Infernax is an action-adventure platformer with a proudly retro feel that works extremely well. Imagine an old-school experience like Castlevania and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. This is definitely one game that does retro well.

You play the role of a brave knight on a quest to free the land from evil. Along the way, there are all sorts of horrific beasts to encounter, from zombies and ghosts to floating eyeballs and oversized demons. It’s gory (and rated appropriately), although it’s that 8-bit gore that somehow looks less offensive thanks to its pixelation. Still, there’s blood aplenty, so be aware if that’s likely to bother you. 

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You can save, heal, and upgrade your stats at altars dotted around the place. Infernax features a simple leveling system that’s easy to use. Every slaughtered enemy rewards you with experience points (and coins), which contribute to upgrading your health, strength, and mana (a.k.a. your magic). It’s simple and fair, and it makes working towards each upgrade feel less like grinding.

Speaking of magic, you can learn new spells along the way, such as a protective shield or a lightning strike. These must first be purchased, so those spilled coins are just as important to collect. You also acquire new skills from various merchants, granting your knight extra abilities. These powers generally open new areas ripe for exploration.

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The difficulty level is just about right. There are two difficulty modes that cater to both hardcore and more casual gamers. The harder mode provides you with only one life, and you’ll lose all coins and experience points upon death. The easier mode isn’t a walk in the park, but you are treated with extra lives, and your earnings are left intact upon respawning. These options provide a well-balanced approach that creates a more enjoyable experience for varied skill levels. 

I also appreciate the addition of side missions in Infernax. As you venture through the land, you meet and interact with various townsfolk. Some will give you advice or sell items, while others ask you for a favor. These quests are added to your log. For example, you might have to see what’s causing a commotion on the bridge or rescue a barn from a horde of zombies. These missions provide fun distractions from the main quest and add longevity to the game.

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Another pleasing element is the ability to choose your path. Some enemy encounters ask you the foreboding question; will you save or slaughter your foe? When monsters possess innocent folk, there’s a chance they can be saved, and your answer has an impact on the game’s story. It helps create a more tailored experience for each player as well as an excuse to replay.

The graphics are terrific. As mentioned at the outset, Infernax uses a deliberately retro style from the golden age of 8-bit gaming. It strongly conjures flashbacks of classic games to provide a fun and endearing ode to those titles. The pixelated look isn’t new; not only because it’s a remnant from the past, but because there are plenty of retro-inspired games being made today. Infernax somehow manages to feel fresh amongst all that noise.

Overall, Infernax is a truly retro experience that takes the best elements of the past to create a fun time in the present. This tough but fair game is a blast to play, and I highly recommend it for fans of action-adventure platformers like Castlevania.