By Jason Quinn / December 27th, 2016
|Title||Ittle Dew 2
|Release Date||November 15th, 2016|
|Platform||PC, PS4, Xbox One|
|Age Rating||ESRB E for Everyone|
Ittle Dew 2 is a game that is unabashedly based on older 2D Legend of Zelda games. From the sprawling overworld to the dungeons scattered about, the roots of this game are plain to see. Rather than being a dramatic tale of adventure, it has a much more lighthearted tone.
Ittle Dew 2 starts out with the heroine and her flying fox companion floating out at sea. They crash upon an island, and they must now plunder eight dungeons for pieces of a raft. Presumably, you can’t just cut down trees and make one, I guess. That’s about it as far as the initial story goes. The adventure begins right after a short conversation. The story is very minimal but there is a decent amount of quirky dialogue to make up for it. The humor in this game isn’t quite my cup of tea, though I had a few chuckles here and there.
The structure of the game takes the Legend of Zelda formula and streamlines it. A map shows you where you are, with a giant red arrow pointing to the next dungeon, which I had already conquered within 15 minutes. There are almost no cutscenes or story fluff; it just gets right to the point. The dungeons themselves are also very reminiscent of Legend of Zelda. Rooms are filled with puzzles you need to complete in order to progress, and there are locked doors that require keys. Of course, there are also items to find that will be instrumental in solving certain puzzles in the dungeon, as well as defeating the boss.
Ittle Dew 2 has a pleasant cel-shaded look to it, and character portraits are drawn in a very cartoony style. The bright and vivid colors and cartoony characters compliment the overall lighthearted tone of the game. The environments of the game are fairly distinct, ranging from standard forests to a beach with candy canes strewn about, mountains, and other places. The dungeons unfortunately feel a little less distinct. In most Legend of Zelda games, a dungeon will often have a unique gimmick or mechanic to make it stick out in the player’s mind. Unfortunately, most of the puzzles in Ittle Dew 2 are pretty generic. You encounter the same types of challenges in each dungeon. None of them have any unique mechanics.
The puzzles take inspiration from Legend of Zelda, but the game also does some unique things. The standard block pushing puzzles are present, as well as variations on this theme; hitting switches in a certain order, blocks made of ice that slide around, for example. There are also items you can get that have different uses. While every dungeon has an item to collect, some are just passive upgrades, such as doing more damage. Some of the items include a wand that can shoot a magic bullet that pushes blocks. There is a ring that lets you make frozen blocks you can push around and also freeze enemies. There’s also dynamite, which functions much like the bombs from The Legend of Zelda. The game reuses many puzzle elements, which means dungeons remain pretty easy. Topping off the dungeon is a boss fight, and your reward is a piece of a raft.
The overworlds in most Zelda games are relatively simple to navigate, and you never have to deal with more than a few enemies at a time. This game, however, is absolutely packed with enemies. The combat in Ittle Dew 2 is also not particularly great due to how short ranged your attack is. Not only this, but there are enemies that can take a lot of damage. These two factors make combat something of a chore. There is an item that extends the range of your attack, which helps a little. Fortunately, you also have a dodge roll, which you can use to avoid them. When traversing the overworld, this is the best thing to do. Fighting enemies doesn’t give you anything, as there’s no experience and no currency to acquire.
In dungeons, there are rooms that require you to kill enemies in order to proceed. Some enemies have neat concepts, but when you have to fight a whole pack of them, it tends to limit enjoyment. In the second half of the game, I found myself putting sticks of dynamite down and just rolling around. This was a lot faster than trying to fight them with the normal attack. The boss fights are a bit more fair, thanks to their clearly defined patterns. The boss fights also lack variety, however. A few bosses get reused, with slightly changed up moves. Almost all bosses share some common attacks as well. There’s a charge move where they simply dash towards you, and a move where they shoot out a lot of projectiles around them. This tends to make some bosses feel kinda samey.
It’s worth mentioning that you can completely ignore the games directions, explore wherever you please, and complete dungeons in any order you choose. Most of the dungeons are designed so that they can be completed with minimal items. However, this open design comes at a cost. While you do get freedom, I feel like this limited the designers with how complicated they can make the dungeons. If it was more linear, you could layer puzzles on top of each other so that all items see more usage outside of the dungeons you find them in.
The overworld has some secret caves to accompany the dungeons as well. They have some little puzzles to solve, with the reward usually being a health upgrade. Other rewards include a lock pick, which is an interesting addition. Lock picks allow you to open a locked door in a dungeon without having to find a key. I feel like this reward often isn’t worth it, as the puzzles to get the lock pick tend to be harder than just getting a normal key in a dungeon. However, there’s no way to tell what the reward is, so sometimes it pays off to explore and sometimes it doesn’t. Other things you might find are different outfits and a collectible item where if you have enough of them, you can access secret dungeons.
The soundtrack doesn’t have the rousing symphonic pieces like the Zelda series. Instead, it goes for some laid back, mellow tracks that better suit its aesthetic. None of the music is bad, but at the same time it lacks any real memorable tunes.
Overall, I think this game isn’t a bad attempt at a Zelda clone, but some frustrating combat and lackluster dungeons take a lot of enjoyment out of the game. Trying to streamline the Zelda experience is commendable, but I feel like in doing so they sacrificed most of what people enjoy about Zelda games. The game is very short, only about six hours long, and it’s also $20, which feels a bit steep to me. I suppose if you like the visuals or quirky dialogue, this might be worth looking at.
Review copy provided by the publisher
Action AdventureIttle Dew 2LudosityNicalisPCPS4Xbox One