Intrepid Izzy Review – Adventurously Average (Switch)

Intrepid Izzy has the hallmarks of a Metroidvania game. Large levels? Check. Acquiring different abilities? Check. Original premise? No. While Intrepid Izzy features some fun platforming and exploration, it's also very derivative.

Intrepid Izzy Review

Metroidvania titles succeed or fail depending on their level design, sense of progression, and gameplay loop. The player needs to be satisfied when they discover new gear or unlock an inaccessible area. There have been plenty of Metroidvania titles, some good, some bad. Developer Senile Team throws their hat into the ring with Intrepid Izzy.

If Senile Team sounds familiar, it’s because they made the open-source brawler Beats of RageIntrepid Izzy was a Kickstarter project first announced in 2017. Four years later, the game releases on PC and, believe it or not, the Sega Dreamcast. The following year, Intrepid Izzy finds its way to home consoles.

Intrepid Izzy is available now for PC, PlayStation 4 | 5, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch for $10.99.

Intrepid Izzy - Official Release Trailer

Story – Genie in a Box

While out spelunking, the titular Intrepid Izzy accidentally unleashes a genie from a chest. The genie wreaks havoc and Izzy needs to defeat the genie by finding four gems.

Intrepid Izzy’s basic premise and writing are passable if bland. There’s a lot of corny jokes and not-so-subtle puns. There are some charming moments, like when Izzy finds a trumpet she ends up giving to a pickle, but otherwise, it’s a dull story.

The art of ninjitsu lets Izzy summon lightning balls.

The art of ninjitsu lets Izzy summon lightning balls.

Intrepid Izzy’s story might be forgettable, but it’s gameplay isn’t.

Gameplay – Familiar but Fun

Intrepid Izzy is a Metroidvania with platforming elements. Izzy explores different worlds in search of the gems necessary to open the door to the genie’s lair. Along the way, she acquires suits, each with different abilities. None of this is new, but it is competently done.

Izzy can walk, jump, punch, and use her special ability. The control is tight and responsive, which makes platforming a cinch to do. When the game begins, Izzy has her default outfit. Defeating bosses rewards her with new costumes.

Vehicle sections like this mine cart ride act as level transitions.

Vehicle sections like this mine cart ride act as level transitions.

These include a flying squirrel get-up that lets her glide and a vampire outfit that lets her turn into a bat, allowing her to squeeze through tight spots or reach previously inaccessible areas.

Izzy will use her suits to explore the levels and unlock new parts of the map. The stages include ancient ruins, and a winter tundra populated by ninjas. One stage sees Izzy shrunk down to microscopic size to eliminate viruses in her bloodstream.

Level Design

The game’s level design is not too confusing but not too linear. It strikes the sweet spot of offering plenty to look for but in levels that are easy to navigate. Besides finding mission critical items, there are chests containing coins or heart pieces.

Finding mirrors activates fast-travel for that area. The fast travel system cuts down on backtracking and returning to earlier levels to look for items.

AwesomeTown is a strange world where civilians ride dinosaurs and pickles walk the streets.

AwesomeTown is a strange world where civilians ride dinosaurs and pickles walk the streets.

AwesomeTown is the hub. Here, Izzy can do awesome things like swap outfits, buy items, or trade in heart pieces for an extra health point. So awesome!

Intrepid Izzy has the makings of a good game. The platforming is smooth, the exploration is rewarding, and the powers are varied. However, a lack of originality and challenge sullies the goodwill this game builds up.

Derivative with a Capital D

When I first started Intrepid Izzy, I was enjoying the game’s platforming and exploration, but something about it felt incredibly familiar. Then, it dawned on me Intrepid Izzy is a Shantae clone. The Shantae series is well-known for its platforming and Metroidvania gameplay, not to mention its spunky purple-haired protagonist.

Intrepid Izzy features everything Shantae is known for, but what it lacks is personality. Everything about the game feels cookie cutter, occasionally veering into borderline plagiarism.

Izzy throws a hadouken as if she's some sort of street fighter.

Izzy throws a hadouken as if she’s some sort of street fighter.

The game shamelessly lifts powers from other games. Izzy can throw fireballs like Street Fighter’s Ryu. She even shouts the iconic phrase, minus a few syllables to ensure Capcom’s lawyers don’t come knocking.

It’s one thing to take inspiration, it’s another to outright copy someone else’s work. Intrepid Izzy teeters a thin line between original and derivative, often teetering over into the latter.

Easy-Peasy

Intrepid Izzy is on the easy side. Most enemies go down from a handful of kicks and punches. Checkpoints and save stations are frequent, so you never feel any pressure from dying because if you do, the last checkpoint was only a couple of minutes ago.

A sea monster is no match for Izzy's fists.

A sea monster is no match for Izzy’s fists.

The boss fights are easy. They have easy to memorize patterns that ensure a quick victory. A couple of bosses put up a fight, but the frequent checkpoints mitigate any frustration.

Intrepid Izzy has good ideas, but when these ideas are put together, you see cracks in the foundation, plus the ideas lack a creative spark.

Graphics and Sound – Bright and Colorful

While Intrepid Izzy’s gameplay might be unoriginal, its no slouch in the graphics. The graphics are cartoony but well-drawn, despite some uncanny character models. Out of all the levels, the winter tundra and bloodstream levels are the highlights because of how different they are.

Frequent save stations means you won't lose much progress if you die.

Frequent save stations means you won’t lose much progress if you die.

As good as the graphics are, the audio is serviceable. Izzy’s repetitive grunts and catchphrases will have you reaching for the mute button, but what saves the audio is the music. It’s lively and vibrant with appropriate themes for each level.

Intrepid Izzy was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by prhound.

Summary
Intrepid Izzy isn't a bad game, but it's nowhere near as intrepid as the title suggests. It's a paint by numbers Metroidvania platformer that gets the job done and not much else. It's got colorful graphics and enjoyable gameplay, but it lacks originality. Blatantly copying other games only gets you so far.
Good
  • Colorful graphics
  • Good ideas
  • Solid level design
Bad
  • Lacks an original bone in its body
  • Easy difficulty
  • Uninspired writing and characters
5
Average

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