Norse mythology is a vast, but fantastic field to study, and artists and developers love it as they can let their imagination go wild. Whenever a game revolves around this wonderful and action-packed concept, you experience both incredible and appalling results. Song of Iron has stepped up and taken the gamble. So will it tick all the right boxes, or is it destined for the bin?
Developed and published by Resting Relic and Escape LLC, this is a side-scrolling action-adventure title. This moody and atmospheric game transports you to a dangerous and grubby time. The world is controlled by bloodthirsty men, and swords and godly powers rule with an iron fist.
Song of Iron pits you against man, beast, and angry gods.
The story of Song of Iron is like one you’ve heard many times. A fallen loved one hands you a prized relic and their dying wish is that you save your people by presenting it to the gods. This journey is long, dangerous, and not for the faint of heart. You’ll traverse vast locations spanning lush woodland, snowy hills, and goblin-infested caves. Everyone wants your trinket, but you mustn’t allow that to happen.
Everything and everyone you face wants to kill you! Man, beasts, and gods will plead with you before turning to violence! You must fight or run while finding the path to the Temple of the Gods. Any weapons you find may be used to slash, hack, or skewer your foes. You are also armed with a bow and shield, but arrows are in short supply and armour breaks easily. Fortunately, you can combine stealth mechanics with brute force and mystical powers to chain together attacks and survive every ambush.
The vast emptiness creates an isolated and moody atmosphere.
With clear inspiration taken from the wonderfully dark Limbo and Inside, I could see exactly what the developers were aiming for. The side-scrolling action seamlessly blends silhouetted images and vast spaces to create an isolated and moody atmosphere. You’ll never tire of the variety of landscapes and the interesting ways to traverse them. Puzzles and traps lie in wait as you explore the unforgiving world. Fortunately, the difficulty is balanced correctly and you’ll test your patience and reactions repeatedly. You dodge swinging hammers, leap across falling platforms and avoid metal balls in a sick and ancient killer assault course.
The obstacles and the sporadic yet enthralling battles combine perfectly to create a challenging situation. I adored each encounter as I refined my combat approach and could use each ability I had discovered. The difficulty never subsided, and the use of stealth and combo attacks became necessary the further I progressed. These moments were great as they broke up the long and empty journey from A to B. This isn’t a complaint, as artistically it creates the ideal setting and was a wonderful, albeit lonely, experience.
As you delve deeper into the murky world, you’ll discover hidden rooms. Each has a stone chest filled with enchanted equipment that aids you on your journey. Whether it increases your speed, gives you lightning or fire weapons, or sends shock waves through your opponents, collecting them is essential. These drip-fed mechanics were an excellent idea. They kept the gameplay fresh while ensuring the story was delivered at a comfortable pace.
Bugs and plenty of running away.
Unfortunately, for all its positives, there are a few negatives. Song of Iron contains many minor bugs and a few major glitches that impact the gameplay. I experienced many solved puzzles that remained locked, a bear that wouldn’t leave me alone, and I fell through the world when killed. Luckily, they weren’t game-breaking but were annoying nonetheless.
Alongside the bugs, I felt frustrated by one of the key concepts. The combat mechanics were phenomenal and dodging, hacking, and smashing your opponents was sensational. Sadly, though, the major battles pushed you towards evasion rather than fighting. It was odd and counterintuitive and left me frustrated. When a game is all about brutality and fighting for what’s right, I wanted to stand my ground, not turn and flee!
Song of Iron looks spectacular and is brilliantly atmospheric.
Visually, Song of Iron is gorgeous! The grey tones sell the idea of oppression and danger, while the vivid landscapes and beautiful scenery highlight the reason you continue your journey. I fell for its charms instantly and adored every chapter that was presented. Even with its bugs, you get a highly polished title that proves indie games are getting better and better.
The quality continued in the skin tingling audio. The powerful and dramatic soundtrack is reminiscent of Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings. The meaty and aggressive tones deliver the lore steeped mythology across many levels. If you then combine the hard-hitting sound effects of bones crunching, limbs splitting, and arrows thudding, you’re in for an unpleasant but brilliant time.
The controls were complex and tough to master.
Unsurprisingly, my mind struggled to comprehend the complex control system. With many abilities added throughout, there are plenty of buttons to remember. I repeatedly pressed the wrong commands, sucked at using the bow, and made a tit of myself on multiple occasions. Yet, with some practice, you’ll love the complexities and the depth it brings to the gameplay.
The plot runs linearly, yet there are moments where you are free to explore. This freedom was amazing as it added an extra layer to the gameplay. I know I’ve failed to search every level and I want to jump back in to see what I’ve missed. This adds so much replay value and increases the longevity exponentially.
Song of Iron has its faults, but all is forgiven!
Few games are without fault, and Song of Iron is no different, yet its shortcomings are easily forgiven. The wonderfully dark atmosphere and captivating gameplay transport you to the mythology-inspired world. You’ll love the combat, the vast landscapes, and the godly powers! I adored it and recommend you to buy it here! Are you strong enough to succeed? Deliver the relic to the gods, or die trying!