Friday, November 20, 2015

Game Review: Ittle Dew for Wii U

When something becomes a success, you tend to end up with two things: Clones and Parodies. The Legend of Zelda series has its fair share of clones, some which have succeeded in their own path and some that just died out, but parodies are rare to come across. Ittle Dew could be argued to be some tribute in terms of gameplay while satire when it comes to dialogue and conventions. The result is an interesting indie title that probably takes inspiration from Grand Theft Auto as well as Zelda.

In the Legend of Zelda series, there are two core elements of gameplay, puzzles and combat. visually, Ittle Dew looks like it can be a Zelda title. The puzzles are also similar in nature but a greater emphasis is placed on them. Yes, there are a bunch of torch puzzles and moving blocks but here you can freeze blocks, warp bombs, and create your own blocks. Sound interesting? Because that is the highlight. While people may argue the parody storyline is great, I'll leave that up to individual taste. For the most part, I found it fun thanks to its very short nature but once it goes on for more than a few screens, I was thinking to myself, "enough..."

One of the many examples of satirizing the conventions
In terms of combat, the game is okay. Your sword/stick only hits directly in front of you, akin to the original Legend of Zelda, so you can actually miss if you are just slightly to the side. I also found that in combat situations, you really want to use the d-pad as the circle pad can be annoying to control when you are trying to line yourself up to strike your foe. As a result, the game does benefit being on the Wii U. However, I am annoyed by the presence of unbeatable ghosts. I don't see any benefit of that as you may be more worried about the ghost than the puzzle at hand.

One feature that left me a bit confused at first was how each dungeon forced you to drop all of your prior items. It's an interesting idea about how to make the dungeons playable in any order but it was also unexpected. While there is an obvious order based off the money you find, the game, toward the end, even posts a sign saying that the "three items can be obtained in any order". Perhaps more interesting would have been if you could beat the final boss without any of the items (just a wooden stick), but it doesn't go that far.

The Three Items for the game
Another thing to warn you about is the saving method. It automatically saves for you when you open chests or change floors in a dungeon. It's neat in terms of checkpoints, but it also means that if you get stuck beating a boss, you can't do anything about it.

If there is something I would like for the developer to do, it would be patching this game. As impressive of a work it is, I've encountered more bugs than I would care for. How bad is it? Twice my Wii U crashed during the final battle (or after, considering that I did beat the guy, confirmed by watching Youtube videos of the fight), I've had to resort to playing with no sound due to that horrible screech that comes on a few minutes in, and I got stuck in a walking animation while trying to go up stairs which required a game reset to fix (not even the retry room option was available). Considering that before and after these incidents, I've played Splatoon for a few hours just fine, I think there's a problem with the game.

Overall, it's a neat game and I enjoyed solving the puzzles. The existence of Professional Routes that require some extra puzzle solving as well being able to solve dungeons in any order is good for replayability. There are a lot of mini rooms with various puzzles to solve scattered throughout the land. Word of caution: don't watch the trailers since they show how to solve some of the puzzles. Essentially, if you are looking for a fairly short and cynical Zelda game, this is it.
Lots of block moving

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