While it took a decade to make and was at risk for seeming disjointed or out of date, this action game overflows with charm and, well, fun. From the moment Iconoclasts' title screen appears to the final boss battle, there's an exhilarating amount of presentational flair everywhere you turn. There have been countless games intended as a sort of mash-up note to old-school Nintendo action games, but this one wisely doesn't feel the need to adhere to old restrictions. This is instantly apparent when you run into characters like cranky pirates, soldiers considering defecting, and villagers with ceremonial tasks questioning the importance of what they do: They all have huge word balloons and really want to talk to you to share their life philosophy and hear about yours. Another good example: One boss fight suddenly has you switching off controlling two characters during the same battle, when the game has never done that before or indicated it might. It's full of surprises like this which mostly work. Newcomers to these type of old-school features won't feel coddled on the easiest difficulty, which offers concessions like auto-aiming with jumping and shooting attacks -- which is a nice olive branch to players who might be confined to a keyboard's more rigid input possibilities. The tide can be turned in your favor, too, with completely optional side quests to craft your own power-ups with items you collect.
That said, it's the staggering amount of these sudden left turns that can sometimes hamper progress or outright frustrate players. The difficulty can ratchet up unpredictably and suddenly. Some portions have complex logistical puzzles of moving platforms, while others defy you to master new tactics for fighting enemies. This can be complicated because even if you think you understand these moves, you can't quite execute all of them. Although these bumps in the road can derail your adventure, they can also serve as a nice change of pace. That's because if Iconoclasts does anything well, it's maintaining its pacing to ensure you want to keep pressing on. Whether it's the sheer variety of locales or the cast of colorful characters (philosophers, pirates, and a community that studies seeds), this game is wall-to-wall enjoyable.