By Kevin "Methodone89" van Dongen on February 24, 2015
When Platformer meets Bullet Hell, a hell it is indeed. Follow Iria's journey through her lineage, as she battles her way through some amazingly designed boss fights.
Isbarah is a cross-genre of bullet hell and platformer style, it's a hardcore 2d game and each level is a duel boss fight. Each of these bosses comes with a unique attack pattern. In order to survive, players will need to fully understand the boss patterns. The entire game is built around smartly managing your powers and using them wisely. Almost everything in Isbarah involves dodging and making smart movements. This makes it one of the hardest games I have played in a while, aside from the Souls series, even on the lowest of difficulties I had a hard time defeating some of these bosses. The bosses look great and diverse, everyone has its own feel and look.
In Isbarah, you use the standard platformer game controls and bosses will fight like in bullet hell games. To survive you have three abilities: slow Motion will enable a time slowdown in order to give the player time to analyze the situation around them and make a wise move, the dash ability allows you to make fast moves to any direction with perfect precision and finally you can summon a barrier and use it as a shield or a platform, be it to protect yourself or to help you reach higher platforms. You値l have to combine these abilities all the time and even then it's likely you値l fail more than once. You will unlock these abilities during the missions and have a sort of small training area to learn and control these abilities. Once you become used to an ability you値l have to use said ability in a boss battle. Once all abilities are unlocked you値l have to combine them in order to successfully proceed through the game.
You play as Iria, the 15 year old daughter of God. Iria is a goddess and in order to prevent this world from failing into chaos, her father rules it with an iron fist. Iria is his only weapon and shield; he uses her to harshly punish anyone or anything that bends or breaks the law, and mercy is never granted. Isbarah is formed by the imaginary world that all humans fantasize of capturing all their dreams and nightmares in. Every single thought of human beings contributes to the shape and size of this world, creating an ever-changing universe, full of diverse landscapes and strange creatures. These creatures are called The Designed; they all have different shapes and sizes and their behavior depends on the people who have created them.
Alongside these creatures, Isbarah is also home to creatures called the Designless. These creatures are only concepts; they haven't been fully created by humans. These Designless creatures are desperate to evolve and become full designs, therefore, they are constantly infecting other full designs to become more powerful and eventually take over their shapes.
The story of Isbarah if beautifully drawn and brought to life through short comic strips in each level. Even the characters look like a homage to comic books. I, being an avid comic book reader, like this style and way of story telling a lot. My favorite boss, and at the same time the one I had the most difficult time with, was Jackal. He reminded me of the Grim Reaper, and boy did he reap. He would shoot orbs at me at high frequencies and I died me, A LOT MORE than once. This is exactly where Isbarah shows its true colors; in order to defeat a certain boss you can稚 just do the same thing over and over again and hope that this time your strategy works. You値l have to adapt and learn from these bosses and become better and smarter then you were before. Slow down time in order to plan your next move, plan ahead because the next bullet is already on its way. And no matter how many bullets fly across the screen, they all seem to have your name on them.
Isbarah comes with 18 Epic fights, 3 Difficulty modes, 90 unlockable content items and a whole lot of fun and frustration. A friendly warning though: keep in mind that once you start playing this game you can稚 stop till you drop.