Infernax - XBSX Review

by developer Berzerk Studio and publisher The Arcade CrewMicrosoft Xbox Series X review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes 

Infernax is a throwback action-adventure game in the best of ways. It will be dubbed a Metroidvania, though the obvious homages here are more inline with the Castlevania games than anything else. Light on narrative but heavy on challenge, Infernax will certainly appeal to those who want some old-school combat and platforming challenges.

The story here is pretty straightforward, with our protagonist Alcedor returning to his homelands from the Crusades to find everything threatened by undead and demons. This sets the stage for Alcedor’s retro-inspired quest as he seeks to kill five boss monsters that then unlocks the final castle. Every now and then a smattering of plot gets tossed in, but this is not walls of text trying to set the stage so much as the game’s presentation that attempts to whisk you the player back to a long-ago time.

The music and visuals recall the NES and SNES era wonderfully. It straddles the line between 8 and 16 bit (should we just call it 12-bit?) at first glance. Everything I saw on the screen felt familiar at a glance. You have experience and coins as well as health and mana bars. Getting hit chews up the health and using any of the powerful spells you can acquire along the way drain mana. Where the visuals do offer up a surprising departure from the old NES days is in the violence and gore. Now mind you, in this low resolution world, the details keep things from really being grotesque. That said, expect to see copious amounts of pixelated blood, fallen corpses and plenty of other horror-esque visuals along the way.

There is more to Infernax’s retro vibe than retro visuals or catchy chiptunes for a soundtrack. The gameplay operates largely as expected as well, with attack and jump buttons, the ability to call down magical attacks special moves. These abilities certainly feel powerful when used in the right places, and give Infernax a bit more of a modern feel in how well they work. The controls have a little more of the modern day tightness to them as well, especially when jumpy. While there is still a weightiness to the jumping, you have a little more control over your movement while in the air – which is quite a departure from the classic Castlevania titles where you jump and you are then committed to that jump.

Despite the numerous throwback vibes found in Infernax, there’s some other more modern touches to be had along the way as well. First, you can earn experience to boost Alcedor’s stats. Second, there are optional side quests that can be picked up along the way. Lastly, there are a handful of decision points along the way where you need to make a choice, and doing so can unlock different items and endings.

Even with some of these more modern trappings, Infernax provides plenty of difficulty in the actual gaming department. While there are a couple of different levels of difficulty to choose from, both will provide plenty of deaths. At least in Casual, you have more checkpoints along the way and get to retain some of the experience and gold you had collected until that point. While I certainly died to loss of life due to enemies hitting me, I suspect that the majority of my deaths came via the game’s precise platforming requirements and sometimes devious spiky traps of doom. As someone who grew up on the original Castlevania games on the NES, I can say that Infernax helped me relive my nightmares of Medusa heads roaming about on the screen knocking me off of moving platforms. It may not be modern day “Soulsborne” hard, but the challenge is certainly real.

Also true to the Metroidvania DNA, Infernax has you accessing prior locations with newfound abilities along the way. This can lead to both a decent amount of sometimes tiresome backtracking and there is often a bit of ambiguity around “what’s next?” when you are trying to figure out where to go to advance things. It’s not quite as obtuse as say, Simon’s Quest, but you’ll need to talk with all of the townspeople to make sure you don’t miss any important clues along the way.


Infernax is a bloody good time. The developers did a great job of harnessing just about everything that made classic platforming adventures like Castlevania great, while sprinkling in some new features along the way. The formula was not quite perfect for me, but it was pretty close and those looking for a challenging new game in the genre owe it to themselves to give Infernax a look.

Score: 8.5 / 10



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