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Review: Infernax – A Great, Gory Throwback That’s More Ninja Gaiden Than Castlevania

Bloody. Good. Game.

We’d be lying like filthy, filthy little devils if we claimed that there was any shortage of Castlevania-alikes on the Switch. The likes of Odallus, Aggelos and most prominently the Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon duology are all right there on the eShop to cater for starved fans of Konami’s apparently-defunct series – not to mention the Castlevania Anniversary Collection and Castlevania Advance Collection for those thirsting to revisit. It was with some familiarity, then, that we dove headlong into Infernax for review. It all looked very much familiar, you see — medieval style world, NES throwback visuals and a Metroidvania map. But we were, gratefully, mistaken. See, this isn’t really a Castlevania-like at all, it’s closer to Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden in both difficulty and game feel. And that’s certainly no bad thing.

Coming from Berzerk Studio (developer of the sublime Just Shapes & Beats), Infernax is an interesting halfway house between accessibility and raw challenge. Putting it that way makes it sound like the game is uneven in its difficulty, but that isn’t the case. It’s more that you have options. If you’re struggling to make progress, you’re never too far from a save point and you can always go elsewhere and fight monsters for XP and/or money, which is then spent on health potions, extra lives, upgrades to your weapon and armour, spells and even more besides. You can also take up sidequests that reward you with more gold and experience, the latter of which is used to upgrade your core strength, health and mana. You’re always just within spitting distance of your next improvement, too, which kept us playing when frustration could have set in from its challenges.

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