Infernax. Slay evil 8-bit style

Remember the rainy days sitting nose to the tv, the square NES controller cramped in your sweaty palms as you take on the challenges facing ...

Remember the rainy days sitting nose to the tv, the square NES controller cramped in your sweaty palms as you take on the challenges facing evil in your game of Castlevania ,  Zelda or Metroid? Remember the giddy pleasure from beating that particularly nasty boss to be quickly replaced by the frustration of the next even nastier challenge?
Often people look for this experience as we are surrounded in an era where games are everywhere and for everyone but sometimes that feel gets lost a little. There is a reason the the souls games are popular and retro gaming has surged in recent years. With the thriving indie scene we see a lot of throwbacks and often modern takes on the retro genre. We get our pixels but often they are far superior over what the gaming machines of days gone by could ever produce. With Infernax, Bezerk Studio attempts to capture the look, feel and gameplay of the 80's and bring an authentic brutal but honest experience.

This is a sight for sore eyes

What is it?

Infernax tells the tale of Alcedor, a knight and hero who returns to his home after a long campaign far away only to discover that an unholy magic has contaminated and destroyed his in his absence. Alcedor vows to cleanse the land and with his shield and trusty mace he goes to work. Along the way he gains experience, skills and upgrades that help him in his quest to restore order.

The game comes with a bunch of highlights on the "back of the box"
  • Multi-endings based on player's decisions.
  • Challenging castle-dungeons and lots of boss battles.
  • Ruthless bloodthirsty monsters looking to make sure you are dead.
  • Level up system to tailor your experience to your liking.
  • Items and skills to unlock that help you in your quest of reversing the curse.
  • A dangerous and unique open world with many secret areas to uncover and explore.


At the core of the game is a basic control scheme of jump, attack, cast a spell or take a potion. A basic inventory system helps you sort through upgrades, spells, potions and skills shortcuts.
If you ever played a Metroid or Castlevania even briefly then you know the deal. Navigate throughout a 2D world slaying monsters and picking up quests to help the inhabitants who live in fear. Do so and unlock items and skills that can help you in your adventure, for a price of course. Their gratitude maybe bountiful but it is not free. A twist to the quest encounters in Infernax is the morality system. During many encounters you are asked to make a decision on how to proceed. Will you provide the old man relief with a quick death he asked for or try to find a cure, will you force the vagabonds camping out of town or stay for a drink. Each choice has a different consequence that comes with it and you will not always know until later what that outcome might be. 

A night and day system introduces different enemies often more aggressive during the dark hours. They serve more than just making your life more difficult, there are moments or quests where you need to venture out in the dark to progress in the game and get what you need.
The game map is littered with secret areas to explore and you will spend a good time backtracking after cleaning an area or receiving a new skill that allows you to goto new places. 
Infernax is tough, unforgiven, brutal but not unfair. You can study each area, memorize patterns and skill up to pass through the game. Even then plenty of hazards will still mean instant death where you will die merciless and often in a gratuitous gory display. 
Despite its goal to revive a punishing 8-bit experience Bezerk Studio saw it fit to give something to new players (or old scrubs like me) a way to play the game and have a good including an optional difficulty with a less punishing, more modern style of checkpoints and continues.


Infernax does its very best to stay true to its 8-bit inspirations which results in a style that feels familiar from the opening credits and could be mistaken as a title from the past that perhaps was lost in time and just got recovered again. With this choice of staying true to the classic era it pays homage to you also have some drawback such as limited enemy and NPC variety. The stage bosses are gorgeously presented with wild and nightmarish designs. Across the board the pixel art does a splendid job of conveying all the dark and evil ongoings in the game with minimal design.
One thing not mentioned yet is the mature angle of the game. With monsters and demons terrorizing the world and looking to send you and the other people in town straight to hell the game comes with buckets of pixelated gore. If they manage to kill you, and they will, they do not stop and rest but instead you get pulverized, ripped apart and mangled violently. And despite its simple looks the brutality is unmistaken and would not have passed the censors back in the 80's before Mortal Kombat became a household name.

A great pounding chiptune soundtrack has your foot tapping and head bobbing despite slight repetitiveness in certain areas. You will find no modern interpretations here as the music and the sound effects also stay true to the original compositions and technology of its day.

///Warning: Photosensitivity Warning: Please note that Infernax contains imagery of flashing colors. While it's not currently possible to toggle the game's flashing sequences off, an option to Minimize these flashes is available in the game's Options menu under Accessibility, and Berzerk is actively working on improvements to this feature to be included in a future update. ///

Parents view
Despite Infernax being a old fashioned looking pixelated game that looks far from realistic it does present a dark world. The horror theme with the gore, violent death and pixelated blood that drips of your armor as you kill through the game this is not a game for the young ones under us. Rated M by the ESRB it automatically becomes a game that you need to play yourself first before you decide to play it in front of the kids or have them have a go. However there are plenty of classics you can have them play first before they have a go at Infernax.

Final thoughts
Bringing old-fashioned style tough gameplay with brutal deaths and frustrating hard bosses Bezerk studio has resisted the temptation to re-interpret the old school action game as a rogue-lite and instead opted to make something that could have been released all those decades ago. Timing your jumps, attack and move, positioning yourself pixel perfect in order to strike hard and decisive is all part of what give Infernax a place as a true neo-retro experience. At 5-7 hours the game is not going to overstay its welcome, yet it offers replay value thanks to its morality system. With the inclusion of the peace offering in the form of an "easy" mode to practice or just allowing less experienced players to participate and play the game it offers something for every player. At a low cost of $20 or even "free" on gamepass the threshold is low enough for anyone to relive those moments on a rainy Saturday clutching their sweaty palms around a controller and take on evil once again. 


Developer: Berzerk Studio
Publisher: The Arcade Crew Release Date: January 14th, 2022 (MSRP $19.99)
Platforms: Steam, Switch, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Game Pass
Review platform: PlayStation 4/5

About the writer: DadGeek (Rob) is the co-founder of GeeksVsGeeks. He is a product of the eighties and never let go of his geek interest and hobbies no matter how often someone told him to stop. His love for gaming and all things geeks has been part of his parenting style and permeates throughout the whole family. A family of Geeks vs Geeks 


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