Rats are not always welcome but they are always clever blighters and that proves to be the case as we find out in our Tails of Iron review. United Label Games and Odd Bug Studio have pulled together a 2D RPG Soulslike inspired game that lifts the rats from the sewers, works the brain and is far from vermin.
Tales of Iron Review – Don’t Rat on a Rat
Slice and Splice
It’s not often that you find yourself in a feudal rat kingdom where showing your fighting prowess is the way to move up the succession to the throne line but that is exactly what we have here and I reckon it’s a damn site more fun than doing it the British Royal family way!
I can honestly tell you that I was far from prepared to see my Dad murdered by frogs in front of my, well Prince Redgi’s, eyes. Prince Redgi is now King and he is one angry and vengeful rat who you must take control of to take back your kingdom from the frogs and mosquitoes and many more enemies that stand in your way.
I could tell you that there is plenty of depth to Tails of Iron but this is a game about quality over quantity and whilst it might not have the most depth of any game I have ever played this is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and that is part of its charm.
Running a country, making laws, being a role model to your subjects are the usual characteristics of your average King but not our Redgi. Slaughter you must and slaughter you shall.
The brief tutorial pits you against a dummy enemy as you learn to dodge, double roll and become a brutal killer before you set out to save your brothers who have been captured by frog warriors. I’ve never seen a frog and rat together in the wild and now I know why. They are sworn enemies and it will never end well!
Some of the enemies made me laugh especially the mosquitoes that have really sharp backsides and then there are those pesky frogs. From frogs with large, hard shields that are tough to kill to frogs with spears that seem rather over excited at times but as I say, this is not a game for serious minds but for those who want fun and a cracking time in a Soulslike kind of way.
You Crafty Devil
You do have to put some thought into your battles though, so when you come up against the spear wielding frogs it is a good idea to change your weapon to a spear and fight like for like. One of the bosses, the king of the mosquitoes took me an absolute age to defeat before I realised that I had a mosquito resistant armour at hand. Funnily enough that made all the difference. Always check your inventory folks because I didn’t and felt a fool.
A Bit on the Side
The main campaign comprises of mostly combat and if there is one thing that lets the game down slightly it is that the combat is not as varied as it could be and learning enemies moves doesn’t take too long to master meaning the longevity of the game is less than it could have been. However, side quests do make up for some of this as you are faced with escaping from a trap or rescuing castle workers for example. There are puzzle elements to the side quests and these add a decent amount of variation to your journey through the game.
Beating quests will earn you additional armour, weapons or food as well as currency that you can spend on upgrades. Every quest results in you gaining something useful and nothing is superfluous. A lot of attention and love has been poured into this game.
Paper, Scissors, Stone
Your main moves are attack, run, dodge and each move is easy to pick up. One neat mechanic is in certain fights where the enemy will have one of three different symbols over their heads. What you need to do is to react with the correct defensive move and this is one area that I feel is well put-together and keeps you on your toes.
A Good Looking Rat with a Touch of The Clangers
Tails of Iron looks great. It isn’t trying to be something it’s not and it has a feel of a 1980’s 2D scroling animation such as King Rollo or Mr Ben for those that are in their 40’s like me. Everyone else might need to check You Tube but what you need to know is that everything is drawn beautifully and wonderfully detailed such as the stairways and enemies. Each time you play you will spot something else such as the background animations with other enemies always looming.
There is a simplicity to the movement that adds to the appeal and the creators must have grown up watching programmes such as The Clangers as speech tends to be whistles and other strange sounds. For me it brought back happy childhood memories and I think it will make new ones for many others as well.
Warming the Cockles of My Heart
I do love a good bit of narration and when it works as it does here it is a joy with the narrator of the story being non other than Doug Cockle, the voice actor for Geralt of Riva in The Witcher. His narration is sultry, smoky and it fits perfectly with the fantasy style world that really does draw you in.
Tails of Iron Review – The Rat-ional Verdict
Whilst the combat can be samey it is also tightly constructed and is only a minor gripe in what is otherwise a highly polished game that looks great, sounds great and is just a joy to play.
Redgi is a hero and a legend that you won’t want to leave alone until he has his rightful place on his throne and his Father’s memory avenged.
This is one rat that is most welcome in any gamers home.
If you want to join in the gaming chat then please join our Discord chat today.