Isbarah (Review)


Isbarah is a new platform-cross-bullethell style ‘hardcore’ 2D boss battling, dodging game for both oldskool gamer and budding platformer alike, it comes from developer Leikir Studio and is Published by Neko Entertainment, known for The Inner World, Storm and other such colourful 2D games and like them, this one boasts positive Steam review scores. Order of the day suggests challenging fight after fight against bosses, a tacticle arena-come-2D Darksouls where your life depends on timing, dodging and learnng the bosses strengths and weaknesses.


The game starts with a gorgeous hard-drawn backdrop and some decent guitar riffs, its a beautiful scene but the music screams desperation and gloom as it continues. I set the graphics options and see the familiar ‘Beautiful, Fantastic’ Unity perhaps? I then check out the @Extras’ screen which boasts a fair amount of locked bosses, backgrounds, story, music and frescoes which I assume unlock through progression and challenges, I select Play and the see 3 portraits, 2 portraits being blacked-out. They are opponents, ‘God’ Is his name, I select him and continue.


The intro explains that the human imagination which lives in a world parrallel to our own and that it constantly creates life in our universe but has its own God there which governs its rules. God has a daughter who is now of age and must serve her father. The game begins and my first thought is at how zoomed-out this is for a platformer but from seeing the enemy sizes in the screenshots I can see why. The backdrop is fantastic, the detail is fairly impressive. It has a very comic book style which I find appealing. You train with your father learning the basic platforming and learning ‘dash’ used to reach higher places and to activate machine-like futuristic cannons which you then need to stay in the area of so they can power up, the cannon will then fire damagine the enemy. Once they are heavily damaged they will go all out, you then have to survive the onslaught (Get this- By staying close to them, in their area bubble). The gameplay is fluid and the dash ability made dodging the frantic bubbles and rays both more manageable and more enjoyable.


I ‘defeat’ my father and a comic-style cutscene explains that we are to fight a foe together. I select ‘Normal’ rather than ‘Hard’ or the aptly-named ‘7th Hell’ as to be honest with you I’m not the best at these games. Our enemy is backchatting God himself, ‘Get him’ he tells me… I arm the cannons and unleash, I dodge his insessent bubbles and fizzing balls of death, I strike a decent blow, I arm the cannons again and unleash but now his bubbles and balls of death have become 20-Inch dinnerplates of fizzing death streaming accross my 55-Inch TV, I go down in a wave of confusion. ‘Continue x1’ States the sombre black screen, I got this, I think to myself. My fear is quelled when I see it has an oldskool continue system, he’s still nearly dead! I dodge and evade then strike, ending him.


The next level is quite… Lovecraftian in its styling, with an impossible deformed abomination, it consists of avoiding elemental damage spewed by the spawn(?) of the larger creature which is at the end of the level, there are spikes everywhere damaging and blocking routes, a grotesque eye twitches and watches the madness. Its endearing. I am given the ability to slow time which, by the time I reach the Boss makes an incredible difference to dodging the more… Hectic debris. I defeat the creature and rejoice. I have enjoyed my time here so far even as a non-platformer. I will definitely be playing more so of course, thats a good thing. I give this game, for what it is an 80/100. I enjoy the aesthetic and the gameplay is solid. Its just to me too much of a challenge related game with very little depth but to many thats the attraction. I’m sure I will complete it eventually regardless.

[ 80 / 100 ]

– Hardcore2dacore

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