• August 18, 2021

Indie ratcapade Tails Of Iron is Dark Souls and Redwall

I had to write guides for Dark Souls III, so I’m in a position to be acceptable playing Soulslikes games, without being mad at them. I appreciate the art involved and the achievement of being cool with them, but I’m not usually in the mood for a game to be completely bad for me.

Tails Of Iron tricks you into thinking it’s not petty, because it’s a nice 2D realm of little rats playing like Clangers (because, producer and designer Jack Bennett told me, they tried to squeak and it was too annoying). Oh so sweet! You can give your little rat armor and a sword! They think they are people! Oh. OMG, I just ripped the intenstines off a giant frog that was trying to crush me. My God.

The description of the game includes words like “brutal”, but there is a very deliberate change, which I was able to experience in the first 40 minutes of the game in a practical preview. You start out as Redgi, the rat prince heir, running through your rat father’s pretty castle, learning how to make consumables in the kitchens and receiving instructions from a cute white rat named Dug who has an adorable little hat. The citizens are happy and celebrating! However, a sudden trident impaled later, and you’re wandering over heaps of bodies, having flashbacks of watching Animals Of Farthing Wood as a kid and suffering from the same sudden pitch shift. I need an adult!

There are many Dark Souls in the DNA here. There is a kind of feature of this flask, and the salvage fires are benches with little lanterns where you can sit and rest. Taking a hit in a fight is relentless on your HP. You fight enemy types you learn to recognize and giant bosses with telegraphed attack patterns and fighting phases that become more difficult as their health decreases. You need to balance the weight of your gear and the relative speed and range of your weapons with how effective you want your dodge to be. I was able to try a sword and a spear, being the fastest spear and with the longest range, but with less damage. You have played games before; you get it.

Later in the game you can create real weapons. You can also create armor and go on side quests, and there are execution animations for different enemies, and … as I told my brother before shoving him into a pond, “I don’t know, this seems surprisingly deep.”

But Tails Of Iron is also more forgiving in some places. You can refill your little jar of health by killing yellow beetles in the environment and collecting some of their delicious innards, although be careful, because the larger ones will attack you. Tails Of Iron is 2D, severely limiting the angles from which an enemy can attack you, so once you’ve figured out the tolerances of what hits where and when, timing makes sense more quickly. Attacks that are unblockable and attacks that you can parry to great effect are highlighted in different colors. You can launch smaller enemies long distances with a timely parry. There are guts, but they are illustrated and feel more like a medieval diagram.

However, it would be unfair to call it a baby’s first Bloodborne. In the preview I played, there were always some mobs in a boss fight, trying to divide your attention. I had to keep looking back at the archers positioned higher up, so I could turn to block their arrows at the last second and still have time to back off and block an attack from a trident-wielding myrmidon frog on the other. side. In the big boss fight I was faced with, where a large, sturdy frog in armor tried to hit me with area-of-effect hits, I first had to dispatch a little weed man with a knife, leaving me exposed to reckless damage. dodge.

Redgi, the rat prince in Tails Of Iron, in a kind of thunder dome situation in a green-lit underground arena, facing a giant mole that looks like a heavy mob enemy, and a smaller mole that looks like the wrestler Rey Mysterio, who is running at him with a halberd

Enemy designs are different and have good footprints, which also helps. Bennett revealed that the game’s main character rats are based on the director’s former pet rats. I asked him what his problem with frogs was, and he used the term “inherent evil” (although he was laughing when he said it, which is good because it’s exactly the kind of anti-amphibian propaganda that will give you a stern look from Nate. Crowley). But they provide a good contrast for rats. Crouched and hairy versus long legged and wet. I understand.

Overall though, I’d say Tails Of Iron looks like it’s shaping up to be a version of Dark Souls for those of you who’d rather not spend hours doing the in-game equivalent of crashing into a brick wall until you get strong enough. to overcome said wall. With its expected 10-hour runtime, it doesn’t feel like a diluted Soulslike as much as one if you’re gutted and have to get the containers out and vacuum the same night you want to gut someone. . In other words: I like it. Especially since I think one of the later bosses is a mole based almost directly on the Rey Mysterio fighter, which is definitely something I have to see in person.

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