Parents' Guide to


By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Indie tactical tale has a diverse cast of strong characters.

Ikenfell Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Though clearly inspired by a certain series of books and films about students at a school of witchcraft and wizardry, it would be a mistake to think this cute tale is a Harry Potter rip-off. Ikenfell's labyrinth of classrooms, dorms, and spooky school grounds has a flavor of its own, and its cast of characters is notably inclusive of people with various gender identities and sexual orientations, which will likely make the experience feel more welcoming to an often neglected segment of young players. It also has a defiantly indie vibe, thanks to its blocky but stylish graphics and irreverent writing and sense of humor. Plus, it's been designed to be accessible to a wide range of players thanks to its simple mechanics, straightforward controls, and the ability to automate some of the more challenging parts of combat -- such as timing -- or even set battles to auto-victory so that players who don't enjoy fighting can simply experience the story and puzzles.

But the combat shouldn't be ignored. The turn-based battles are much more dynamic, active, and challenging (if you leave the assists off) than you might expect at first. Each type of enemy has distinct attacks, advantages, and weaknesses that can be exploited by using the right spell in the right way. For example, dropping movement-arresting traps can confound enemies that tend to lurch towards the nearest hero in a straight line, while other enemies that travel underground can easily avoid them and must be dealt with using direct spells, preferably at a distance. Some experienced players may find combat a little simplistic compared to big budget commercial games, but there's a nice balance between exploration, storytelling, and combat, which helps keep any single part of the experience from growing tedious. Ikenfell has a great heart, clever design, and can potentially serve as a good introduction to the world of retro indie RPGs (role-playing games) for younger and less experienced players.

Game Details

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