I was going to post a negative review on this game, but Steam kept failing to accept my review for whatever reason. I can still review other games just fine on Steam, but since this does not post, I will say things I was unwilling to say on a Steam review. I intend to give this game the thick veiny thrashing it deserves.
Before I add to it, this is what I intended to post as my review:
It is because I grew up on platform game of the 8 and 16 bit eras of gaming that I do not like this game. Recently, I have been playing some platform games on Steam, some good and some bad, but Iconoclasts is not worthy to hold a candle to most of them.
This game is a story-heavy platform game. Others within this mold are much better, more recently The Messenger was a fantastic, but Cave Story was an older good one. However, Iconoclasts does nothing that makes those great. Iconoclasts is filled with busywork and meaningless efforts in a platform game. The mechanics get old so very fast that I hated it after only 30 minutes of play, but suffered further to see if this game had redeeming qualities worthy of becoming a cult classic or such, and it did not pay off this investment of 12 hours.
For the bad platforming elements, everything involves the wrench mechanic. Basically, you stand in place and turn a screw over and over. This slows level progression and makes it tedious, as it is necessary for exploration in a game filled with backtracking, but the biggest problem is that they keep integrating this terrible mechanic into boss fights. Every time they use this in boss fights, it only serves to make the boss fight painful. In some cases, it is not so bad, but in others, the use of the mechanic leaves you open to attack from the boss. Even the final boss has this awful mechanic, and the vast majority of damage I took during that boss fight was from having to hold still and screw something in while dodging attacks. Atop that, there are multiple characters you have at once in the "party", but you can almost never use them. I can only recall two moments where you can switch characters, and a handful of brief moments where you could use other characters; this was a function that most certainly should have been expanded on.
As for the story, the problem is twofold.
The first problem is the characters. Some are annoying because they are put in as token characters, but the biggest problem lies with how the story abuses the older brother. I had a similar problem with a game called Timespinner's awful use of male supporting characters, but the case of the brother of Iconoclasts' protagonist is so very strange. This is not strong spoilers, and only applies to this character's personal arc but I suggest you read it, and otherwise skip to the next paragraph. This character slowly gets more beat up across the story. First, he loses his arm to a villain. Then, there later is a brief moment you get to control this character. During this time, he does not move well, only hobbling forward at a slow pace. He wields a broken sword and can barely do so. However, during this brief segment he has one of the most rewarding boss fights in terms of story payoff in the entire game. He fights this boss to help the main character. Then, upon reaching his goal, he chooses not to help the main character for no reason other than to be a jerk, because the game needs another reason to hurt him. By the end of the game, he is missing an arm and a leg. This game really, really hates the male supporting characters, as this is not the only instance where they mistreat a male support, but the inconsistency in this character's behavior shows a lack of writing quality on part of the developer. Furthermore, some of the lore seems to contradict itself regarding the people that lives in the settlement under the water. It may be that they were going to write certain plot threads but did not, or perhaps went a different direction with it, but whatever the reason, there is a plot hole regarding that group; this contradiction is easy to miss, but it is indeed there.
As for the story's second problem, that can be said with no real spoilers. You see, the problem is that certain things are left completely unexplained. While other things are explained, and more is heavily implied, there are some very important things that are just not explained at all, and these things are necessary.
While the above is indeed a major complaint of mine, there is a one complaint that might resonate most with people. The problem that Iconoclasts squanders any potential for good game design it has with some dumb choices. Almost every function is held back by a counter-intuitive design choice. For instance, there is the rocket function by charging the grenades, or the way certain puzzles need to be solved. You think "maybe I am doing it wrong" for ten minutes before realizing that an item or ability you do not have is needed, because there is no visual clue or reason for you to think you should not be able to access the treasure chest. Problems like this are the standard for this game, and are found constantly the more you look. You won't think it is bad until you see it for yourself, and it begins to grate on you too.
Just do not buy this game. Buy Cave Story, the Messenger, the Genesis Classics, Sonic Mania, or Spark: the Electric Jester. Do not bother with this game, as it is not worth your time or money.
Perhaps a very important note I must make is DO NOT BUY THE SOUNDTRACK, THE MUSIC IN THIS GAME IS NOTHING SPECIAL, AND NOT WORTH IT IN THE LEAST!!!
Now, it is time to add to it. I am going to call out just how ******** this game is beyond those minor claims.
So, this game is another classical pile of SJW bullcrap. One prime example is the token lesbians in the game. While it is not a problem on its own, it becomes one when you realize how it becomes an unaddressed plot issue. You see, the couple come from a village that practices ancestor worship, and their worship spurns people that do not pass on a genetic legacy. To make matters worse, there is later mention on how a member of their religion was hated because he has a genetic illness. However, the pirate lady is a lesbian and cannot have children by her pairing. Even so, after the credits roll you see them march into the ark together, which is a religious act. This is never addressed, and furthermore, the game teases this location very strongly, which actually involves the big gaping plot hole in this game.
To understand the plothole, the story must be spoiled, but screw this game's story. So, later on you discover that the theocracy called the One Concern worships the powerful "Starworm" and is farming people to make superhuman demigods. Then, you discover that they are really farming "Ivory" for a trip to the Starworm on one of the moons. Ivory is not teeth or tusks, but an white gooey energy substance. Then the game kills off one of the two supporting male cast by forcing you to leave him behind in one of the most crappy moments in the entire game. I was quite angry at this moment, but it is a different issue to the plot hole I am getting to. So, the Starworm digs into the planet to take all of the Ivory. When you beat the Starworm, it turns out its head is a ******* for an alien Tengu which is the final boss. The game heavily implies that the Tengu was forcing humans to mine for ivory on the planet for the sake of its own gain, and that the planet was basically a mining colony it was forcing humans to take part in. However, the issue of ivory itself makes this much more stupid. You see, the plot hole is revealed by this one question: "why are humans on this planet?". This may seem like one that is easy to answer, but its ramifications are massive. You see, the arks are supposed to be colony ships. This implies that humans colonized this planet. If so, then how come they never terraformed it? Yes, one of the major implications is that the environment of the world is artificial, and not natural. The reason the plants have square shapes is because they are not natural, but designed. However, there are seeds in the ark. These seeds are for the types of plants from earth. As such, why are people not using those? This must be a colony planet due to the nature of the arks, but the nature of the planet also prevents it from being such. The planet is artificial, although not fully explained. This would mean that the people were placed their against their will for labor. Interestingly, this would actually make more sense considering that the "Ascension" pods they show later on. It seems to be implied that ivory is made using people, but ivory occurs naturally on the planet. and one of the moons was mined hollow for it. Yet again, all of these facts do not seem to match up at all. All of them seem to contradict in some way. They cannot all be true.
Lastly, I said to not buy the soundtrack, and I meant it. All of the best music in this game sounds eerily familiar to music from elsewhere. I noticed reworks of both a boss melody from Paper Mario and the Kuja boss music from Final Fantasy IX. This game copied and edited music to be done, but none of the imitations are as good as their source. Ironically, I think Kuja's theme was somewhat copied off of another thing too.