DEVELOPER: Snowcastle Games
PUBLISHER: Jetpack Collective, The Iterative Collective
PLATFORMS: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Switch
RELEASE DATE: November 9, 2023
STARTING PRICE: 24.50€
REVIEWED VERSION: PC
“Ikonei Island: An Earthlock Adventure,” recently released from Early Access, emerges as a fascinating blend of gaming genres. Developed by Snowcastle Games and published by Jetpack Collective and The Iterative Collective, this game is available on various platforms including PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Switch. Priced at €24.50, the game I reviewed was the PC version.
This adventure game promises hours of engagement as players navigate the island’s landscapes. Despite a year of dedicated development, the game, unfortunately, grapples with several issues, including bugs, a cumbersome exploration system, and uninspired combat. The developers aimed for a simple, accessible game, focusing on relaxation, akin to titles like Coral Island, but with a unique twist.
The game’s content is abundant, involving exploration of eight island areas and constant gear upgrades. However, the gameplay can feel repetitive and predictable. Players often traverse the same areas multiple times, leading to a monotonous cycle of exploration without many new discoveries. Core gameplay revolves around crafting, task completion, and creature taming. The main goal is to reconstruct a shrine as instructed by Sariel, the guide. Completing the shrine unlocks various item recipes, which feels disproportionate given the resources spent.
Basic needs like eating, drinking, and sleeping are not mandatory. The day-night cycle is player-controlled. Training island creatures like Axepeckers or Longhorns is crucial for gathering materials. Yet, the constant need to switch between and care for these creatures becomes tedious.
Agriculture mechanics feel underdeveloped and unnecessary, except for feeding companions. Many in-game items are rarely used beyond initial encounters. The narrative potential is overshadowed by the game’s laid-back approach, resulting in a lack of engaging NPCs and a slow-moving story. The repetitive defeat of pirates, for instance, fails to add depth to the storyline.
The combat system is oversimplified, with repetitive enemy types and basic combat mechanics. The inability to evade attacks necessitates relentless clicking to prevent enemy strikes. The game’s lack of excitement and overly relaxed approach detracts from its appeal, with confusing character switches and inventory management, and a lack of early game guidance.
Despite these shortcomings, “Ikonei Island” boasts an attractive cartoonish art style and soothing music, enhancing its charm. The game’s unique concept and open response to player feedback are commendable. While there are several bugs, none significantly impact gameplay. Multiplayer mode adds an enjoyable dimension, and the game offers extensive customization options. With roughly 10-15 hours of gameplay, it serves as a relaxing alternative to more intense games like Call of Duty.
While “Ikonei Island” builds on the Earthlock RPG series’ rich world-building, its gameplay presentation falls short. The game is solid for those seeking a relaxing experience, but it may not satisfy players looking for deeper world exploration and character interaction.