging so it will really feel like an old-school game.
Thankfully Infernax also has a lot of quality-of-life improvements retro games don’t. Things like quickly using spells, a map, and fun level-up mechanics.
The good and evil mechanics and ability to play through the game as several different characters really improve the replayability. If you are looking for a fun Metroidvania that resembles retro classics I’d highly recommend playing Infernax!
Also, if you liked this Infernax review you’ll probably also like our post on the best free switch games.