Infernax Review – Should You Check out this Xbox Game Pass Game?
Infernax is a retro-inspired, 8-bit, side-scrolling action platformer. I’ll throw the phrase Metroidvania out there because it includes those elements, but word on the internet is that this is the version of Castlevania II Simon’s Quest should have been, with a dash of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Personally, I’ve never played any of those old games. I started with a Super Nintendo (SNES) and those games were, unfortunately, never on my radar.
After recently watching the Castlevania Netflix series, I started playing Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow on the Castlevania Advance Collection, and fell in love. Always looking for new games to check out, I found Infernax free on Xbox Game Pass.
Duke Alcedor the knight returns home after The Crusades to find his homeland has now been infested by monsters, demons, and the undead. Controlling Alecdor you battle your way across the map (towns, dungeons, bosses, and tons of secrets), and as you progress you gain: new abilities, spells, weapons, and armor upgrades while also leveling up your damage, health, and mana through gained experience.
Your progress is sometimes halted due to no way to advance…or so it may seem. I mentioned Metroidvania earlier because as you gain new skills (high jump, long dash) you can return to these areas to continue your adventure. Luckily the game world isn’t too large so backtracking isn’t too much of a pain (I also completely missed unlocking a teleport spell that would have made this less of a hassle).
Infernax gameplay is solid. Alcedor controls really well; his attack and jump feel great!
Infernax is attempting to emulate NES-era games in this genre, and while these were design choices, I think it would have benefited from some minor quality-of-life improvements. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate what they’re going for in a retro-inspired game, but there is a reason why I didn’t stick with playing many older games — the difficulty and frustration.
Many old games have a lack of instruction on what to do or where to go next, very basic map functions, etc. Infernax I felt, could have given us a bit more information. The map is great, but I would sometimes forget the location of important merchants or which town had the NPC with the new spell I wanted to buy but didn’t have enough gold for. It would have been nice to have a map that highlighted this information, but these were minor inconveniences that weren’t a deterrent to my fun.
Alcedor’s Holy Charge (dash attack) was my one negative, as I thought it was pretty annoying to use. Holding the attack button and releasing it when Alcedor glows allows you to unleash a horizontal mace attack that shoots Alcedor a bit too far for my liking. The majority of the later dungeons require the use of this skill and it very easily overshoots your desired landing spot, usually ending in an instant death due to falling into lava or water. As an attack, it would sometimes slide me right into an oncoming enemy attack, not killing them and damaging me in the process. I reserved this skill for platforming only.
Difficulty-wise, I didn’t find Infernax to be that difficult. I defeated the majority of the bosses in a single try; it was the dungeons leading up to bosses where I found difficulty (the platforming). There are some difficult runs to get through; moving platforms, spiked bricks, and enemies that LOVE to stand right on the edge and knock you into instant death-liquid. While I would get a little frustrated with these sequences, finally getting past them and on to the boss, actually felt quite rewarding.
And to be fair — I’m a filthy casual. I quickly moved from Classic difficulty to Casual. Classic, even though it’s the intended difficulty, I wanted no part of it and its: less save points, no checkpoints, lose your experience and gold upon death. Switching or Starting on Casual mode was the way for me, as it was the polar opposite (plus you start with an extra life).
The beginning of the game is a bit difficult on either mode, due to low health and low damage. The late-game was actually the opposite, as running around with the OP Holy Light spell, having max health, max damage, the best mace, and best armor in the game left me as a walking death-tank.
Infernax just always kept me interested. There was always a new sidequest line to do, a decision to make, a side-boss to fight. I haven’t had this much fun with a game in probably years.
Choice plays a big part in Infernax. Decisions you make put you on a path of good or bad and these are actually pretty significant, as they open or sometimes close different spells, questlines, and bosses.
I finished with a “good” run and then realized there were a few more quests to do that would allow me to see the Ultimate Good final castle, and face the true good-line end boss.
Infernax has a lot of replay value since it has tons of secrets. I’ll go into these in detail in a future post, but know that Infernax includes:
- Multiple branching paths
- Multiple endings
- Unlockable characters
- Cheat Codes
Game length was perfect for me; longer than I thought for my first playthrough at 8 and half hours (for the good ending). Luckily, Infernax throws you back into the world after the credits, allowing you to finish up anything you missed. I wound up finding a quest I missed and was able to complete the Ultimate Good ending, which gives you an additional dungeon, and alternative final boss to battle, topping my playtime out at around 11 and half hours.
Infernax gets a 5 out of 5, a clear Game Pass PLAY!
Berzerk Studio really created a fantastic game (with a fantastic soundtrack!). While not perfect (some BS platforming and lack of quality-of-life implementations), Infernax is just plain, awesome. I’m already thinking of running through my top 10 games of all time because I think Infernax will make that list! I can see myself playing through this on a yearly basis, which is big for me, as I have limited gaming time; I almost never replay a game. I’m eager to complete an Ultimate-Evil run and check out more Metroidvania 2D sidescrolling titles I may have missed.
Infernax is available for $19.99 on PS4, Switch, Steam, Xbox One, and Series X/S, and is currently on Xbox Game Pass. I think the price is fine, as there is a lot of replay value. If you ever see this on sale and don’t own it yet, I would say it’s a must-buy if this genre is your style. Limited Run Games is currently sold out on PS4/Switch physical copies, hopefully, they restock once it’s released because I need one in my collection!
Let me know if you checked out Infernax on Game pass, and if you have similar games I should check out (as long as they’re not too difficult).
For more games in my Game PASS or PLAY series – check out if you should play The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom.