24/07/2021

๐Ÿ‘️ Intrepid Izzy | Dreamcast | Review | 9/10 | "I’m off to punch a giant sea creature in the eye." ๐Ÿ‘️ @SenileTeam #GameDev #IndieGames

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I do love covering new releases on classic systems. When I received the accompanying press kit for Intrepid Izzy from Wave Game Studios, there was a statement in which the game was described as a blend of Sonic the Hedgehog, Castlevania and Streets of Rage.

I wasn’t sceptical so much as squinting into the distance, trying to visualise what that mash up would look like.

It looks like Intrepid Izzy, as it turns out.

Coming from Senile Team (the band of brothers behind Beats of Rage & Rush Rush Rally Racing), Intrepid Izzy is a very accessible and yet challenging 2D Metroidvania with a constant balance of mechanics and gameplay that can only come from the passion and experience of a development team that embraces their craft. 


Breaking down the aforementioned genre mix, the ‘Sonic’ comes from the vibrant level design and 2D platform elements over environmental hazards whereas the ‘Streets of Rage-ness’ can be tracked to Izzy’s range of uppercuts, jump-kicks, jab combos and sliding tackles. Enemies are battered into submission as opposed to being jumped on - you may even spot a certain ‘Hadouken-like’ special move. Finally, the Metroidvania comes from the level design itself and it’s this that really shined for me.

As much as I enjoy the Metroidvania genre, I really dislike aimless wandering and back-tracking, two things which can make the game feel like a trudge. Intrepid Izzy however, is able to constantly give you a focus on what your next move should be.


The map system clearly shows various legends and key screens whilst a brief quest outline states what you are after in order to proceed at certain points. It keeps the game fluid and enjoyable.


The visuals are a smooth 60fps and feature big, cartoonish sprites that are accompanied by soft, looping music of a kind that very much appeals to me. It called to mind one of my favourite pieces of VGM, Pocket Tanks - audio that is gently catchy without being offensive or grating, a huge boon in the adventure genre wherein key sections of music are heard quite often as you explore.

There was very much a point where Intrepid Izzy took a leap from being a good game to being a great one, for me. It was at a point when I stopped moving forwards on the map as I realised I’d accidentally breezed through the main hub, ‘Awesometown’ which is the central point on the map and a place where Izzy can sleep to regain health and magic, purchase foodstuffs to make her delves into the stages easier and a magician who can upgrade your overall health….but there was a staircase, wasn’t there….leading to an arcade….


In-game mini-games make my eyebrows rotate in ecstasy and it was such a joy to know that I could take a break from adventuring and spend some of my earned coins on one of the three available machines, trying to crack some pretty saucy high scores. A Berzerk clone, an 8-bit Super Hang-On or a funky game of avoiding sharks and collecting diamonds. Sign. Me. Up.


It’s these touches, as well as the regular save points and portals that make Intrepid Izzy feel like an old friend flinging open their arms wide in a huge embrace that keeps bringing you back for more.

Right, I’m off to punch a giant sea creature in the eye.

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