I've been writing about videogames going on about eight years now. For the majority of that time, I've had one eye firmly glued to Iconoclasts, an ambitious metroidvania by solo Swedish developer Joakim 'Konjak' Sandberg. It's been in development over six years now, and is finally, tantalisingly close to release.
Word is that Iconoclasts is now effectively feature-complete and in the final stages of development (testing, bug-fixing and balancing) and I've heard some very positive sounding rumblings from playtesters. Come and check out a few minutes of fresh, mostly-uncut gameplay footage within.
There's some exciting stuff on show here. While the early game looks relatively simple, even the basic combat moves (such as that slime-squishing divekick) look surprisingly satisfying. Later on we get to see some puzzle mechanics, the grind-rail system, a bit of cutscene down-time followed by an especially large and chunky boss battle, all as polished-looking as you could hope for. It's hard to believe that this is a solo project.
If you've not played any of Konjak's previous games, you owe it to yourself to at least try Noitu Love 2: Devolution. Despite having little to no familiarity with the game, Konjak inadvertently created the PC's answer to Treasure's classic Gunstar Heroes; a festival of creative, quickfire boss fights, tied together with a unique combat engine built around mouse targeting.
Iconoclasts looks to be building on everything I liked about Noitu Love 2, despite the move to a more open-plan Metroid'y format. There's a certain snappiness to the movement and combat that catches my eye, and the obviously gorgeous sprite art doesn't hurt either. While just a little bit old, this video of Joakim breaking down Metroid Fusion and explaining the importance of free-flowing movement in games still rings true, and I hope that some of the lessons learnt carry over to this game.
You can keep up with development of Iconoclasts on Konjak's site (which also contains a SUPER early alpha build of the game, if you want a peek at an ancient iteration of it), or wishlist/follow it on Steam, where you can can see the latest trailer. There's no official release date set, but the store page does say '2017'. I'm inclined to believe it.