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YMMV / Iconoclasts

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  • Accidental Aesop: The Relationship Values mechanic results in one; to get the best outcomes for the final boss, you have to go along with what the people around you want, no matter how contradictory (such as telling Mina you blame Royal for the One Concern's invasion of Isilugar while also telling Royal you like him in an attempt to boost his confidence, or going with Mina to save Samba but telling Elro you don't want to help her and just want to hide). Hence, today's moral is "if you want people to like you, lie to their face and contradict yourself, as long as you tell them what they want to hear."
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  • Awesome Art: The game has top-notch pixel art and color selection, as well as fluid animations.
  • Awesome Music: Much of the soundtrack is masterfully done. A few examples:
    • Machines, the boss battle theme for mechanical bosses.
    • Psychopomp, the boss theme for Mother's Corners. The overall foreboding rock sound, combined with the warning siren-like noise, perfectly sums up just who you're fighting: The only two people considered powerful enough to have had the honor of standing at Mother's side.
    • Jet Black, the music when you face Agent Black. You hear it, and you know shit's about to go down.
    • Moonlight, the music when you face Black for the last time is one hell of a Tear Jerker. By this point, she's been reduced to a mental wreck shadow of her former self, and it's less a fight and more akin to putting a sick, rabid dog down for good. For the same reason, it's also the music used when you had to abandon Royal in the decompressing space station.
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    • Descent is a track that plays while heading down the Starworm's impact crater that gives off a vibe of heroic resolve and best captures the mood of Robin heading down into the earth to kill an uncaring deity who caused much strife.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Elro is not meant to be a wholly sympathetic character, but the fanbase is sharply divided over whether he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who's suffered a lot and really does want the best for Robin or The Millstone who manages to cause all of the game's conflicts and ruin Robin’s life while blaming everyone else for it. It's only appropriate that the boss fight where you play as him is considered a love-it-or-hate-it affair. Either it's an interesting fight that utilizes his unique skillset well, or a boring and repetitive slog that doesn't live up to the standards of every boss up to that point.
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  • Best Boss Ever: The game is absolutely filled to the brim with good boss fight after good boss fight, but by the end of the game every boss you encounter is excellent, combining unique mechanics with fantastic setpiece design. Standouts include the boss fights against Black, the Omega Controller, Inti (the machine that moves Isilugar at the end of Isilugar Labs), and more.
  • Broken Base: Iconoclasts has a last-minute twist that reveals that the Starworm was the spaceship of an alien bird looking to refuel its ship with Ivory, and that the Starworm was never a god in spite of what the One Concern always claimed. Many fans find this a great twist that ties well into the game's lore and themes of mistrust of higher beings, while also providing levity after the drama of the final act. Just as many fans think the twist is ridiculous, requires a coincidence on numerous occasions to make sense, and think that that the game should have ended with Agent Black's last stand and multi-stage boss fight.
  • Complete Monster: Mother and her associate Emmet Darland are the oppressive leaders of the corporate theocracy One Concern. To monopolize the mining and harvesting of Ivory, they create the Penance system, in which heretics are locked in their homes and executed by Controllers, with Elro's wife and daughter among the victims. To enforce their laws and exterminate their rivals, the Isi, they subject countless people to the Transcendence experiments, killing hundreds and leaving the survivors to live tormented lives as their Agents, whom they send after heretics and the Isi. The two also secretly build a Tower to hold children and brainwash them into loving Mother, and when one tries to escape, Darland uses mind control to make the boy kill himself in front of his friends as a warning. Upon being informed that their Ivory mining has endangered the planet, they secretly build a rocket that will save them and the other One Concern elites while leaving everyone else to die, and when Royal, Mother's adopted son, accidentally hastens the coming destruction, Mother tries to kill him in anger.
  • Ending Fatigue: By the time the party reaches City One, the game begins to wind down. It drags on for quite a while, however, despite there being numerous points where the story could easily end, such as the fight against Mother and the fight against the Ivory Beast. The final boss could also be truncated to Midway instead of its own area, but that would make endgame item collection irritating as there's no fast travel points in One Concern East, meaning backtracking out of it would be tedious.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: The main focus of Iconoclasts is its story, with the gameplay being less well-received outside of the boss fights and puzzles. Its metroidvania aspects are very limited (it's possible to play the whole game in a linear fashion without affecting the difficulty much, since Robin's stats never change), while the combat is more simplistic and less fluid than it is Konjak's other titles. The gameplay isn't bad by any means— it's just overshadowed by the story quite a bit.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Teegan doesn't appear until the last third of the story, but she's popular with fans for being a fun, friendly member of the ChemiCo Contra and for calling Elro out for his shenanigans.
    • Mendeleev of the Reborns, for clear reasons.
  • Evil Is Cool: Agent Black. She provides the game's funniest and saddest moments, has the most depth of any character, has two of the game's best boss battles set to great music, and overall steals the show.
  • Goddamned Boss:
    • Kibuka (the first boss in Shard Wasteland) can be quite frustrating for an early game boss, especially on Challenge Mode, where Robin can only take one hit + whatever Iron Hearts she has equipped. This is mostly thanks to the first portion of the battle, where Royal randomly focuses on a part of the screen for his attack that flips Kibuka over so Robin can damage it. Royal will frequently choose areas that are well out of Kibuka's path, and the only way to get it to turn around is to crawl under it... and its flip animation's length will ensure that getting it over to the spot Royal is focusing on is a lost cause 90% of the time. Oh, and Kibuka has an attack that launches fire columns that you have to jump over, further complicating matters, and its missiles are difficult to reflect. Thankfully, the second portion does away with this mechanic, and the next boss battle (which also relies on a NPC's attacks) is much less of a hassle.
    • Inti, the first boss of Isilugar Labs, ends up being this for most first-time players because of its complexity. You have access to both Robin and Mina for the fight, and you have to swap between them to solve a puzzle that leaves Inti vulnerable. This is the first time you get to control Mina, and her moves aren't obvious at a glance (her shotgun is self-explanatory, but she also has a melee attack for hitting the switch/gears with). The puzzle never resets itself, but if you can't figure it out, you're left to fumble around while Inti attacks whoever you're controlling (and since the room is divided in two and has a lot of clutter, you don't have much room to dodge). Also, if you're playing on challenge mode, taking a hit as Mina will instantly give you a game over. Like with Kibuka, the battle becomes a lot easier once the puzzle portion is finished and Inti can take damage normally.
    • The Reborn Lawrence fight. You're in control of Elro who can only limp forward while dodging/parrying Lawrence's attacks and stab him when he reaches the boss, only for Lawrence to punch Elro across the screen. Rinse and repeat 12 times until the boss's health bar is empty. No, it's not a difficult boss fight, and it can be cool the first time, but it takes quite a while to get through compared to the other One Concern East bosses, and it’s a nightmare on Challenge Mode where you have to repeat the whole thing if you mess up and Tweaks can't help you when playing different characters.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • Ground-pounding down a slope and jumping off of it allows Robin to maintain speed from sliding down it until she stops moving, making her move at max speed even without any Fleet Foot tweaks.
    • Air-swimming is a major part of the game’s speedrun, since it can be used to clip through walls and skip large chunks of the game. In the current Any% route, it's used to get from the end of Isilugar all the way to the final boss's chamber, skipping two-thirds of the game.
    • Cross-biome loading zones and the Dodger tweak don't work very well when combined, often enabling the player to clip through walls and skip several sections. One application of this trick, used in the Any% No Airswim speedrun category, clips into the Strange Contraption entrance in Shard Desert and skips straight to the middle of Ferrier Shockwood.
    • The Dodger tweak also has a bug that allows you to "long dive" by jumping and diving at the same time. Sounds fairly mundane, but then you realize that there are several places where you get blocked off by ledges one square off the ground that you can't climb up and it becomes busted.
    • It's entirely possible to treat the whole second fight with Black as a Skippable Boss. The room the boss is in has an overhang at the entrance, which is slightly higher by pixels than the overhang in the room before. If you enter the left (boss) room, stand at the entrance, jump and hold right while falling to go into the previous room, and then hold left after the screen transition, it's possible to enter a high-up area above the two rooms, where room transitions occur constantly for a few seconds, and then fall into the cutscene that takes place after the boss.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Elro. His wife and daughter die within the game's first hour. Over the course of the game, in trying to protect Robin, his only remaining family, he gets dragged all over the world, imprisoned, beaten, and even loses his arm and gets shot in the back for doing what he thinks is right. Throughout the game, he constantly moans about how he just wants to go home. The "jerkass" part is because he's incredibly callous and uncooperative towards his allies and sister, is revealed to have caused the entire plot by killing Agent Gray in a fit of rage (something the other heroes never find out about), and only seems to have slightly learned to trust Robin by the ending.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The Dark Cave. A dimly lit cave with multiple animalistic abominations inside! Fun!
    • Agent Black tearing off Elro's arm.
    • The death of Agent Grey, and by extension anyone who gets hit with Elro's anti-Ivory serum. Not long after he stabs them with the loaded syringes, their body starts to turn purple, with them feeling intense burning sensations as smoke rises from their flesh. Then their body deforms as their Ivory slowly gets converted to detritus dust. And then, their body swells up and explodes into a fine pink-purple cloud of mist, killing them in a very gruesome fashion. Oh, and their close friend Agent Black was watching the whole time, so one can just imagine how badly that affected her mind.
    • Agent Black's One-Winged Angel form. The seeds have effectively turned her into a giant ivory forest that's hell-bent on protecting the rocket. Then there's her screams...
    • The first phase of the Starworm traps Robin within her own mind. The dark backgrounds (especially the first one with two humanoid figures in the background) along with the ominous music enhance the feeling that this fight is very different from the ones that came before it.
  • Player Punch: No matter how hard you try, you just can't save Royal on Midway, and thus are forced to abandon him on an exploding moon base.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Tweak system takes the place of traditional metroidvania upgrading (Robin gets no permanent boosts aside from the alternate shots and wrench upgrades), to mixed results. With so many different tweaks available and only three slots to place them in for the entire game, it's hard to create a balanced loadout of Tweaks without swapping them out constantly. You lose access to a Tweak upon taking damage and only get it back after collecting enough Ivory or using a save point, so even the best ones can be rendered useless easily. The system becomes worthless on Challenge Mode, since you need to have two or three Iron Hearts and/or Dodger equipped at all times or else you'll die in one hit.
    • Without at least one Spindle perk equipped, Robin's wrench just barely can't charge itself with a single spin. Either you deal with having to spin twice every time you need to charge up (which you'll be doing a lot) or you spend one of your three tweak slots on something that doesn't have much benefit outside of charging the wrench.
    • The Boss Rush modes don't let you select your own tweak loadout, instead giving you three Iron Hearts. While this is intended to counteract the lack of health pickups (and possibly to make speedrun times consistent), it also prevents you from using the weapon upgrade tweaks or the dodge roll/double jump, which would be just as useful as the shielding.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Made even more poignant with Moonlight playing as the BGM in two cases:
      • Agent Black's last battle. She insisted on protecting the rocket to her last breath, so you're forced to kill her by shoving Isi seeds into her innards. Even as the seeds start to sprout, she refused to stand down, forcing herself to keep on fighting even as more of the seeds sprout and weigh her down. By the end of the fight, she could only shamble weakly before succumbing to the seeds. Even the following One-Winged Angel battle did little to mitigate the feel that this is less of a fight and more akin to putting down a very, very sick puppy.
      • The aftermath of meeting the Starworm. The Starworm delivered a Mind Rape in retaliation to Royal's attack, and broke the glass dome of Midway. You could only lift Royal as he went into a Heroic BSoD, saying that it's all his fault, and how he should die... All the time, Robin pushed through the rapidly decompressing atmosphere with, and then comes the part that you have to leave him by the biometric scanner to keep the door open so you can escape. It's as heartwrenching as it sounds, and worse.
    • The Story of Fitzroy and The Maiden. The whole thing is best summed up by the following quote:
    "I leave everything behind, only to be left behind. For you, then by you..."
  • That One Boss: The Silver Watchman in his first and second encounters, who teleports constantly and leaves the player with only a split second to react to his katana swing... which requires the wrench to be spun to deflect, not merely swung like most parry-able projectiles and enemies, leaving even less reaction time, coupled with the fact that he will pull a counter that can hit you even if you're above him after his swing for a second attack if you're too late on the draw. He is a Glass Cannon and takes only four (five in the rematch) swings to defeat, so there are small mercies, but simply damaging him once takes a small act of Him. He's just as much of a pain in the Boss Rush; the Usurper Shot has no effect on him and he takes six hits before going down, so if you aren't careful he'll tear through your Iron Hearts and leave you with less life for the later bosses.
  • That One Level: The Tower. It starts off as a No-Gear Level (though Robin retrieves her wrench pretty quickly) and then turns into a vertical maze where the goal is to free Mina and Elro and then collect three keys to reach the top. Its annoyances include enemies that sap your wrench charge, having to crawl slowly through many air vents, needing to manage several elevators to get around, and getting periodically ambushed by the Silver Watchman. It's also a pain to collect everything in, since you need the Usurper Shot for two items and the map isn't very helpful (it displays the inner rooms as being accessible from both above and below, even if they aren't).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Silver Watchman. He's a cool samurai character who provides some challenging boss fights in the midgame and is built up to have a prominent role, but not only does he get absolutely no backstory, Royal abruptly kills him off just before he could dub Robin a Worthy Opponent and possibly even help her.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring:
    • Most of the characters in Iconoclasts — save for Robin, Mina and the various ChemiCo Contra workers you encounter — are some flavor of jerkass, which makes it hard to actually care about their fates. Robin's brother Elro is a Knight Templar Big Brother whose attitude towards her borders on Stay in the Kitchen sexism, not to mention his bad decisions directly result in much of the game's plot. Royal's legitimately tragic arc is undercut by his arrogant personality and his refusal to see that Mother doesn't love him (and likely never did). Even Mina has a moment in which she undeservedly lashes out at Robin; and since Robin's mostly a Heroic Mime saddled with But Thou Must!, you can't really call anyone out on their behavior. At least Mina undergoes some Heroic Self-Deprecation and Character Development to balance out her actions, along with being playable on a few sections in a nice change-up to the gameplay. But everyone else has no such saving grace, and it becomes hard to care about them.
    • It extends to the other characters too. The Isi are really guilty of coming off as jerks; they're self-righteous and make a lot of assumptions, and besides Gustavo, Samba, and Mina, are either distrustful of you even after you save their city or put their beliefs so far ahead of anything else that they basically shun other members of their faction who can't or won't procreate. Mina's mom is especially bad about this, doing nothing but insulting and demeaning her own daughter in every one of her appearances. It makes it hard to care about any of them when they show no gratitude for all of your help.

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