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Tails of Iron 2 Whiskers of Winter preview 1

Tails of Iron 2: Whiskers of Winter preview

Released back in 2021, it’s safe to say that we really enjoyed Odd Bug Studio’s Tails of Iron. A 2D action RPG with Soulslike combat, it charmed us with its animal antics and wonderful narration by the voice of Geralt of Rivia, Doug Cockle. Since then it’s only get better, too, with gameplay tweaks and lots of content added for free. Needless to say, when Tails of Iron 2: Whiskers of Winter was announced, we were rather excited.

Having now played a small section of Tails of Iron 2: Whiskers of Winter, however, we’re disappointed to report that our hype for this follow up has waned a little. And it’s a shame, because initially we were rather taken by it. Putting you in control of a new protagonist called Arlo, Whiskers of Winter moves the action north, away from Redgi and his frog troubles. After a brief hunting expedition, Arlo has problems of his own, and they make frogs seem like a walk in the park.

With his father dead and his people run out of their homes, Arlo finds himself having to step up and become a hero, much like Redgi. But this time his enemies are more fearsome, being bats, snakes, and more. Thankfully there are still some who can help him even the odds, and by overcoming his enemies and collecting their resources he’ll be able to gear himself up to be more of a formidable foe in battle.

Tails of Iron 2 Whiskers of Winter preview 2
Image: Odd Bug Studio

For the most part, Tails of Iron 2: Whiskers of Winter appears to be very similar to its predecessor; you’ll explore locations, engage in challenging combat and complete quests, allowing you to push further forward in the story. There are a number of key changes, however. One is that you now have a grappling hook, allowing you to quickly and easily cross large gaps providing there’s something to hook onto.

One new feature we’re not too keen on, however, is a sharpness meter for your equipped weapon. Just like in Monster Hunter, the sharpness of your weapon now degrades as you fight, and when it gets blunt, you’ll do less damage or even find your weapon just bouncing off armour. In between dodging, blocking and parrying enemy attacks, then, you also need to find time to sharpen your weapon with a whetstone.

Tails of Iron 2 Whiskers of Winter preview 3
Image: Odd Bug Studio

It might just be us, but this sharpness system just doesn’t do the game any favours. It’s just something else to needlessly worry about in the heat of battle. In any case, it certainly feels like weapons lose their sharpness way too quick – expect to find yourself having to sharpen your weapons multiple times during a boss battle. Hopefully this can be adjusted before the game launches, as right now it’s the only thing giving us real cause for concern when it comes to this sequel.

Having said that, however, maybe we’re just rusty, but the combat in general doesn’t feel quite as tight to us from what we’ve played, either. Dodging unblockable red attacks and parrying yellow attacks doesn’t feel as reliable and intuitive. We’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, though, and despite our issue with the sharpness system we’re still rather keen to go hands-on with the full game when it launches later this year. Having loved the first game so much, young Arlo deserves a chance to grow on us.

Tails of Iron 2: Whiskers of Winter launches later this year on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

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