- Environment: Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS x64, kernel Linux 5.11.0-25-generic
- Emulator Used: LibTAS 1.4.2
- Version used: Linux 1.15 (August 2nd 2018), 64-bit, DRM Steam
- The current Steam release (also labeled as 1.15) is not the correct version. Due to lack of abuse of old patch glitches, the current Steam version may sync, but this is untested.
- Complete the main story as fast as possible
- Takes damage to save time
- Forgoes time-saving glitches
- Forgoes major skip glitch
- Uses a game restart sequence
- Genre: Action
- Genre: Adventure
- Genre: Platform
Iconoclasts is an exploration platformer game developed by Swedish developer Joakim "konjak" Sandberg and released in 2018 for PC, PS Vita and PS4, with ports to Switch and Xbox One coming on later dates. The game follows Robin, a helpful and naive mechanic using her skills to help others as she becomes wanted by government agents for doing so. Following the usual "Metroidvania" formula, the player obtains upgrades and abilities as the game progresses, and they help both defeating enemies and solving puzzles to progress.
The previously submitted “no airswim” TAS was unfortunately made obsolete due to new discoveries in the game that made the route near identical to the with airswim run. With this in mind, I thought a more strictly defined no major skips type run was warranted. To create this TAS, it was first necessary to define what exactly is a major skip. I settled on two very simple, yet broad, rules:
- No Airswim - This almost goes without saying. Any use of airswim will of course be considered a major skip, regardless of how small.
- No entering black space - “Black space” is the RTA community name for any screen of the game where no room data exists to load, encompassing essentially all oob space. It’s named this way due to the screen rapidly flashing near fully black while the player is present in it. While in black space, the game attempts to move Robin back inbounds by moving her back to the last position she was touching the ground. This system is highly abusable and allows for skipping many sections of the game.
With these rules in mind, the remaining allowed skips are:
- Kerthunk Skip
- White Skip
- Watchman 3 Skip
- Nobel Skip
- Some miscellaneous zips
If you’re unfamiliar with the game, I recommend reading through Ikuyo’s explanation of general movement mechanics and tricks in her ”no airswim” submission before continuing here.
This run crafts only one tweak:
- Dodger - allows Robin to perform a dodge roll by pressing down+wrench. This move gives her a significant burst of forward speed, as well as invincibility frames. Unlike in the previously submitted no airswim TAS, this will not be used for quantum leaps, but it still sees prolific use for general movement and is easily worth crafting.
Two other tweaks were considered but determined to be likely not worth crafting:
- Fleet Foot - Increases Robin’s base movement speed from 470 to 520 units. As many other tricks exist for increasing movement speed past this value, this speed increase would be rendered obsolete for the majority of the TAS.
- Tool Assist - Increases Robin’s wrench damage from 30 to 50 against the majority of foes. Most notably, this effect does not work against the final boss, where Robin deals a fixed 36 damage per wrench swing. As there are few boss fights and they are quite fast even without this damage increase, I decided against crafting this tweak.
Blockrock is the tutorial area of the game, and Robin does not have access to her wrench yet at the start. It is theoretically possible to obtain the wrench immediately as it is available in her basement without opening it the intended way, but there is currently no known way to gain access early. To open the basement, the first boss to the left of her house must be fought.
Most of the movement before the first boss is straightforward, aside from breaking the rocks immediately before the fight. Releasing the charge shot normally would boost Robin to the right, losing her slope boost. To remedy this, the boost can be redirected upward while still shooting the blast leftward with a frame perfect up input, allowing Robin to maintain speed into the boss.
Boss: Spine Controller 1
After acquiring the Wrench, we advance further into Blockrock. Some RNG manip is done in the first nut room to spawn the first Rupto further away from the final nut and to prevent it from launching towards Robin.
The next room is the largest room in blockrock, and almost every enemy position is relevant. Despite this, RNG manip for this room took very little time compared to previous TAS work, thankfully. It is possible to turn the first nut only a single time and still make it past the purple door it opens, but this would cause issues later in the TAS when returning through this room.
In the next room, a kill jump can be used to gain height up the vertical tunnel to skip going into the room below. The obvious choice of enemy to use for this is the Pluro inside the tunnel, but it’s actually possible to barely slip by this enemy and save it for a kill jump later. With this in mind, I manipulated a second Pluro to walk over towards the tunnel so I could use it instead. Three kill jumps and a gun boost are used to advance through the next section without needing to use the provided moving block. For getting past the buckle in the top right of the room, I was unable to use a crouched damage boost due to the enemy spawning in the air too high to hit a crouched Robin.
The next puzzle to solve normally requires raising the purple block in the middle of the room and using it to trap the other block on the left side. However, it is possible to instead grab the second block as it moves back to its original position and perform a wall jump on top of it.
Settlement 17 is a small village that houses Elro, Robin’s brother. This section requires us to complete some small quests for its inhabitants. We collect one unit of ivory oil material here, which is only accessible without gun boosts by using an extremely late game double jump tweak. The key for this chest is actually vital for a skip used in the current no airswim route, but thankfully that skip is irrelevant here so there’s no harm in losing the key.
The weird looking movement inside house 09 is required to activate a trigger: the player is supposed to talk to Mr. Andress at the upper floor, but the actual trigger to make Pontus appear in the room is to both talk to Petra and reach a vertical trigger in the upper floor. We can reach it with careful positioning without ever having to land on the floor, saving us time. I stomp in front of Pontus before talking to him as this perfectly aligns Robin on the nearest x coordinate, getting her in position to instantly start the cutscene, rather than walking to the correct position first.
We take a small detour to enter house 06. This is required to progress the story and it also activates the Tweaks slots for us.
After completing Elro’s quest in the church, Robin is captured by the Agents, who keep us locked in the community centre.
An escape sequence plays here where we must sneak past One Concern Soldiers and not make noise. The game slows Robin’s crawling animation and disables all ways of fast crawl movement. The start of her crawling animation causes a creaking noise, which will be heard by the soldiers if done at any point other than during their laughter. Two strategies can be used to gain small amounts of extra distance during this. First, releasing and repressing movement on the last possible frame of laughter to reset the time until the next creak allows a small amount of extra movement. Second, while the soldiers are telling their jokes Robin can actually make one frame of movement safely by doing a same frame move+gun press. This can be done once every 22 frames, saving a small amount of time in this section. Credit to Ikuyo for discovering this!
Bit of game trivia: the jokes the soldiers tell here used to be much less appropriate, but were toned down in an early patch.
After escaping from the soldiers, we’re expected to move to the right, which would trigger a boss battle with Kerthunk. Instead, we exploit an oversight with a nearby cutscene trigger. Attempting to move left past the church starts a small cutscene where Robin is nearly seen by some soldiers and must retreat. If Robin is within half an x unit of the position this cutscene places her at, all actions taken are immediately canceled with a potentially useful side effect. Canceled stomps allow Robin to jump again midair, or fly quickly to the right, depending on if weapon swap was held. After abusing both of these to quickly break the rocks before the Kerthunk fight, we move back left to abuse the cutscene trigger once again. A canceled wrench swing while holding weapon swap allows Robin to continue walking during cutscenes, allowing her to walk past Kerthunk and hit the trigger to enter the next area.
Shard Wastelands is a desertic area which we drift towards after the events in Settlement 17. Right at the start of the area, an interesting zip is performed. A slight misalignment in the ceiling heights between the two start rooms allows Robin to transition into a wall, causing her to zip upward. This only saves around 1.5 seconds due to the lengthy setup, and is not worth doing in many categories as it skips collection of a nearby schematic containing fleet foot.
Most rooms beyond this are uneventful, and all enemies in this section behave deterministically, so no RNG manipulation is required.
The next semi-notable movement is the damage boost done on the thorns in the room with the locked chest. Normally, climbing into these would knock Robin away to the left, but holding left during the animation actually causes a boost to the right instead. A down press can also be used to have the reduced crouch knockback as well, despite Robin having no time to crouch before being hurt.
After this is the first (and only) instance of an obscure tech with the stomp. If Robin lands exactly on the edge of a platform, the landing animation is immediately canceled. This is used here to break the red block without needing a wrench cancel afterward. Thanks to DL Kurosh for reminding me this tech existed!
The next new tech used is after the room with the 3 Alburtus. Normally it’s required to do a full extra loop around this room to raise the purple block in the crawlspace, allowing you to jump rather than simply fall downward. However, it’s possible to instead buffer a jump input out of the crawlspace to jump off of air during coyote frames.
In the small house near the end of the area, Robin is forced to step on a man’s head to progress, knocking him unconscious in the process (very rude, I know). This normally locks you into a short animation, but it’s possible to instead perform a stomp and cancel it just before hitting him to avoid this. Both the stomp and the cancel are frame perfect inputs, making this likely the hardest trick in the game. Thankfully it’s minor enough to be completely irrelevant in RTA runs.
After this is a short minigame where Robin has to raise and lower a platform to place boxes on the correct levels. The pattern of boxes is fixed, so no RNG manip needs to be done here to have more optimal boxes. Seeing as you’re limited to only one input that does anything during this, not much can be done to make it more interesting to watch.
Completing this rewards Robin the roller bomb shot, which unlocks a new piece of tech. Swapping to this gun and quickly back to the stun gun before releasing a charge shot allows Robin to charge 1 frame faster.
After a short trip back to the beginning of this area, we can progress towards the next boss: Kibuka.
After progressing through some story triggers, Robin is placed underwater in Isilugar Depths. Water movement is very simple, as Robin moves in straight lines with instant turns. To maintain max speed, it is necessary to mash every other frame. Some small detours are done to collect air, as Robin moves much slower while drowning.
In the large puzzle room, a small skip is performed near the end to cross the thorn pit without doing the intended method.
After progressing through Isilugar Depths, the main area Isilugar Labs is reached. In this section, our goal is to collect three “trinikeys” necessary to activate the upcoming boss Inti.
The first one involves traveling to the bottom of the labs, where there is a large puzzle room with two halves. The left half can be trivially skipped with a gun boost upward, while the right half must be done in mostly the intended way.
On the way back from this trinikey, we make a small detour to collect the “Parkour” schematic, which allows crafting of the dodger tweak.
Tweak Crafting in Save Points
The next trinikey is the simplest to obtain, requiring only swimming past some Manobites to obtain. After collecting it, a small zip can be done by jumping out of water into a ceiling. This zip could continue further upward, but must be stopped early to collect a necessary simple key.
Rather than go the intended path to the third trinikey, which requires use of a simple key, another zip is used to quickly reach the tall room with two Manobites. This has an exit in the top right that’s meant to be one way, but through use of two kill jumps and a gun boost it can be reached in this direction as well.
After collecting the third trinikey and dispatching some Controllers blocking the path back, another series of zips is done to reach the two Manobites and perform the double kill jump again. Going this route allows us to unload a set of doors that would lock us into a fight with another series of Controllers, saving a small amount of time.
The game now teleports us back to Inti, where we activate the final story trigger for this area. Once this is done, all that’s left to do in this area is return to the top half and fight some soldiers to get the electric wrench.
The soldiers fight is definitely the most RNG heavy section of this run, as each soldier has both random movement and attacks. Additionally, there’s almost no time between them for RNG manipulation. The first soldier must be manipulated to jump upward into Robin’s missile, defeating him instantly. The next three soldier kills are consistent, but the two in the bottom left room required heavy manipulation. They must be manipulated to walk near each other so they can be hit by a single offscreen missile. The two in the top right room also required heavy RNG manipulation to be able to defeat the gun soldier without slowing down. The next two soldiers must also group together for a single missile, but this was much easier to accomplish due to not needing to fire the missile immediately upon entering the room.
After defeating the last soldier, we are rewarded with the electric wrench, allowing progress into the next area.
After progressing a few more story triggers in Isilugar, we can move left towards the next area. This marks the first major divergence from the previous no airswim submission, as we must enter Shockwoods using the intended entrance on the left side of Blockrock, rather than through the fast travel. The key stolen from Isilugar is used to enter without completion of a normally required quest to find Pontus, skipping the Gerrie boss fight entirely.
After progressing through some puzzles with precise electric charge management, we reach the first major section of the game involving control of Mina. As Mina lacks options to manipulate RNG without losing time, the long room containing many soldiers was a formidable obstacle to this run. I eventually settled on getting through with one damage boost near the end, although it would be slightly faster to find a way through without this.
Boss: Spine Controller 2
After defeating this boss, we’re switched back to playing as Robin. A very large and daunting puzzle room presents itself, but it can be skipped entirely using a simple zip. By dodge rolling onto a hidden ladder in the bottom left corner of the room, we’re able to climb it upward into the ceiling and be zipped to the exit of the puzzle room.
After a few more short puzzle rooms and bombing open a shortcut along the way, we reach the next boss of the run.
This area begins with Robin losing her wrench and gun and being locked in a jail cell. Our first goal here is to head down into the basement and reclaim our wrench, allowing Robin to once again interact with necessary puzzle elements.
From here, it’s normally required to visit the right side of the tower, but with some small skips using dodger on floors 1B and 3B the gun can be reacquired first. After this, due to lack of extra keys on entering, it is unfortunately required to make a trip to the right side without the galvanized wrench.
Boss: Silver Watchman
After another quick trip to the basement to acquire the galvanized wrench, it’s back to the right side of the tower to grab two keys we missed on floor 5B. These could not be acquired earlier as they both require use of the galvanized wrench.
Back on the left side, the elevator briefly stops between floors 5B and 6B. This is due to another encounter with the Silver Watchman that’s meant to occur here, but it can be trivially skipped by inputting up as the elevator comes to a stop.
Dark Cave/Darland Ascent
Normally a much longer area, dark cave can be skipped almost entirely by performing a kill jump + gun boost combo off of a sadling near the beginning of the area, leading us directly to the next boss.
Boss: Possessed Thunk
Exiting the Dark Cave, we now enter Darland Ascent. This area has a constant leftward wind, which significantly slows down or speeds up Robin, depending on movement direction. We collect one key aboveground here before descending once again into the underground section of the area. Here, another very time consuming key must be collected, where it is necessary to lure a slow moving enemy to the bottom of a tall room to break open a wall for us. After this, we advance forward to the next boss.
Boss: Omega Controller
One Concern West
After defeating Ash, we return to Darland Ascent and climb back up to the entrance to One Concern West. This area is split into an upper and a lower section. In the upper section, our main goal is to obtain the final upgrade to our gun: the usurper shot.
Most puzzles here can be skipped, but one particularly long one where Robin dangles from a very lengthy chain must be completed in the intended manner. After this, Robin must progress through some rooms with smoke present. While in smoke, Robin holds her breath and may suffocate, but her movement is not hindered in any way. Due to this, it can be completely ignored in this TAS.
After obtaining the usurper shot, we progress backwards and enter the lower section of the area. Our main goal here is to free Royal from his cell near the bottom of the area, allowing him to open the way forward towards City One. This section has the longest zip of the run in it, crossing two screen transitions before reaching its end goal.
We grab a key from a basement room filled with a combination of ivory and melted corpses. This nasty liquid heavily slows Robin down, so we jump and perform gun boosts upward whenever possible to avoid moving while inside it. After using this key to free Royal, the path to the next boss is clear. The largest room along the way contains a complex puzzle that can thankfully be skipped using a single charged bomb.
Boss: Black 1
After Black, another major divergence from the no airswim TAS occurs. Rather than perform the skip to Rocket Platform, we must progress through several more areas first. The first of these is a short trip into One Concern East, where we find Elro and add him back into our party.
After this, we progress to the next real area of the run: City One. This area is very linear and has few noteworthy rooms, mostly consisting of running past NPCs along the surface. There is one short puzzle room that must be solved, where Robin must electrify a box in order to rotate a platform into place. A small optimization is done here by shooting an electrified bomb into position before the box falls. Boss: Mother
After defeating Mother, we progress further into City One and up the Bastion to progress some necessary story triggers. Entering the right side room at the top of the area is required, despite there being no cutscene or other obvious progression there.
After skipping some cutscenes at the top, we’re sent back down to where we defeated Mother and must run back out of the area past some newly placed enemies and mines placed on the walls/ground.
One Concern East
After clearing City One, we return for the main bulk of this area. One Concern East is split into three self contained sections. The first of which the player controls Mina, the second Robin, and the last Elro.
The Mina section begins with some short movement, followed by a very long autoscroller full of enemies. To avoid unnecessary freeze frames, only one unavoidable enemy is killed.
After Mendeleev, the player is switched back to controlling Robin for a short time. There are two large puzzles in this section, the first of which can be skipped by swapping with a box to reach the exit. For the second puzzle, the bulk of it can be skipped due to a wall that lacks collision, allowing Robin to activate the end goal of the puzzle without the normally required lengthy solution.
After this skip, the player is placed in control of Elro. Due to the skip of the previous boss, it is necessary to save at the nearby statue and reload to prevent a soft lock later on. Due to his injuries, Elro moves at a pathetic speed of 110 units, compared to Robin’s default speed of 470. Damage boosts increase this to 300, so we’ll be using those whenever possible. The path to the next fight is very linear, posing only a few small boxes as obstacles.
Immediately after Lawrence, the player is placed back in control of Robin at the Rocket Platform. After some short platforming, we reach our next boss.
Boss: Black 2
Boss: Ivory Beast
After this fight, we’re placed into Midway. A very uneventful and linear area, existing only to provide some story exposition. After reaching the end, we must carry Royal backwards only to use him as a door key near the beginning of the area. After leaving this area, we’re placed back at Robin’s house, only a short distance from the newly opened Impact Zone.
Before reaching the end fights, it is necessary to pass through 4 small arena fights in this area. Due to the enemy spawns being on a long timer, it is unnecessary to defeat any but the last spawns in an optimal manner. Additionally, the second arena can be skipped with a kill jump + gun boost combo to reach a screen transition, and the fourth arena can be skipped with a zip performed by dodging into the cutscene trigger at max height.
Before we can battle the Starworm, we must escape the four Nightmares, each representing a character from the game (Elro, Mina, Royal and Black respectively). The goal of each (except the final one) is to open the sunflowers in each room, each having its own means of activation.
Elro is very straightforward, only requiring us to repeatedly wrench the nut in the center of the room. In most playthroughs he will be far more aggressive based on dialog choices throughout the game, which are chosen fully randomly if cutscenes are skipped. RNG manipulation was done earlier in this run to ensure the pacifying dialog choices were selected.
During the transitions into both Mina and Royal, we press and hold wrench. This causes a glitch where Robin is considered to be spinning her wrench for the rest of the room. This is known as the Infinite Wrench Glitch. This also causes the game to keep Robin electrified for as long as the glitch happens. We use this to quickly activate the sunflowers in these phases.
Black is the simplest nightmare, as we only have to shoot it to finish it.
Before the Starworm Battle, we have a conversation with Polro, Robin’s father. We are then prompted with a decision: we can get to him and hug him, or head to the door and move away. This decision affects which type of rocks the final boss will summon as a shield later on. If you go to the door you get rocks that require the bomb gun to break, and if you hug Polro you get rocks that require the stun gun. Hugging him is slightly faster, but gives less desirable rocks in the final boss.
Starworm has a consistent attack pattern, and due to the high damage output of the usurper shot, it’s rarely optimal to attack with the wrench. A missile is used to finish this fight as it has the highest damage output of any single attack available to us.
Boss: Lucas Birbasaurus Rex
The final boss of the game. Lucas has several attacks at his disposal, but most of them are incredibly slow to deal with. The best attack he can do by far is a stomp on the ground with a long windup. He can also charge his wrench by spinning it, similar to Robin. Both of these attacks are manipulated to occur at the start of the fight, allowing a massive amount of damage to be output against him. After this, due to his low health, he is locked into performing only the guaranteed phase transition attacks until the end.
Final input happens on closing the final textbox of the end sequence with Elro, on frame 296545.
Under RTA timing rules, this run’s frame count is 286768, meaning a final time of 1:19:40.26.
- General Movement: I’m sure there are numerous minor mistakes throughout the TAS, which could add up to a major improvement. As an example of one that I’ve noticed: a potential charge shot was missed when heading towards the final puzzle in Blockrock.
- RNG: In various sections such as the Mina area in Shockwoods and the Lawrence fight, small amounts of time were lost to RNG manipulation.
- Kibuka: Time was lost in the first phase of Kibuka due to Royal’s third attack targeting far away from the boss and needing to wait for it to walk closer.
- Black: In the first Black boss fight, I was incorrectly swapping to the stun gun between usurper shots, rather than the bomb gun. Due to this, I did not gain the increased cooldown rate and could have attacked much more rapidly. This problem was rectified where it matters for the second phase of the Ivory Beast boss fight.
- Tweaks: Crafting one of the earlier mentioned tweaks could be worth it, although this is near impossible to test without doing multiple TAS side by side.
- Patch 1.14: On 1.14 and earlier, it was not possible to change difficulty on a save file. Due to this, the game will not prompt the player to select a difficulty when reloading in the Elro section of One Concern East. This is an incredibly minor difference, but I figured it was worth mentioning regardless.
- The Iconoclasts speedrunning community for finding many of the tricks and strategies used in this run.
- Ikuyo for creating the wonderful predecessor to this run, which I watched closely for help in finding movement strategies through many sections of this run.
- DL Kurosh for proof reading this submission.
Info Teddy: This is going to be fun!