Once upon a time there was a small kingdom ruled by rats. A monarchical system that ruled the country with an iron fist. Even so, the constant wars against frogs prevented the progress of this strange land. Fortunately, at least for the rats, its last monarch managed to give the kingdom an unusual stability. Thanks to his majestic strength and intelligence, he finally succeeded in defeating the frogs and thus banishing the monstrous amphibian horde from his realm.

Stability continued what the king’s youth did. Now sick, tired and above all old. The king is forced to cede the throne to one of his sons, who must continue his glorious reign. Two princes for a crown, one strong and big as an oak, the other small but with the spark of security that makes him invincible, the latter is Redgi, the little son, our protagonist and future king.

During the championship game between the two brothers, Redgi is declared champion, but even with no time to celebrate, a spear will pierce his father and cause an instant death. The frogs attack. And we’ll be defeated. This is how this dark story begins, this is how Tails of Iron begins. A new independent gem from the hands of United Label Studios (Eldest Souls, Röki)

The study’s new IP presents us with a dark and very explicit story in which it is normal to cross a frog’s throat or dismember colossal insects. Death will be very present in the streets of the kingdom, a kingdom once again ravaged by war. Where our little (but brave) Redgi has to fight his way through with his steel to avenge his father’s death and restore the stability of the kingdom.

The development of the title will be that of a side scrolling action RPG, as seen in the most successful Metroidvania (Hollow Knight or Ender Lilies), but simplified in its exploration to give more relevance to a rough, gross and extreme one confer satisfactory.

Here we will not unlock any skills, there will be no dash or double jump, in fact I insist that the movement is generally slow, slow, heavy, as if we were carrying the load of the little king on our shoulders. Rather than looking for skills that will enable us to find new avenues, our goal will be to obtain the best possible weapons to face our enemies. Here we could be talking about a game of loot where we can find endless weapons (from swords to spears and axes to bows, crossbows and shields) and the same amount of armor, some heavy, light or moderate, that affect the maneuverability of our character . The higher the weight, the slower and, in general, the higher the defense.

I stop here as the team theme is pretty relevant, if it’s not the cornerstone of the title, at least something to consider. When we talk about his pillar, that (aside from his narrative) is the struggle. A very simple fight with three attack buttons and another three defense buttons. As has already been said so often, easy to do, difficult to master. The game is based on reaching the mission area and fighting, both on the way and at the destination, where we will find the boss on duty and the real challenge.

The force of the fighting is overwhelming and is reminiscent of a medieval fight between two knights in heavy armor, although this time it is rats and frogs; the truth is that it does more than many games with people. Learning the opponent’s mechanics as well as creating a good build will be crucial to winning. Dodge at the right time, calmly attack little by little, most of all be patient like it was a From Software title as it is actually the most straightforward comparison I can think of, despite its visual differences and dimensions.

The game is difficult but generous. We will always have a checkpoint and insect syrup (health pot) before a strong fight or complicated area. In general, they will serve as arrows, poison and chest for us to change our equipment, because be careful, there is resistance and they will be important. When fighting insects, mosquitoes or zombies, it makes little sense to choose devices with frog resistance.

It will be an immersive experience stepping the kingdom from one end to the other and recreating ourselves in the quality of these drawings that come to life on our screen. According to the description, drawn by hand, of course I don’t know anyone who does that with the ass. But kidding aside, it exudes personality and craftsmanship, a craft that we sometimes lose in the Triple A or Excel game of the moment. Because of this, we have to applaud the dark artistic part that is taking us into a unique and terribly beautiful world even in its blood-soaked streets. As if a good illustration of a children’s story was brought to life to become an adult and mature work.

Little by little, step by step, we will be able to restore our kingdom by reaching areas of various colors, from the dark crypts to the streets of the city, through a completely insane area with moles as highly developed inhabitants, to poisoned corners that are a bit reminiscent of the Metroidvania genre. We are the king, but we do not send our henchmen to clean up pests, steel in hand we will be the most pragmatic king there is. And when you have smaller tasks to do, like cleaning a basement of bugs, we’ll do it in exchange for a few coins to fix the throne room. And this Redgi is a pragmatic king wherever it is available.

These restorations are remarkable, not only because they allow us to improve our maximum lives and equipment, but because we will see with our own eyes how the blood-stained kingdom gradually blooms again, and with it the joy of our citizens and vassals. I remember stopping on a street that was deadly in its day, seeing two young rats playing, and feeling comfortable, like a good king looking after his people.

The tone of a children’s story will always be present, as in its dialogues, which are based on annoying mouse whistles and pictograms, sometimes accompanied by a great synchronization of a deep-voiced narrator, especially that of Doug Cockle (Geralt von Riva in The Witcher) already one, the witcher reads the story of the rats.

In short, I really enjoyed this challenging game, its duration of around eight hours seemed very successful for a focused title that just wants to tell us a story and make us sweat on the side by doing slow and technical fights through nothing more reenacts power that will undoubtedly delight fans of Souls. But yes, without the part that borders on sadomasochism that usually accompanies Japanese titles. Tails of Iron is without a doubt a title that should be played as little as you care.

If you are interested in the PC version, you will always find it a little cheaper at G2A.