Today I decided to expand my gaming habits to games I might not otherwise play. A friend mentioned that today’s game, Ittle Dew 2+ was similar to the 2D Legend of Zelda games. I’m a big fan of these games, so I thought a similar competitor might be worth a look.
The game starts out simple enough. With a short cut scene, a quick explanation of the game’s goal through character dialogue, and that is it, I’m already playing. At first glance, this is a retro-style Legend of Zelda clone. The game features a similar top down view, and you attack with a swing of a short ranged weapon, a stick. You explore dungeons, solve puzzles, fight a boss, and gain new tools or upgrades. This is pretty standard for a Zelda game.
Before moving on, I want to mention a few slight twists to the formula: every dungeon, except for the last one, can be done in any order. Next, every dungeon can be cleared with your starting equipment, and the tool you gain from that dungeon. Another change is that health upgrades increase your heart meter by 1/4 of a heart. This change is the starting point for the main issue I have with this game.
Ittle Dew 2+ is a hard game. Hard games aren’t always a bad thing, though, it depends on why the game is hard. In this game’s case, the upgrades you gather are a little too weak to compensate for how quickly the enemies get stronger. By the time you reach the area that contains the second dungeon, you are fighting enemies that require too many hits and that launch too many homing projectiles. This is to the extent that I started avoiding new enemies not much further in the game, unless I had to kill the enemies to progress.
I feel that this was an ill-advised design decision, as some players (myself included) like to fight everything. This game doesn’t allow much room to do that, and I feel that whether or not the player should fight a foe should be the player’s choice. Such a choice should not be something you have to avoid due to the design team or testers being so skilled at their own game that they think these are fair fights. It may be that they planned on players running past these enemies, but that isn’t apparent untill the player sees how tough each enemy is.
These fights I found are usually won by combining an aggressive fighting style and mastering the dodge roll perfectly. It feels kinda mindless and somewhat luck based even though this is an action game. The bosses of each dungeon feel a little better, as the game shows their health meter, and have attack patterns that you can learn to dodge. You can expect to die in this game a lot, with the total death count feeling similar to the original Legend of Zelda for the NES.
The puzzles are almost as tricky. They are kinda obtuse, and the later puzzles often require you to use your tools in ways that aren’t taught to you in easier puzzles, which makes many modern games a smoother experience than Ittle Dew 2+.
The last thing I will leave you with is the game’s unusual writing style. I feel the writers were aiming to go with self-aware humor that makes fun of the tropes of this style of game, but the end result is that the characters have lazy attitudes and limited motivations. Even by the end of the game, I had no idea why anyone acted the way they did. I know this is a sequel, but not having played the first game, I have no idea if there was a better setup for this type of characterization (let me know in the comments if the first game was like this too!).
Now a few game play recommendations:
- Try to play the dungeons in order, especially if this is your first play through. It won’t make the game much easier, though.
- Don’t fight everything, at least not the tough enemies you don’t need to fight.
- You may want to explore the game world to find more upgrades than what the main dungeons offer.
- If you like speed running, this game tracks your play time. Try to find a faster route through this game if this is your thing.
- There is some post game content, though I hear it is hard to find it all, and the optional final challenge is very difficult.
Now let’s look at the Pro’s and Con’s:
- You can choose what order to complete the dungeons.
- The core controls and game play work on paper.
- A challenging game for those who are seeking it.
- Time is tracked for speed runners.
- Game’s difficulty outpaces the upgrades that you can find.
- Puzzles are often obscure, especially for the first play through.
- The games writing is very lazy, even for a video game.
7/10 Good, but needlessly challenging
This game might be worth your time if you are in between major game releases. I wouldn’t recommend paying full price for the game. It isn’t quite The Legend of Zelda, but (pardon the pun) it’ll do.
And there you have it, my thoughts on Ittle Dew 2+. Did you play this game? What did you think of it? Was this game too challenging for you, or did you like the extra difficulty? Let me know in the comments below!