Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ittle Dew

Developed and published by Ludosity
Played on PC

     As great as the Zelda series is, sometimes the wait between games can get a bit much. We haven't even seen any of Zelda U besides a small teaser trailer. Ittle Dew looks to fill that gap by being a definitive Zelda clone, and it is, for better or worse.
     The basic plot has Ittle and her flying ferret (?) companion, Tippsi, washing up on an island where there's surely adventure to be had! The game itself doesn't care so much about plot as it does its sense of humor, and it delivers there. Half of it is winking at standard Zelda conventions, while the other half is an absurd, morbid sense of humor that made me laugh out loud. The high points are the conversations with enemies that you have when you encounter them for the first time. Let's just say that a sentient moai head with wings does not have the most pleasant existence.
     The gameplay is a match for the 2D Zelda games. A top-down adventure where you fight enemies, trek through dungeons, collect items, and solve block puzzles. Block puzzles may not be the most exciting puzzle ever devised in video game history. The difference here is the game's focus on them. Pretty much any puzzle to get through a door comes down to “push these blocks on to the switches”. It then quickly throws as many elements as it can into the puzzles, and once you get the items, even more elements. Figuring out exactly what you need to do for each puzzle is tricky and satisfying, and the game's “reset room” option means that you're never afraid to experiment.
     The items themselves don't shock, with a fire sword, an ice wand, and a teleport wand. That's it. The game opens up more once you look at the achievements and realize you don't even need all three to beat the game. In fact, the game constantly encourages you to look for ways around the puzzles, with professional routes in each dungeon and an achievement for beating the game in 15 minutes. It wants you to go through again and skip a third of the game. 100% players and speedrunners will have a lot to look forward to here. Those who just want to beat the game might be disappointed. I was able to beat the game in about 2 hours with exploration of the various side-caves.

     Still, the game remains high quality throughout. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it makes the wheel as smooth and polished as it can be. It's not quite a Zelda game, but like the title says, it'll do.

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