A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While very violent, some of the game's themes include family, honor, courage, and freedom.
Positive Role Models
There are no humans in this game, but the protagonist, Redgi, is a young rat who's heir to the throne in his kingdom, and he vows revenge for the death of his father at the hands of the evil frog clan. While young and weak (at the start of the game), he's brave and noble, but he must kill enemies to accomplish his goals.
Ease of Play
Tails of Iron starts off with a mandatory tutorial, including training against dummy enemies and fighting against one of your own kind (a fellow rat) to prove your worthiness. While the controls feel good, the game's very challenging. You must master the various offensive and defensive moves, consider timing and other cues, and change your tactics based on whom you're up against and where.
Violence & Scariness
This game is violent, bloody, and gory. Using melee weapons, such as a sword or spear, you'll engage in combat and kill as many frogs as possible (including zombified amphibians and other creatures, like giant grubs). Players will see blood splatter (green), and once in a while, some body parts flying after a final blow. Enemies will use blunt and sharp weapons on you, too, including maces, clubs, giant hammers, and sometimes ranged weapons (bows and arrows).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character can pour himself a mead/beer-like drink and consume it whenever he needs some strength.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tails of Iron is a downloadable action/role-playing game (RPG) for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. Players assume the role of a rat who must fight back against a frog race that has enslaved his kingdom and murdered his father in front of him. It's clearly a fantasy setting, with hand-drawn, cartoon-like graphics, but you must use many weapons to fight enemies, grow in strength, craft weapons, acquire better armor and weapons, and turn the tide in this bloody war. This is a very violent, gory and bloody game, although green blood is shown as a result of hand to hand or ranged attacks. Players will also drink mead or a beer-like substance to replenish their health.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.