Before we even get started with our Infernax preview, go find some Powerwolf and crank that shit, cause this is a preview for Infernax: a game about a badass Paladin and his crusade to purge unholy magic from his homelands.
Developer: Berzerk Studio
Publisher: The Arcade Crew
Platform: Windows PC (Previewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: February 14th, 2022
Price: Not yet announced
Our hero, Alcedor, returns home from the Crusades only to find that his homeland has been tainted by the sorcery contained in a spell book from the Holy Lands, thanks to a mad alchemist who thus far remains unnamed. Yeah, it’s not a super deep story – but neither were most NES era games.
Infernax is full of late 80’s charm. While on the surface it looks and plays similarly to Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, you’ll find it has tight platforming like Mega Man.
The game is also full of ridiculous amounts of blood and gore, like Evil Dead levels of silly macabre. This preview build let me play through the first bit of the game and through the first dungeon.
Alcedor uses a mace and only attacks in a direct swinging pattern, but it’s got a decent reach. He’s also obviously equipped with a shield that will allow him to block projectile attacks as long as you’re standing still, but it can only block one shot until you move. I thought this was actually a pretty nice touch as it requires the player keep moving instead of turtling to wait out difficult sections for an opening.
As you progress, Alcedor will find altars that allow him to pray for healing as well as trade your earned EXP for upgrades. I was able to upgrade the strength of his melee attack, and add a single point to his health and mana bars on the way to the first dungeon. I probably could have leveled them up more had I turned around and left the dungeon, but this is a short demo so it didn’t seem worthwhile.
Shortly after touching my first altar, I found a guy who was struggling and asking Alcedor to kill him. I was prompted by the game to either Pray or Slay. Praying for the character resulted in his transformation into an optional mini boss, which skulked forward and breathed fire in melee range.
This rewarded a lot of EXP for a decently easy challenge, so I fought him in almost every playthrough. Alternatively, slaying him showed a cutscene of his face getting bashed in comically with Alcedor’s mace, and you get a small bump of EXP but not nearly as much as if you fight him. Plus you miss out on the prompt of Alcedor telling you to stop hitting the dead body.
Eventually, I made my way to the gates of the city and after fending off some skeletons who were attacking the guards, I was permitted entrance. The city was eerily quiet with all locked doors, and forward progression led to me an enemy with a large cleaver that subsequently splattered several of the guards. Shaking off the blood of the fallen, Alcedor quickly dispatched the bad guy and found himself bathed in purple blood. These guys just don’t seem to understand that white robes were a bitch to clean in the 1200s.
Anyway, this awakened the sleepy town and I was able to buy some upgrades for my gear including a heal spell and better armor so I took less damage per hit, as well as a second life so if I died I didn’t have to start completely over or from the last shrine. Speaking of which, this game offers a casual respawn. This sees you start from the respawn but still have all your earned items/exp/gold, or you can toggle the hardcore respawn where you return to the last shrine and lose all progress since the last death.
I eventually found the key that unlocked the dungeon, and I went spelunking. Exploring the dungeon netted me two more keys which I used to unlock the deeper depths into the dungeon and eventually bested the final boss himself which brings this demo to a close with a cute little “thanks for playing!” screen. I’m pretty sure this demo was actually the same one I played on Nintendo Switch at PAX East 2020, but I didn’t care – I was just happy I finally got to play more of it.
Infernax really nails that “sweet spot” of feeling like an old game but with that current gen twist, in the same way that Shovel Knight did many years before it. I devoured this demo and played through it about four times, eagerly chomping at the bit for more.
If you like action-adventure side-scrollers, Infernax is one that you really don’t want to miss when it launches soon on February 14th, for Windows PC (via Steam), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4.
Infernax was previewed on a Windows PC via Steam using a preview demo provided by The Arcade Crew. Infernax releases on February 14th, 2022.