Intrepid Izzy – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by Senile Team and published by Ratalaika Games, Intrepid Izzy is a search action adventure, mixing together elements of several genres to create one complete package. As the titular Izzy, players must solve puzzles, battle monsters and navigate dangerous traps as they travel through different locations on their journey. This title is available on all major platforms, with links to each version of the game at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank PR Hound for providing the copy of Intrepid Izzy that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. I will be skipping the story and moving directly into the gameplay, discussing the core features of this release to prevent spoiling the surprises of the game.

Gameplay – Intrepid Izzy is an action adventure with Metroidvania style exploration, where the player travels around the various locations, solves puzzles and collects items to progress. As Izzy, the player can move between the different areas, fighting monsters that appear and engaging in platforming action. There are several large levels to explore, with actions that are taken in one opening up another that are mostly connected to each other.

The action is face paced with a beat em up style to the combat, where Izzy can use combo attacks to battle enemies. There are also special attacks that can be used by collecting spirit crystals (or using spirit wells), which fill up a bar to use these skills. The monsters that appear are can be taken down with the different attacks that Izzy can use. There are also special costumes that can be obtained, granting special abilities to aid in exploration and battle during the game.

The costumes aren’t the only power up that can be obtained on this adventure, as there are items that can be bought from the hub town, as well as heart fragments that can be collected from chests. The items that can be bought are foods that can grant the player health, spirit power and increased strength. The heart fragments can be given to a special character in the town, with the magician increasing the total number of hearts that the player can use.

While in the town the player will be able to go to Izzy’s house, allowing the player to rest and change costumes. This is the only way to change the costumes that Izzy is wearing, allowing players to switch between them for the area that they are exploring. There is also an arcade with mini-games that can be played by spending a coin each time. These are the same coins that can be used to buy foods, with coins being dropped by enemies at random and being collected from chests.

During the adventure, the player will encounter NPC characters that will give the player hints on items needed to progress. These can include getting garlic for a sailor or a helmet to ride a mine cart, with the items hidden in chests scattered throughout the world. Since this is an exploration focused game, there is a lot of back tracking, but the game makes it simple to travel between zones. There are black mirrors located in set locations, which allow players to jump between them.   

At preset points during the game, the player will be locked in an arena with enemies in multiple wave battles, as well as in challenging boss fights. These boss battles can be tough as each of them will have their own gimmick/style to them, like a Kraken that fires lasers and a Minotaur that slams into the ground. These bosses are tied to different areas and some can be battled in a nonlinear way, letting players approach them however they want to.

The last thing to talk about is the checkpoint system. This can be a challenging game, with death occurring fairly often. This is made a little easier as there are checkpoints throughout the areas, symbolized by flags, save points and the warp mirrors. When the player does get defeated, they are taken back to the last checkpoint which is often relatively close to the point they are defeated. This makes defeat a little less of a setback, but may still be frustrating.

Now with the gameplay covered, it is time to cover the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.

Controls – the controls for this game are laid out well, with the key inputs for jumping and attacks tied to the face buttons and movement to the left thumbstick/D-pad. There is also the map and inventory that are mapped to the shoulder buttons, with all inputs having no issues with input lag or delay. However, there is one minor issue with the controls. The thumbstick on the Joy-Con has some inconsistencies due to the travel and dead zone of the stick, with the pro controller being preferable.

Difficulty – this can be a tough game, with the player being taken down in only three hits during the early stages of the game. The difficulty does ramp up over time, with the platforming and monsters becoming tougher as the player progresses to the later areas of the game. However, the challenge isn’t as punishing as it may appear to be. The checkpoint system alleviates the struggles that the player may face, easing the potential frustrations that may occur from defeat.

Presentation – this game has a very pleasing look to the visual presentation, with a slick cartoon look to the sprites that are bold and stand out in this release. The animations that are used are fluid and everything moves at a steady, fluid pace during play. The environments are all distinct, with visual touches that add to their charm, along with a soundtrack that has been fine tuned to give each zone its own atmosphere and theme.

Final Thoughts – this is a very fun and entertaining game that I am happy to have been able to play, since I was aware of the release on the Dreamcast and Steam last year. The developers at Senile Team have created an experience that checks all the boxes it sets out to, even if it may be a little too difficult in places or suffer from the back tracking at times. However, I do feel that I can recommend this title to pretty much anyone who enjoys a fun 2D action adventure.

In the end, I give Intrepid Izzy a final score of 4.5/5. This is a fantastic adventure that mixes several styles together and does it fairly well. The environments are well designed, the gameplay is polished and the overall presentation has some quirky charm to it, making for a fun game that can be enjoyed by all. If you want to check this game out for yourself, a link to each version of the game is below.

Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

Link to PlayStation version (HERE)

Link to Xbox version (HERE)

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