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Isbarah is a combination of 2 genres, bullet hell and platformer with a very high difficulty level. The game follows Iria’s journey through her lineage, Iria is a goddess and in order to prevent this world from failing into chaos, her father rules it with an iron fist – and Iria is his only weapon and shield; he uses her to harshly punish anyone or thing that bends the law, and there are no mercies granted. The game consists of several chapters with each containing 3 fights, the difficulty you choose for each fight will have a huge impact. Normal the boss has 2 hits(more for the later bosses), hard- the boss has an extra hits and 7 hells the boss has an extra hit and is angry. The combat is rather unique mainly consisting of stay within an area for so long which is a lot harder than it sounds.
Iria has some of her fathers powers she has the ability to dash, create platforms for a time and to slow down time. Mastering these abilities is the only way to survive, Isbarah does not hold your hand at all there is a very high difficulty level and there little room to make mistakes if you mess up then you might just mess up again. You are given 3 hits and after that your dead each level does let you respawn once, since your father is God he helps you a little (there is actually story reasons why you can respawn which is a nice touch). Respawning will lower your score and I find this game driving me to not use it, all levels can be done flawlessly even if it may not seem like it. Although the game is very difficult and punishing if I make a mistake I always feel that it was easily avoided and don’t find myself yelling at the screen that the game is bad.
The games background and characters are beautifully designed and the soundtrack is excellent I haven’t found myself hating any of the songs despite the many many many tries I have had trying to get a perfect on seven hells. For completing a level flawlessly or on seven hells etc. there are various unlock-able bonuses such as pictures of the bosses and extra story but the main thing that drives me is that I know I can do it. The drive to do this gives each level a lot of replay-ability and to do them all perfect on 7 hells might just consume a persons entire life (but hopefully not).
The story seems a bit uninteresting to start and feels like filler that just gives you a reason to fight various enemies, but after a few levels it starts to get a bit more interesting and is rather unique. I have found very few faults with the game, at one point I encountered an error about resolution changes but have found no more since, if you have 2 or more monitors you may find yourself clicking off to your other screen and minimizing the game but there are various software’s to solve the problem and lock your mouse to the window.
There is no controller support for this and I don’t expect them to add it as one move would be rather hard to do with a controller, so mouse and keyboard all the way for this.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Isbarah and is a must buy for anyone who doesn’t mind ripping their hair out in frustration when they mess up (I have a lot so I don’t mind).