There’s just something enjoyable about the simple things in life. We realize that as kids and as we reach our older years. Hell, as I continue to get older I find solitary silence a relaxing endeavor. This is also where quite a lot of PSVR titles shined the past year and a half. Turns out that certain unembellished experiences were some of the best ones inside the headset. Sparc and Holoball just to name a few and Cold Iron now joins them in the basic, but fun factor. The launch trailer to our aforementioned game promised us a puzzle shooter with inspirations from the Dark Tower series. I was sold on that alone without seeing any gameplay. Instead of journeying on for thousands of pages, Cold Iron accepts its place in the PS4 peripheral and offers a noteworthy addition to any gamer’s library.
Cold Iron follows an unnamed hero who recently lost his father to wild west outlaws. They gunned him down with you nearby and we’re lead to believe it’s because he slew many a bad guy in his day. However, after your dad’s murderers fail to find something in an apparent search, they just mosey on without hurting anyone else further. Naturally some vengeance is going to take place as you hunt them down with your old man’s special gun. Quickly we learn why it’s so “special” and things begin to take a hard left turn into Scifidom. After certain enemies or opponents are taken care of, our hero finds a unique piece of paper that transports him to other worlds. You’ll come across an apocalyptic cityscape, medieval woods, endless deserts, and even space itself.
Gameplay is reminiscent of those old arcade, test your skill machines. It’s essentially a cowboy standoff and showdown where you and another duel. A PlayStation Move controller will serve as your digital revolver of choice and you mimic the actions of drawing a gun. The motion of holstering and bringing up your firearm are required. You’ll need to shoot with the trigger as quickly as you can before your enemy does after hearing a bell or else you get a blue skull (failing the round). Most worlds will have three opponents with each one you face off against lasting up to ten rounds. You need to successfully take down your target five times before failing the same amount. The mechanics are simple yet engaging and offer a lot of fun just figuring out how to best everyone. Thankfully, the ninety minute adventure shakes things up to avoid being stale repetition.
Some enemies have certain tricks up their sleeves or certain strategies to beat them. It isn’t always about drawing a digital revolver faster. There are opponents who can multiply with subtle variations leading to the original, Simon-like memory techniques, distorting your field of view, vanishing and teleporting someplace else, and more. These quirks were enjoyable to figure out and decipher and I was always excited about what came next. Between each of the four worlds also were bonus levels. Here out of place watermelons would shoot across the screen and your goal was to gun down as many as you could. While serviceable it did feel like these were only here to pad the game a little.
The graphics to Cold Iron aren’t the best as you’ll notice rough edges, wavy lines, and pixels where finer detail would be. It was never a problem where it made me sick though. Just a statement comparing the looks of this title to others currently on the market. Nor did they hamper gameplay or the fun factor in any way. The still cutscenes were nicely designed on the other hand. Once again in a minimalist way, but I really enjoyed the neon inspired artwork. Same with the soundtrack. Classic Western vibe with a dash of future thrown in for topical levels. Overall though for a small development team, they did a good job in the technical department.
Replayability is a little scarce, but there are S ranks and A ranks for people to shoot for if you like those challenges. You can earn up to three stars per battle and the better you do the more properly colored trophies you acquire. If you collect enough of them you actually unlock a post-game secret boss of sorts. Sadly, yours truly is still struggling to unlock that boss due to my own ineptitude. For the most part there are no issues with hit detection in this digital realm except when your Move and PS Camera aren’t synced up properly. You know in the way every other virtual reality game can act up sometimes.
Cold Iron PS4 Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8.2/10
There may not be much to do after the ninety minutes of playtime, but like those theatre arcade games of old, Cold Iron is one of those experiences to look forward to. The story is interesting enough and the gameplay will bring a smile to anyone who enjoys a competition of wits and reflexes. There’s just something about mimicking a real world possibility with your arm and mind. Still, it’s easy to wish there was more on offer.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using a base PS4.