I have a real fondness for developer Odd Bug Studio after playing (and loving) their PlayStation VR title The Lost Bear, so Tails of Iron was on my radar from the moment I knew they were working on it. I mean, the concept alone is enough to appeal to anyone really, with an anthropomorphic rat heading on an action-RPG fantasy adventure. But yeah, knowing Odd Bug Studio was at the helm was what got me invested at first.
They’ve managed to hit the ball out of the park with the game too, with Tails of Iron proving fun to play, beautiful to look at, and charming to unravel.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Tails of Iron tells the story of an on-going war between the Kingdom of Rats and the Kingdom of Frogs, with the player taking on the role of the young rat prince Redgi as he’s handed the throne to the kingdom by his father. Disaster strikes upon this event though, with the frogs laying siege upon their home and ultimately destroying it, leaving Redgi’s kingdom in tatters. Embracing his new role as the king, Redgi must venture across the land in order to re-build the kingdom and rescue his kidnapped family.
What follows is a grand tale that’s told in an interesting way. See, the interactions in Tails of Iron don’t include text, but are rather conveyed with little pictures that act as a communication between creatures. Sure, there’s a narrator that relays the story to the player and gives you an idea of what’s going on, but in-game interactions? You’ve got to interpret them through pictures. It’s a really novel idea and something that I personally liked, though it might leave some players wanting a bit more if they were hoping to embrace themselves in the lore of the world.
The game plays out as a 2D action-RPG, with the player exploring a variety of expansive areas that are packed to the brim with little details. It’s obvious that Tails of Iron is an absolutely gorgeous game to look at, with every locale you visit feeling like it’s been lifted straight out of a fairy tale. Everything’s oozing with atmosphere and just looks fantastic in motion, with the game’s hand-drawn world one of its finest features. It’s simply dazzling.
“It’s obvious that Tails of Iron is an absolutely gorgeous game to look at, with every locale you visit feeling like it’s been lifted straight out of a fairy tale.”
The combat is slick too, with the action-RPG battling making for some intense showdowns with enemies. Redgi is able to unleash standard attacks and defensive manoeuvres, with these varying based upon the weapon that he has equipped. Sword and shield? He can unleash quick swipes and protect himself from incoming attacks. Great sword? It’s slower, but it packs a real punch. Bow and arrows? You can pick off enemies from afar and try to keep out of the way of incoming danger. That’s just naming a few of the weapon types too, with plenty to tinker with across the game. You can dodge-roll out of the way of enemy attacks or carefully time swift parries, whilst the lack of a stamina bar means you don’t have to worry too much about expending too much energy with your actions. It’s all very Souls-like, but a little bit less daunting.
That doesn’t mean that the game isn’t tough though, and believe me, it’s easy to die if you aren’t careful. Enemies are formidable (especially when they attack in numbers), and there’s a lot of emphasis placed on timing your attacks and trying to isolate foes, especially since everything takes place on a 2D plane where there’s a little less room for the player to utilise. It’s not as hard as other similar titles in the genre, but it’s not a cakewalk either.
“I had a good time experimenting with all of the different weaponry and equipment options at my disposal, whilst the unpredictability of encounters and variety of enemies ensured that no battle ever felt easy.”
Fortunately, enemies have indicators that display what sort of attack they’re going to send Redgi’s way – these will let you know if you need to dodge-roll out of the way of the attack, whether you can parry it, or whether you have to try and block it. It’s a neat little idea that can really even the odds for the player, though quick-thinking is still required to take full advantage of it. Bosses bring more variety with their move set too, so you can’t rely on the indicators too much during those epic encounters.
It all comes together to make for a satisfying combat system that manages to keep players on their toes without feeling too challenging or unfair. I had a good time experimenting with all of the different weaponry and equipment options at my disposal, whilst the unpredictability of encounters and variety of enemies ensured that no battle ever felt easy. There’s plenty of flexibility there for players who like to unleash quick combos, players who focus on heavy attacks, or those who simply like to fight from afar, with Tails of Iron’s robust combat suiting multiple playstyles.
Since Redgi has to help restore his kingdom, players can expect to spend a lot of time completing different side missions in Tails of Iron. It’s the typical assortment really… you know, fetch this item, kill these enemies, rescue this character, and so on. They’re fine, but they can grow a little repetitive over time, especially since a lot of them take you to the same areas over and over again – you can only take on one quest at a time too, which is a bit of an awkward design choice.
“Tails of Iron’s world feels a bit smaller in design when compared to your typical RPG (or even Metroidvania-style title given its 2D presentation), but the roughly ten-hour playtime ensures you won’t tire of it by the time you reach the credits.”
Despite this, the game never feels like it outstays its welcome. Tails of Iron’s world feels a bit smaller in design when compared to your typical RPG (or even Metroidvania-style title given its 2D presentation), but the roughly ten-hour playtime ensures you won’t tire of it by the time you reach the credits. It was always a treat to encounter a new boss or push the story forward in the main quests, whilst seeing Redgi’s kingdom re-strengthen to take down those damn frogs was rewarding in itself.
Everything runs smoothly on the Nintendo Switch too. I spent most of my time playing in handheld mode and I had no technical issues, whilst the visuals were just as eye-popping and charming as they were on the bigger screen.
Tails of Iron Summary
I had a really good time playing through Tails of Iron’s adventure, with the gorgeous visuals and robust combat mechanics the stand-out features. It was easy to root for Redgi to succeed, whilst venturing further across the world and vanquishing the enemies that roam it was a real treat.
It was guilty of being a little bit repetitive with some of its side quests and the world isn’t as expansive as similar titles in the genre, but Tails of Iron never outstays its welcome and doesn’t stop being fun to play. Add to that the fact that it runs really smoothly on the Nintendo Switch and it becomes clear that it’s an adventure that fans of the genre are sure to enjoy.
– Fantastic visual design across the board
– Combat is robust and fun
– The charming world is a treat to explore
– Side quests could be a little bland and repetitive
– Lack of character interactions might be off-putting for some
Developer: Odd Bug Studio
Publisher: United Label
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC