Cold Iron

Cold Iron is a puzzle shooting game where you seek to avenge your father's death with his prized gun, Cold Iron.  You saw him get gunned down right in front of you and now you are off to kill the the men who caused you so much harm.  In each world you duel three different enemies ranging from standard western bad guys to fantasy-like tree people.  You will forget that you are in your living room as your heart begins pounding, your sense tingle and the difference between life and death is only .3 seconds.  Duel your way to redemption by having veins as cold as your gun. 


Quick Facts

Game Style: Puzzle Shooter
Controller: Single Move Controller
Length: 1.5-2 hours
Price: $19.99


When I began to play Cold Iron I knew literally nothing about the game.  The trailer I watched didn't really tell you anything so I was going in blind.  And then I got rocked. In the best way possible.  I absolutely love Cold Iron.  I am not a western fan, horses are not my spirit animal and I don't think I've ever watched 3 minutes of anything with John Wayne even it it.  But as I was playing through Cold Iron I felt like I was an outlaw on the path of redemption.  The only thing I was missing was the cowboy hat. 

Without giving too much of the plot away, Cold Iron puts you in place a young man who saw his father killed.  Your father was a heck of a duelist and cherished his gun, Cold Iron.  Now you have picked up Cold Iron with the motivation to avenge your father and make the men who killed him feel the heart wrenching pain that only Cold Iron could deliver.  The plot is interesting and keeps you engaged and even has a nice little plot twist at the end.  

Gameplay is very simple, you stand in front of the enemy and when the bell rings, you pull out your weapon and shoot.  First one shot is dead.  To do this you use only one move controller.  You keep the gun(and your move controller) holstered by your side then raise it up and shoot, just like a real duel.  Each world has 3 enemies, two normal ones then a boss fight.  Each duel goes 9 rounds and first to 5 wins the duel.  

I love the gameplay because it is nice and simple, yet so engaging.  As you stand across from your enemy the anticipation grows.  With every second that goes by as you wait for the bell you get more and more nervous to make the first move.  The game incorporates a pounding heart right before the bell rings, so this subconsciously makes you feel more nervous and ready to go.  If you draw too early, you lose and you must be accurate with your shot.  Once you hit the first boss, the game really notices where you shoot and I have lost many many times because I tried to draw too fast and shot the ground or shot over the person's head.  It keeps you honest and adds another level of skill to the game.

Catch and Release did a great job keeping the game interesting because you don't just line up in front of old fashioned westerners and come out guns ablazin'.   Rather each enemy has their own strategy.  Some enemies disguise themselves, other temporarily disappear, some hide behind the environment, some are lightning fast, some try to distract you, etc.  This is where the puzzle in puzzle shooter comes in.  

My favorite enemy in the game is the second boss.  He stands in front of you and right before the bell he disappears then shows back up with two other mirages that look very similar to him but will have something a little off.  It may be that their mask will be a different color, sleeves different lengths or have slightly different shoes.  It's like one of those games where you look at the two pictures and try to find what is different, but you have to do that in about 2 seconds or you'll get shot down.  

All of this to say that the game isn't just the same thing over and over again.  They spice it up with some other fun gameplay features.  There are bonus stages where you shoot watermelons out of the air and each round has a statue that can earned.  If you get silver or gold on all statues then you can enter a "final showdown" with the last boss.  

The difficulty is absolutely perfect as well.  I'm a very average gamer in terms of my skill so I don't like impossibly hard games, but also don't want it too easy.  Cold Iron isn't easy and there is definitely a learning curve in terms of shooting and drawing your gun in an accurate manner.  I lost four or five times and had to replay the world again, but most of the time after the second go round I was able to defeat my foe.  The enemies all do different things to make it difficult on you so sometimes it takes 4 or 5 rounds to even get the cadence and timing of what the enemy does down.  But never during the game was I wanting a break because of boredom or aggravation. 

I finished Cold Iron in about 1 hour, 10 minutes give or take (without collecting all the trophies to enter the "final showdown".  So it isn't a long game, but I feel that it is the perfect length.  You can only make the simple gameplay of dueling interesting and engaging for so long.  The length is perfect to me and the $20 price tag I think is appropriate.  I would have like to see it like $15 to be a must-buy, but I think there is enough fun, replay value and playtime with friends/family to make it a very worthwhile $20 investment.  

Honestly, there aren't many improvement that need to be made in this game, it is fantastic.  At times, the gameplay can be a little slow.  By this I mean that the time between your actual shots in the duel are slow.  You stand in front of your enemy, then you hear your heart pound then you stand there a little longer and wait for the bell then shoot.  You actually spend more time waiting than shooting.  Then a screen pops up with your score and some information like shooting time, etc. Then you do that over again.  9 times for each enemy.  It would be nice if the time between shots was less.  Especially during the enemies where I had to replay because I lost the first time, I found myself saying: "C'mon lets go, I just want to duel!".  It isn't horrible, but some people may find it painful waiting that long between duels.  

Another thing that would be simply outstanding is if Catch and Release could somehow make an online mode where you duel against other PSVR users.  I don't know if that is possible but if so that would be simply incredible.  

Another thing I want to mention is the fact that although after you play through the game the replay value isn't through the roof, this is going to be an awesome game for first time PSVR players and parties.  I love showing off my PSVR and watching people play it and Cold Iron is now on my Top 3 must play games for guests and friends.  It is everything you want in a game for guests.  Engaging, fun, immersive, unique experience, won't make them sick and really showcases why VR is so different (and better in my opinion) than any other gaming platform they had tried before.  

In conclusion, Cold Iron is one of my new go-to PSVR games.  I loved the atmosphere, story, gameplay, difficulty and overall experience.  It was executed to perfection and is a game that provides immense amounts of fun at parties.  Cold Iron has a little something for everybody and is a game that I certainly advise you to purchase.  Along with Resident Evil 7, Farpoint and Skyrim, Cold Iron is a PSVR must-buy. 

Adam StewartComment