STAFF REVIEW of Ittle Dew 2 (Xbox One)

Thursday, December 15, 2016.
by Chad Goodmurphy

Ittle Dew 2 Box art They’ve always said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, so one must assume that Zelda's Link is the most flattered video game character in existence. Well, outside of Mario that is, given that his jump-based mechanics, three hit boss battles, and his simplistic, but effective life system, have been copied more times than I can count in the video game history.

Back when The Legend of Zelda first hit Japan in 1986, before making its way to North America and Europe in 1987, it sent a shockwave throughout the budding industry. One that to this day, can still be felt.

Among the many clones, copycats, and imitators lays ittle Dew 2 (yes, that is not a spelling error), the recently released Xbox One title from Ludosity Interactive. An extremely colourful, whimsical and far from serious affair, it combines a classic, grid-styled map like the original Legend of Zelda but with a more modern take on the genre’s gameplay principles. Well, that as well as a lot of intelligent and witty dialogue that will have you chuckling throughout your somewhat brief adventure.

As you’d expect, ittle Dew 2 continues the tale of ittle and her magical fox friend, Tippsie. Like before, they’ve managed to find themselves marooned on another strange island, having destroyed their ever-important raft in the process. This leads to a player driven quest where seven different dungeons must be explored and bested in order to recreate that most basic of seafaring vessels.

Generally speaking, all of the above is handled through a modernized take on the formula that The Legend of Zelda made famous during the late 1980's. You move from screen to screen, exploring a decent-sized and uniquely varied map, which is home to not just dungeons, but monsters too.

What’s neat about this take on the design though, is how open-ended it is. Instead of being forced to take a direct and planned path, you’re free to explore at will and can complete dungeons in any order. There’s also good reason to explore your surroundings thoroughly because the island is littered with hidden caves, special puzzles, and loads of secrets. This includes boxes of crayons, which help increase your overall health.

Discovered weapons also aid your cause, not only acting as offensive tools, but as puzzle solving items as well. For instance, certain block puzzles (of which there are many) will require you to somehow push blocks that you cannot touch. This is accomplished using a projectile-shooting wand of sorts, which is able to pass over obstacles like missing floorboards. All of your main weapons will double as puzzle solvers, making them more than just enemy killing sticks and staffs.

In fact, most of ittle Dew 2 is very similar to what’s come before it, be it Zelda or its imitators. That said, this is no mere copycat or half-assed attempt at a cash-in. It’s a very funny, enjoyable, and easily accessible game that is well worth one’s attention. Still, it’s not without its faults, including an overemphasis on block puzzles and a somewhat short campaign. Then again, it’s not like we’re talking about a $60 triple A title here, given that this review is about a $20 indie.

Visually, ittle Dew 2 resembles old-school Zelda while adding its own flair to things. The characters are unique-looking, the world pops with colour, and the whole package is brought to life using a cartoony, Flash-esque art style. It won’t win any awards, but it’s very fitting and does the quirky game world a lot of justice while delivering visual humour in its own comical way.

The audio continues the simplistic to carry an original theme, with playful and joyful-sounding music and creative sound effects befitting this unique world. It’s accented by some hilarious dialogue, which is, of course, stuck in word bubbles for nostalgic effect.

All in all, ittle Dew 2 is a very easy game to recommend. I didn’t know what to expect from it when I first started playing, but it wasn’t long before I fell in love with it and found myself ardently exploring the ins and outs of every one of its themed locations. Sure, the campaign may be brief if you go about it directly, but there’s lots to explore across an island that is littered with hidden caves, secret treasure chests, and copious amounts of loot. If you’re looking for something fun, nostalgic, and lighthearted to play this holiday season, or during the upcoming holiday release lull, look no further than ittle Dew 2.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.3 / 10
Sound: 7.7 / 10


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