Intrepid Izzy is a platformer for the Nintendo Switch. Oh no, not another platformer, you say? Let’s not jump to conclusions. Intrepid Izzy was developed by the one-man team of Roel van Mastbergen. It started life in 2017 as a Kickstarter campaign, soon making its way to consoles, with this Switch version the latest addition. 

Sure, we have our fair share of platformers, but regular Pure Nintendo readers will know it’s my favorite genre. This means I’m always excited to try new entries while also maintaining high standards. Thankfully, despite a few flaws, Intrepid Izzy is a bright entry into the genre.

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There’s not a lot of story to bog down the gameplay. Our heroine, Izzy, stumbles across an evil genie before falling into a pit. Her adventure begins almost immediately, exploring various worlds in search of the evil presence now threatening her world.

The levels vary from underground mines to a haunted forest. There’s also a cloud zone and a frozen area (called the East Pole) to keep things feeling fresh. The environments are lovely— full of color that pops off the screen. It’s clear that Roel has taken great care in crafting Izzy’s world. Aesthetically, it reminds me of Shantae’s adventures (and I’m a big fan of that series) with hand-drawn sprites full of personality. 

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The other clear comparison to Shantae is a series of costumes that grant Izzy powers. There are many fun variations to collect, including a miner outfit, squirrel onesie, and ninja attire. Swapping between costumes is slightly annoying, though; you have to traverse to your house (in a base called Awesometown) to get changed. I found this feature a little cumbersome and would prefer to get changed on the spot via a button or menu selection. It makes experimenting with various powers to discover secrets a lot more work.

The enemies vary throughout the game, with all sorts of monsters to defeat. The boss fights are another highlight, with some tricky encounters. A sword-wielding skeleton and a sea monster were particularly satisfying to conquer. At other times, you’re trapped in a room until you beat a series of common enemies. These are fun for the most part, but become slightly tedious when you’re backtracking through an area. 

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This is actually my main complaint of Intrepid Izzy; at times, I wasn’t sure how to progress. This led to moments of frustration as I backtracked through previous areas. I eventually found my way, but the path could be much clearer.

Along the way, you collect coins and gems. Coins are used to purchase life-giving items from the store or play arcade games in Awesometown. These minigames are a fun distraction from the main quest, providing a short and sweet timeout in which you try to beat your high score. 

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Meanwhile, gems provide Izzy with her special powers. These purple collectibles fill up a meter which depletes when using Izzy’s abilities. The moveset varies depending on the costume, including a ball of energy, a gust of wind, and even transformative powers. 

There are few little interface issues that could be fixed. The in-game menu features a handy map that’s not very user-friendly. You can scroll around IF you press the A button first. This isn’t obvious or intuitive, and I only discovered it by accident. You also can’t escape the menu by pressing B, a pretty standard feature. I’d be less concerned if the main menu also lacked this feature, but it’s present there. This unfortunately creates an inconsistent user interface. 

Overall, Intrepid Izzy is a clear labor of love from the one-man developer. It looks great and plays well, but has some minor flaws that stop it from being perfect. If you enjoy the likes of Shantae’s adventures, this is a nice homage to that series.