This is an example of a beautifully crafted and smoothly executed adventure that's super fun, fresh, and frustratingly unforgiving. Tails of Iron is very tough, as you need to time your moves against enemies just right, but it's rewarding when you figure out how to win the duels. In fact, based on the enemy's body language and a little help with some colored "expressions" emitting out of the frog or other enemy, you'll know if you should dodge and roll, parry the attack, raise your shield in defense, jump out of the way, strike from behind, and so on. You'll get the cues, but it gets tougher the more you advance through the game. Add onto this the variety of enemies, weapons, and armor you can choose from, and you'll no doubt enjoy swapping out gear found inside chests for newer and better ones, along with melee and range weapons. Tails of Iron doesn't disappointment in its production quality either. Between the hand-drawn art and smooth animation, fantastic narration, music and sound effects, it stands up next to games with undoubtedly a much bigger budget for art design and audio.
The storytelling is smart and well-written, and is mostly delivered by the narrator. But characters smartly interact with image-based dialog, perhaps to keep the tale universal without worrying about language translation. Side quests are handled by "cards" that list what you're supposed to do, and for whom. But it's the deep -- and punishing -- combat that will keep you glued to the end of this adventure. It's not perfect, because many of the same environments are repurposed throughout the course of the game. Also, the lack of a multiplayer mode will hurt its replayability, but overall, you won't be disappointed with this charming indie offering. Tails of Iron is a welcome surprise for action game fans.