I flip-flop constantly on whether or not Iron Danger is a good name for a video game. I’m coming around to the idea that it is. It totally is. On one hand, it doesn’t really make much sense. On the other, I love the honest exuberance of it, the realisation that for the game that has been made only Iron Danger will do as a title. It speaks to the souls of the people who made it – you have to be all-in on something to want to call it Iron Danger, game or no game, and I love people who are all-in. Nothing is sillier than being afraid to look silly, right? Iron Danger it is! (I am told it sounds amazing in a Finnish accent, too, and Finland’s where this glorious game comes from.)
And it works. This is a game filled with danger and iron and fortitude and difficulty and swords and steel and all of that iron-heavy jazz. I’m only about an hour or two in, but I think I’m properly in love. Iron Danger sells itself as a sort of RPG but really it’s a combat game with blades and axes and special moves that gradually unlock. It’s linear stuff as far as I can tell, and the story is pretty skippable. All fine with me. Where it sings is when you’re in a fight.
For reasons that don’t really stand up to much scrutiny you have a special ability in these fights. You can pause things when events turn against you – or even when they don’t I guess – and go back a few seconds, or “heartbeats”, to do something different. What this amounts to is a fantasy combat game in which you have a timeline along the bottom: it’s part Lord of the Rings and part Adobe Premiere. When you’re controlling more than one character you have two timelines. It’s wonderfully hectic.