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May 2022


Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: The Arcade Crew
Developer: Berzerk Studio
Release Date: Feb. 14, 2022


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Switch/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'Infernax'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Jan. 13, 2022 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

Infernax is a demon-bashing action adventure which coats a classically inspired fight against unholy magic with splatters of gore.

Sometimes a game needs a simple and straightforward concept. Infernax delivers. You play as a knight who returns from a quest to his homeland only to find that it is now something out of a horror film. Zombies roam the land, the villagers tremble in their homes, and evil is afoot. It's up to you to slay the evil and save the land.

At its core, Infernax is made to resemble Castlevania titles. The preview build had a lot more in common with the NES platformer style of the illustrious franchise, but it features side-quests and backtracking, so it has some Metroidvania elements. The basic gameplay involves walking, jumping, ducking, and swinging your mace to hit enemies. It's all very easy to pick up and play.

What you don't have is subweapons. Instead, you can buy usable items from stores or find magical spells that use up your MP bar. Spells are straightforward: Expend MP, get healed, or do damage. While MP is a limited resource, you can usually get more from enemy drops, so it's not a resource that you have to save for a boss room. Killing enemies earns EXP, which you can use to power up basic attacks or increase health or MP, so there's some flexibility in what you want to focus on.

Thankfully, Infernax doesn't seem to aim for NES-style difficulty. The game seems like it'll be challenging but fair. For example, there are floating Medusa head-style enemies, but their hit box is generous enough that it doesn't feel unfair if they hit you. You'll still die in a couple of hits and falling into lava is an instant game over, but you'll know that the mistake is yours. Dying allows you to restart in Hardcore (you return to your last save point and lose all progress) or Casual (you respawn at the start of the room you are in but can't choose Hardcore for the rest of the game) modes.

Infernax might resemble an NES game in style, but where it doesn't is gore. Even in our relatively short preview build, the game made it clear that it was not going to shy away from the red stuff. Explosions of blood, horrifying transformations, and disgusting deaths aplenty are part of the core concept. The game even goes all-out with certain details. Your character can end up blood-soaked after a battle, complete with different colors, depending on the monster you killed. Death also is an unpleasant affair. When you die, the game cuts to a red silhouette image, and the enemy who defeated you kills your character in an obscured-but-still-very-graphic way that is exclusive to that enemy.

There is even a moral choice system. Early on, you encounter a man who's obviously wracked by pain in the middle of a transformation and begging you to end his life. You can choose to kill him or pray for him. The latter means he transforms into a horrible monster you must fight, but it isn't clear if it has any other benefits (or negatives) further down the road. The game promises the game will remember these choices, and it seems likely that pure slaughter won't necessarily win you the day.

Overall, Infernax looks to be a fun little Castlevania-style platformer. There's clearly a lot of love put into the game, from the basic gameplay to the visuals. The platforming and combat felt solid in that delightful NES way. The sheer amount of gore might be intimidating, but the 8-bit graphics mean that even the squeamish may feel fine with it. We'll have to see when Infernax hits on Feb. 14, 2022.

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