I can't remember the last time I encountered a game of such juxtaposition. Tails of Iron is one such case. Its art direction is welcoming and warm. But it's not something I would recommend to children, as behind the friendly facade lies an unrelenting and tough title. It's a dark tale that doesn't stop at words but puts its violent, a la Watership Down feel into effect through its gameplay. But is this enough to discourage us?

We move to the Rat Kingdom, where the old king feels the end is near and is preparing to appoint one of his children as his heir. As tradition dictates, anyone can take the succession as long as they are skilled in battle and can outlast the other contenders. Our hero, Redgi, is neither large nor particularly experienced. Nevertheless, he is particularly courageous and does not hesitate to a contest for the throne, facing his brother who is the head of the royal guard. But things will not turn out the way we expected. The armies of the filthy Frogs, who were driven out many years ago, blinded by revenge, invade the Rat Kingdom and plunder and slaughter without mercy. Out of the wreckage, however, Redgi emerges and faces the harsh reality. Bodies everywhere with the smell of blood making him nauseous... His father is dead while his brothers are missing. Here is his chance to prove he has what it takes to lead his people and rebuild the kingdom from the ashes.

The calm before the storm...
A journey of 1000 corpses begins with a single battle.

The graphics are of course the aspect that steals the show right from the start. With the art direction, the multi-layered environments and the detail of the landscapes, even if it's just sewers (mice, sewers and I can already see one of our esteemed readers getting triggered), it all contributes to an enchanting, fairy-tale setting that masterfully hides the stench of death underneath. There's no way you won't stop on several occasions to admire the backdrops. Just be careful not to get distracted during the battle ( more on that later on). The sound of Tails of Iron is excellent. Not so much for the soundtrack which is good but is just there in the background (mostly some minimalist folk compositions with the exception of the boss battles). But for the presence of the great Doug Cockle as the narrator. There may be no proper voice over on the characters and the voices of the cute rodents may sound like something between whistles and woodwind instruments sounds, but Geralt of Ratvia (sorry, I had to do that) really enhances the presentation of the game. What is certain is that without his distinctive voice commenting on the action, Tails of Iron would, in no way, have the same feel.

The environments contribute to the fairytale aesthetic of the title.

More than once we have seen the term souls-like being misused. I have noticed something similar happening here. Yes the combat has above average difficulty and is demanding, but that's not enough to categorize Tails of Iron as such. At the core of the gameplay are, as you may have realised, encounters with the various creatures in the game - yes there are other dangers out there besides the Frogs. Even the skirmishes with ordinary enemies require player concentration, because if you are careless and overconfident, you'll be decimated, before even realizing it. Even more so if we're talking about the game's numerous well-designed bosses. Stamina is non-existent but that doesn't mean we can spam evasion moves and attacks. Most enemy patterns, unlike our moves, cannot be interrupted. The logic of the game is therefore not something we haven't seen before: we observe our opponents' patterns and adopt the appropriate offensive or defensive strategy.

The red lines indicate an attack that cannot be blocked by our shield.

Our speed and movement response depend on the equipment we wear. Expectedly with light equipment the roll covers more ground, we can raise our shield faster, etc. The game quite conveniently gives us clues as to whether we should parry with the shield, get out of the way, etc. Generally in most cases the reaction times needed are quite generous. If we add to this the fact that the bench-save spots are quite close to each other, Tails of Iron all in all provides a fair challenge. The other stat that our equipment has is Defense, for armor, helmets, etc. and Attack for weapons. There's a third parameter on armour, Resistance to specific groups of enemies, which is of course quite useful if we know what's coming up ahead.

Overall the sense of character progression is reminiscent of Legend of Zelda-type of games, though the variety in equipment is closer to Metroidvania titles. Although the map in Tails of Iron does allude to such, it's fairly linear. This isn't necessarily a negative, but unfortunately the constant backtracking to the same places - the much needed variety in locations is late to make an appearance - can get tiresome. Contributing to this are the side quests, which, unlike the enjoyable combat system, are completely rudimentary and don't stray from the "go there, collect this many items or kill that creature and return for the reward" design. Combined with the very limited secrets and points of interest to discover, it ultimately makes for quite a strong sense of repetition, even though the game barely reaches 10-12 hours for full completion. Perhaps it's better that way, though.

The simplicity of the quests is reminiscent of times of old. Tails of Iron is a game of contrasts, indeed...

Tails of Iron, while no doubt made with passion, needed some more attention in a few more places to be called classic. In regards to exploration and plaeyr freedom, I believe they could have done more without sacrificing the narrative aspect of the adventure. As it stands, it's a nice action-adventure with an emphasis on combat, and one whose combat system other representatives of the genre wish they had. We hope it proves successful so that we can see a more ambitious sequel at some point.

RATING - 80%


Rats, ah whoah

It is good but leaves you with a bittersweet taste that it could have offered more.

Παναγιώτης Μητράκης

As a kid of the 80's, he began his journey into gaming with coin-ops and the classic Game Boy. He found some respite with his beloved SNES and got into PC gaming in 1998, with landmark games like Half-Life and Baldur's Gate. He doesn't steer clear of (almost) any genre but has a predilection for RPGs and survival horror and tries to introduce others to Silent Hill, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and the creations of Looking Glass and Obsidian.


  1. Ωραίο άρθρο.

    Στο δεύτερο screenshot που γράφεις “ένα ταξίδι 1000 πτωμάτων…” εννοείς του παίχτη;

  2. [QUOTE=”bald_killer_clone, post: 584336, member: 103348″]
    Στο δεύτερο screenshot που γράφεις “ένα ταξίδι 1000 πτωμάτων…” εννοείς του παίχτη;

    [QUOTE=”maximum armor, post: 584339, member: 104076″]
    …ή ότι 1000 είναι οι αντίπαλοι του παιχνιδιού;
    Δε σας ξέχασα, αλλά ήθελα λίγο ελεύθερο χρόνο να ψάξω για το περιοδικό που το είχα δει.

    [SPOILER][ATTACH type=”full”]2752[/ATTACH][/SPOILER]

    Το οποίο με τη σειρά του είναι παράφραση του γνωστού [URL=’’]Κινέζικου ρητού[/URL].

    Σε άλλα νέα, κυκλοφόρησε δωρεάν περιεχόμενο για το παιχνίδι


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