Iron Danger review 2023

Iron Danger review 2023

Iron Danger is a real-time isometric turn-based RPG. If you are well versed in game genres, then you understand that such a combination is impossible. You can not combine real-time combat and turn-based combat, the maximum is an active pause. But the developers of Action Squad Studios managed to do this, turning the infamous save game into the basis of game mechanics.

Saves scumming is the abuse of the save system to get the desired result in the game. For example, it is used for well-aimed shots in X-COM or passing skill tests in Fallout. To do this, players are saved before the crucial moment and re-pass it as much as necessary. However, developers have been trying for many years to fight saves — they prohibit and limit conservation, determine probabilities in advance, or simply ridicule users.

Postal Dude
Postal Dude:

“Even my grandmother could have passed this game, if only as much as you had been saved!”

The action of Iron Danger takes place in a fictional fantasy-steampunk world. The game begins when enemy troops attack the village of the protagonist Kipuna. Escaping from them, the girl falls into the cave, where her heart is pierced by a magic crystal. From this moment, Kipuna is stuck between life and death, which determines the whole gameplay.

Set yourself on fire with your own fireball – pretend it never happened

Mostly Iron Danger runs in real time, but when opponents are detected, the game is paused and turns into a kind of turn-based tacticsbut not completely. There is still a breakdown into “steps”, but there is no order of actions. From the side it seems as if the user is playing Divinity: Original Sinand his opponents in Diablo.

During the battle, the player can move freely within 14 heartbeats of Kipuna – each of them corresponds to half a second and acts as action points. For example, to hit an opponent, you need two heartbeats, which means that the attack will take one second. At the same time, enemies are not tied to this system.

On the seventh move, there are two hits. Next time at this moment, you will need to put a block instead of an attack

Usually in games, to block a hit or dodge it, you need to guess the moment. Iron Danger is simpler in this regard. It is enough to wait for the attack and see what move it took. We rewind time at the right moment, put the block, and life is saved. With the same success, you can dodge or even hit the enemy while he is swinging. Have you missed? No problem. We return, wait half a second, so that the enemy comes closer, and we beat for sure.

In the same Divinity: Original Sin would have to endlessly save and load in order to do such tricks. And still it would not be that. In turn-based games, the parties are on an equal footing, and opponents adapt to the actions of the hero. Here they often do not have enough time for this. Under favorable conditions, you can even dodge arrows.

Sometimes it’s easier to hit the enemy in advance rather than blocking

It may seem that save mechanics overly simplifies the gameplay, but this is not so, at least in the first two hours of the game, which were available in the preview version. Opponents never attack alone or in turn, and still actively alternate melee and ranged attacks, so avoiding all strikes is very difficult. But you still have to try, because many enemies can kill with a couple of shocks.

As a result, every skirmish in Iron Danger turns into a kind of puzzle. Of course, in one way or another, this is characteristic of all games – e3 or e4, A or B. However, in this case, the RPG came close to the genre of puzzles. The player will need to make an ideal battle plan, and for this you will need to slowly check the most different ways and accurately calculate all the actions. In the end, you can simply admire how the heroes, without a single scratch, get out of a seemingly hopeless mess. Something reminiscent of how falling dominoes create a pattern.

On a journey, Kipunu is accompanied by the Marsh Warrior. There were no other satellites in the preview version

On the basis of two hours, it is difficult to say how the basic mechanics will manifest itself in the long term and whether the developers will be able to keep the gameplay fun and moderately complicated to the very end. So far, the biggest claims to the technical side are – even by the standards of incomplete projects, the preview version has optimization problems and a lot of bugs. On the other hand, the game does not even have a release date, so there is still time to rectify the situation.

Traditional RPG elements also do not look very impressive so far – there is no equipment and variability of dialogs, and the skill system is simple and not very diverse. But it is clear that there will be many enemies – animals, magical creatures, people, and even Stipank bellows.

Iron Danger is a very ambitious project that, if it does not revolutionize turn-based tactics, it can certainly compete for a place in the history of the genre. Manipulation of time is integrated into the realities of RPG organically and is very refreshing after many similar games. However, the current technical condition, coupled with a small track record of developers, raises serious concerns.