Xbox Indie Spotlight: Tails of Iron

By Heidi Nicholas,
Tails Of Iron first caught our eye with its magnificent medieval art style, and then our ear with the be-Witcher-ing voice of Doug Cockle as narrator. Whether you’re an RPG fan or not, Tails of Iron is definitely one you’re going to want to keep an eye on. Read on to see what producer and designer Jack Bennett has to say on Rat wars, Frog Clans, and the brutal world of Tails of Iron…

What is Tails of Iron?

Tails of Iron is a 2D RPG adventure game. It’s developed by Odd Bug Studio, and revolves around the epic war between the Rat Kingdom and the Frog Clan.

When does Tails of Iron launch?

There’s not too long to wait now, as Tails of Iron launches for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S on September 17th!

Tails of Iron

What’s it about?

Tails of Iron hinges on the gruesome war between the Rats and the Frogs. “There's some very obvious inspirations such as Redwall, Wind and the Willows and Secret of Nimh,” says Bennett. “These all have anthropomorphised characters which is something we wanted to explore." Bennett cites The Witcher, God of War and Game of Thrones as other sources of inspiration. "These all explore the epicness of multi-faction war whilst still concentrating on the story of the characters the narrative revolves around, which was something that was really interesting to us,” he adds.

In Tails of Iron, we’ll be playing as young prince Redgi of the Rat Kingdom. “Redgi is heir to the Rat throne when the Crimson Keep is attacked by Green Wart and the Frog Clans,” explains Bennett. “After the attack, his brothers are taken captive and the Crimson Keep is left in ruin. It’s up to Redgi as the small, unlikely hero to rescue his brothers and rebuild his family home! Along the way he meets a crew of companions that will help him on his journey to defeat Green Wart.”

Tails of Iron

What’s the Tails of Iron gameplay like?

Tails of Iron promises “punishingly brutal combat.” This isn’t an idle promise, either, as Tails of Iron cites the Souls-like genre as inspiration for its combat. “The Souls games were a major influence for us. We really enjoy how deliberate you have to be and how well you have to understand the enemy,” says Bennett. “In addition, we also like the weight of combat and how your character feels connected to the world.” Bennett cites God of War as another source of combat inspiration, adding, “all of our enemies' attacks have attack indicators similar to that game. Red attacks have to be dodged, whilst yellow attacks have to be parried. These inspirations allowed us to design a combat system that was weighted and deliberate but at the same time clean and readable.”

Enemies range from frog zombies to grubs, and it’ll be up to us to customise Redgi’s combat style, armour, and weapons. “The main way of customising your fighting style is by swapping your gear,” Bennett says. “Every weapon class has unique animations and different damage amounts, so spears are quick but weaker, whereas hammers are strong but slower. On top of this, armour has stats such as weight and defence. This allows you to tweak your style from a lightweight rogue to a heavy tank. In addition to this, armour also has enemy resistance so you’ll need to swap out your loadout depending on the enemy type you are fighting.” On top of all that, ranged weapons such as bows and crossbows vary in attack and reloading speeds, so you’ll need to strategise with those too.

Tails of Iron

We’ll also be interacting with other members of the Rat Kingdom, including Redgi’s brothers. Rem-Rem can cook for you using the ingredients you bring him, while Bam-Bam can craft armour and weapons from the blueprints you find, and Dug can alert you to quests around the Kingdom which you can complete for extra gold. “There’s a variety of different side quests that revolve around collecting gold to rebuild your keep,” Bennett says. “These range from things like clearing a grub infestation from the miners’ basement to defeating a frog camp, as well as collecting materials for different NPCs around the world.” Along with combat, cooking, and crafting, Bennett adds that “the whole game is driven by the story of rebuilding your keep,” so we can expect to spend a fair amount of time doing just that.

Tails of Iron

What’s the world like?

Tails of Iron features a beautiful hand-drawn medieval art style. “Our art director Martin is from the Czech Republic, so that really feeds into our art style,” Bennett explains. “The distinctive black lines that you can see on both the environments and the characters are heavily inspired by Eastern European wood carving and block printing. As well as this we like to create a distinctive ‘creepy’ atmosphere through the use of light and shadow. This is inspired by Grimm's Fairy Tales that use a cute exterior to tell a much darker and moodier story.” Tails of Iron features six distinct biomes. According to Bennett, the main ones are the Crimson Keep itself, which serves as a hub area to rebuild, and Long Tail Village, which is just outside the Crimson Keep. The trailers also show our hero venturing through the putrid swamps of the Frog Clan, facing deadly enemies and huge bosses.

Tails of Iron

Any news on Tails of Iron achievements?

Although we haven’t got the full Tails of Iron achievement list yet, Bennett did give us a good idea of what to expect. “A few members of the team are achievement hunters themselves, so we knew we wanted to have a platinum achievement,” Bennett explains. “This instantly gave us an idea of how many achievements we were going to have. As I’ve mentioned, our core mechanic is combat so we knew that a lot of the achievements would be focused around that. We have achievements based on killing a certain amount of a specific enemy type as well as achievements based on defeating bosses that we thought were particularly difficult. We just wanted to create achievements that felt like they were actually worth gaining.” The achievements, then, seem to match the Tails of Iron's promise of “punishingly brutal” combat, and achievement hunters can expect a challenge in completing the game. Bennett adds that some achievements “are tied to finding all the weapons and armour — there are over 75 individual pieces. Some are tied to unique side quests. The achievement list is definitely going to have you fighting and exploring for a long time to complete it!”

What do you think? Will you be charging into the fray for the Rat Kingdom when Tails of Iron arrives on September 17th? Let us know in the comments!
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've been a staff writer for TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies since 2019. I love open-worlders, RPGs, and fantasy games, am obsessed with tea, and forever loyal to The Witcher 3 and Red Dead 2.