What if the world of Samurai Jack was a side-scrolling video game and was based on the lifestyle of a Viking? Developers and Publishers Resting Relic, Escape LLC did basically just that when they created Song of Iron, where you are on a tale of revenge in the vast landscape of the Norse wilderness. Song of Iron is an intense action-adventure, side-scroller game created by solo developer Joe Winter for the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.
In Song of Iron, you choose to be a male or female character and then the world comes rushing at you quickly. When you first start, the game teaches you the basics of how to play including performing attacks, dodging, and blocking. You will also learn to drop your equipment and pick up fallen foes to keep the momentum on your way to vengeance. As you dive deeper into this world, you’ll come head-to-head with all manners of beasts and men in your climb up the mountain.
Now the difference between this game and others is that the main character does not speak, or at least we do not hear or see the words that he or she says. Instead, details are revealed through interactions with the boss like enemies found throughout the journey. The main goal of this story is straightforward, to seek revenge for the annihilation of your village by forces led by Wolfric. I will not give anything away, but this is the first game in a long time that threw me for a bit of a loop at the end of it.
Song of Iron’s gameplay is packed with amazing mechanical depth and being a side-scroller game, that is a great achievement in its own right. It allows you to incorporate the many different weapons that you can come across, the step-back/dodge mechanisms, stealth, and even enemy placement, which really helps to flesh out the experience. Then you begin to accumulate relics from the Gods that give you magical abilities such as being able to call your thrown weapon back to you like the great and almighty Thor or imbue your weapon with an element, such as fire. The enemy movement and attacks can come at you from any direction, so you get the immersion of being surrounded at all times.
When it came to my enemies, I found that most of them were a challenge, but nothing that felt like I was not going to overcome them. Bosses on the other hand were extremely tense and brutal, but with each failed attempt, I was able to learn more about how to conquer them and vanquish my foes. Even with blessings from the Gods and an arsenal of magical abilities earned from my adventure, the enemies also became more advanced and were consistently pushing my skills, so I never felt overpowered or bored with the game.
The art style in Song of Iron is beautiful. Everything from the dark and gloomy landscape with the burning of villages and homes to the dark forest of shadows and moonlight looked absolutely astounding. The environments are highlighted by the usage of different lighting and therefore becomes mesmerizing at times. Song of Iron takes simple settings but turns them into these breath-taking scenery. It is just like Samurai Jack, the more you play the more you get into it, and switching from goblin cave to a mountain peak, is never the same.
Song of Iron tries to vary its structure as much as possible, so as not to bore the player: it also helps that the longevity is not high. To keep us glued to the screen, however, will be above all the atmosphere of the Norse world conceived by Winter. Considering that it is the work of only one person, there is remarkable care and attention to detail. I suggest to all players who will undertake this journey to look at the landscapes often and not just think about running towards the next enemy. The sound component also helps make the journey epic, with a high-quality soundtrack.
Song of Iron is available now on Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and through Steam for $19.99 and I believe the price is just right. The game is not very long, but the adventure is still worth the cost point. It is nostalgia and modern gaming all wrapped into one. And the Norse feel, soundtrack, and art style will keep you entertained and makes you want to see what is next. This is for anyone who loves Norse Mythology, Vikings, and looking for something different to play.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Song of Iron for the PC provided by Escape LLC and Resting Relic.