By Michael Fontanini / December 12th, 2017
|Title||Ittle Dew 2+|
|Release Date||November 14th, 2017|
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Indie|
|Age Rating||E for Everyone (ESRB)|
A sassy girl named Ittle sets out for adventure with her reluctant friend Tippsie, who is a flying fox. They find themselves stranded on an island when their raft inexplicably explodes! Now they must make use of their magical map and explore the island to find all eight raft pieces that could be their key to getting off of this island. There is far more to find than raft pieces on this island, though. Do you have what it takes to embark on this crazy adventure and escape the island of Ittle Dew 2+?
Ittle Dew 2+ is a 3D, top-down adventure game inspired by some of the adventure games of old, especially some of the older Legend of Zelda games. The game has four weapon items that can be used in combat, but they also double as puzzle-solving tools. At first, you only have one, which is your stick. As you progress, you can upgrade all four of your weapon items. There are a few other items, too, and some of those are also upgradeable.
The basic controls are very simple. You can move in the four cardinal directions and attack with your weapons, but you can’t jump. You can ask Tippsie for a tip, but he’s generally useless when you actually need help, kind of like a certain Zelda sidekick fairy! Your magical map lets you see where you are, where you’ve been, and caves/buildings you’ve found (and whether they’re completed). There is also an inventory screen, but you won’t spend much time there since there is no equipment or item management in Ittle Dew 2+. It just lets you see the items you have (and how upgraded they are), as well as how many keys and secret shards you have. Keys can be used to unlock any locked door (in dungeons), and we’ll get to the secret shards a bit later.
You can increase your maximum health by finding crayon boxes. There is one hidden in each area of the overworld, and one hidden in each of the eight main dungeons. Finding one increases your maximum health by 1/4 of a heart. There are also warp spots in each area of the world that connect to a warp garden in the town in the middle area of the map. The warp spots in the garden are disabled until you find their corresponding teleport location out in the world.
Notice that blue mat under the parasol in the upper-left in the image below? You can eventually nap there to enter the Dream World (bonus content in the Nintendo Switch version of the game). Hence the reason for the + on the end of the game’s name on the Nintendo Switch. Dream World has 5 more dungeons with much tougher puzzles and a new boss.
In the town, you can chat with some of the characters you’ll also see elsewhere on the island. A ways south of the town near the southern edge of the world map is a special place where you can change into different costumes. There are 7 costumes in total, and all but the first one are hidden somewhere on the island. Once you find them, they become available in the costume hut. They are only cosmetic and just change Ittle’s appearance, though.
The gameplay in Ittle Dew 2+ is simple and quite fun, but it’s not perfect. In dungeons where you’re moving around death pits, Ittle’s movement can feel too free. She moves fairly quickly, which makes it very easy to fall into a pit more easily than you should.
The puzzles are fairly simple for the most part, but some can be annoying. In certain cases, the game expects you to do things you didn’t even know you could do yet. For example, in the screenshot above, that ice block puzzle is impossible until you discover (or look it up online) that you can move blocks diagonally with the force rod weapon, something the game never told the player. That kind of feels like cheap puzzle design when the solution requires something the player isn’t even aware of yet. In short, the game’s puzzle design is very unintuitive and questionable in some cases.
The game’s overworld puzzles often unlock hidden caves where you can find crayon boxes, secret shards, and more. You may also find lock picks, which are basically a one-time-use item. They can get you out of a pinch in dungeons because some keys are locked behind very tricky puzzles. If you just can’t figure out a puzzle, you can use a lock pick to open a locked door in a dungeon. It’s a nice touch that allows the player to advance even if they can’t solve the puzzle blocking access to a key, which would halt progress big time in some cases.
Some caves contain secret shards. In several places you will find dark gray obilisks that will then appear as a white ? on your map. Collect enough secret shards, and return to the obelisk to unlock one of the four secret dungeons. These dungeons are harder than the normal dungeons, and a couple of upgrades are hiding in some of them. There are 8 normal dungeons and 4 secret dungeons. There is also some new bonus content, known as Dream World. It can be accessed by sleeping in the town. Dream World contains five bonus dungeons and a new boss. It also has 40 collectible cards to find, which give silly lore to the inhabitants of the game’s world. Sadly, if you want them you’ll have to get through some of the more annoying puzzles in the game, ones that leave you stumped as soon as you walk in the room. I haven’t gotten very far in Dream World yet, but it’s not much fun with how it leaves you clueless and unable to progress.
Combat is fairly simple as well, but the four different weapons let you change things up as well as add a bit of strategy in some cases. Combat is annoying at times, though, as some areas have too many enemies and a few bosses are a pain to fight. Some of them can do a fair amount of damage, which encourages players to just run past all the enemies to conserve health. Another annoyance with combat arises in dungeons. In rooms with tougher enemies, its very easy to accidentally get too close to the door while dodging and fighting, which causes you to return to the previous room. Enemy attacks can also bump you into the door on occasion, causing the same result. This is annoying because when you return to that room, it is completely reset with the enemies at full health again.
As for dungeon bosses, some just feel cheap at first (some can do a significant amount of damage in one hit, and many can put out a lot of projectiles at once). With some bosses, it can be a bit overwhelming and feel like a difficulty for the sake of difficulty kind of thing. However, most of the bosses thankfully weren’t to that extent. In short, the gameplay has some inappropriate difficulty spikes at times from both combat and certain puzzles.
Ittle Dew 2+ has a very good soundtrack that fits the adventure and the world quite well. The sound effects get the job done pretty well, too. There is also a Sound Test mode that can be accessed via the Extras option in the Main Menu, plus some other unlockable stuff in there.
The game’s graphics have a very vibrant, cartoony style that is very pleasing on the eyes. Each region of the overworld has a different theme as well. For example, there’s a fiery volcanic region and a cold snowy one among others. Ittle Dew 2+ never takes itself too seriously, and some of the funny moments make that pretty clear (like when your raft inexplicably self-destructs in the opening scene of the game). This is in no way a bad thing, and it adds to the game’s goofy charm.
Ittle Dew 2+ is a fun indie adventure game inspired by some of the old top-down adventure games, like the original Legend of Zelda. The game is generally fun and enjoyable, but its flaws drag the experience down at times. While the game has been out for some time on other platforms like Steam (PC), Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, only the Nintendo Switch version has the new Dream World bonus content. It took me just shy of 10 hours to finish the story, but my save file is still well short of 100% completion. The Extras sub menu in the Main Menu has a Records option that will show your best time, as well as the world record best time for finishing the story (which is 29 minutes and 47 seconds at the time of this writing). Ittle Dew 2+ is available on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $29.99. It does cost a touch more than on other platforms ($19.99 on Steam), but the Switch version has that extra content. Ittle Dew 2+ is a fun little indie, adventure game with plenty of charm. Do you have what it takes to find all eight raft pieces and acquire all of the extras hidden across the island and Dream World?
Review copy provided by publisher.
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