Link, Is That You?
By Brett Wolfe
Reviewed on Xbox One
Updated with Switch Review Notes on 11/14/2017
Released on November 15th, 2016 on Xbox One and PS4, also available PC (Released on November 14th, 2017 for Nintendo Switch)
Developer: Ludosity Interactive Publisher: Nicalis
NOTE: This article was updated on 11/14/17 to reflect our thoughts on the Nintendo Switch Version
With my sword and my shield, I will be undefeatable in my adventure! What do you mean we lost them? But, we must have extras, right?? We DON’T?!? *Sigh* Well I guess this stick will work for now! Ittle Dew 2 is a 3D action-adventure dungeon crawler developed by Ludosity Interactive. It begins when Ittle and her flying pet fox, Tippsie, crash onto an island and their raft is destroyed. They soon run into Passel, the island caretaker, that quickly asks them to leave. In need of the raft, they are informed that to achieve the parts, they must complete dungeons. Thus, beginning their journey.
While playing this title, I was reminded a lot of Legend of Zelda, mostly the ones on the DS and 3DS. Whether it is the layout of the land, the styles of the enemies and NPCs, or weapons in the arsenal, they all seem to derive from that stylization. Ittle’s weapon variety starts out quite basic and advances throughout the dungeons that you complete. At the beginning, Ittle only has a log that has a shorter range and no special abilities. Throughout the completions of the dungeons, you will upgrade your log three times, first into a flame sword, then into a larger range sword, and finally into a fire mace. Ittle also earns a stick of dynamite, a wand, and an ice ring. While all of these items are useful to completing puzzles in most of the dungeons, the upgrades for the log are the most important. In addition to dealing additional damage, the flame sword is needed to complete a group of puzzles that are not possible without it. In one of the earlier dungeons, there is a puzzle where you need to light a group of logs. In some of the rooms, there are torches and pits of fire that you can use to light the logs. However, the rooms that do not include these need the flame sword. The dynamite is used to destroy blocks that are too strong to break with the sword and the ice ring is used to freeze enemies and to create blocks to place on pressure plates. Both are essential for puzzles as well as dealing large amounts of damage to the enemies. The dynamite flat out does the most damage compared to any other weapons and the ice ring applies a frost debuff to the enemies that slow them, which can also stop them from using projectiles. The wand, the least useful item (In my opinion), has the ability to knock back enemy projectiles. In addition to the main eight dungeons, there are a vast number of hidden dungeons and houses that can reward you with health upgrades, lockpicks, and other special items. The hidden dungeons are scattered around the map and are labeled by a green ‘X’ (assuming you found the secret scrolls that are hidden throughout the terrain.) The health upgrades and lockpicks can be found in random chests around the map and there is one health upgrade in each of the eight dungeons. The lock picks that can be acquired can be used on any dungeon door that is locked in addition to the golden key that you would need to find in the dungeon. These come in handy if the puzzle is baffling you or the group of enemies guarding the key are just not going down as easy as you would like.
Ittle Dew 2 knocks the dialogue and visual aesthetics out of the park. To start, the dialogue is extremely witty and has a funny tone to it. The sidekick, Tippsie, is extremely sarcastic, while Ittle is kind of ditzy to add comedic value to the game. It makes this title light-hearted and pairs well with the cute cartoon style the graphics offer. This game is very colorful and has reminiscences of a color book adventure. The health upgrades are even boxes of crayons that add to this appeal. The first dungeon just solidifies the cute appeal of the game by having a safety dungeon theme. This dungeon is outfitted with pillows and padding and contains very few combatants that deal damage to Ittle.
When I received this title, I did not know what to expect. I had not even heard of the first game in this series, let alone that there was a sequel coming out soon. However, I am a big fan of series like Legend of Zelda. I went in not expecting too much and I was pleasantly surprised as it far surpassed my expectations. I enjoyed myself so much going from dungeon to dungeon, exploring the land as I passed it. Searching every inch of the map for special items or more upgrades. I had a blast with this game. However, I did hit a point where my enjoyment turned to frustration. Dungeons one through seven increased in difficulty of puzzles and the attacks performed by the enemies, but I never felt like I just could not beat the area. Dungeon eight was a completely different story. Foes in dungeon eight dealt so much more damage and few had predictable attack patterns. I have not been that angry at a section in the game in a while. The difficulty curve was huge and it seemed like a way to hinder some from completing this section of the game. To add precedence to how large this difficulty curve was in my experience, it took me around four and a half hours to beat seven dungeons and then an additional two to beat the last one.
Overall, Ittle Dew 2 was a super enjoyable experience and would be recommended for anyone whether you have played its predecessor or not. If you are looking for fun exploration and gameplay with a witty story, this is the title for you!
NINTENDO SWITCH NOTES:
When we reviewed Ittle Dew 2 on Xbox One last year, I was highly intrigued. Brett’s review was overly positive, and I never shy away from trying out a Zelda-inspired title. However, this time around it was Brett’s turn to partake in such a title as I had recently reviewed Oceanhorn and had my fill for the season. Since then, I never got around to trying Ittle Dew 2 for myself, but now that it is out on Switch, I figured it was the perfect time to do so. I am glad I reached out to Nicalis to work with a Switch copy because Ittle Dew 2+ is an absolute delight and feels like a match made in heaven. With games like Yono, Kami, and Oceanhorn already paving the way for Zelda-inspired games post Breath of the Wild, Ittle Dew proves that there is still room for more.
The sense of humorous adventure is evident right from the start. Ittle and her flying fox Tippsie wake up on an island with no idea how they got there, and with their raft destroyed, must now seek out a replacement. The parts to build your replacement await you in 8 dungeons, each of which is lined with traps, enemies, and bosses. I won’t touch much more on the story since Brett did a fine job of that, but what I will reaffirm are some of the standout qualities, as there are many to be seen. First off, the dialogue is phenomenal. There is never a dull moment, and the writing is packed with humor. Much of this hilarity comes from Tippsie, who is often condescending or sarcastic, and the writing exhibits those qualities perfectly. He is also surprisingly helpful, which his name hints at. Whenever you are lost or in need of guidance, a simple button click will summon Tippsie and he will point you in the right direction.
Visually speaking, Ittle Dew looks and runs great. The colorful, semi-cell shaded aesthetic does wonders for working in unison with the game's character. Both the style and approach of the game remind me of Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom, which I played on the PS Vita: But the quality of Ittle Dew through and through blows the aforementioned out of the water. The character designs and variety, as well as the variety of the map, speaks to the passion that developers Ludosity Interactive has for both their own project and those that inspired it. The combat is pretty solid too. While not incredibly in depth, I like the approach the game takes at sometimes just winging it so to speak. While you may not be ready to approach a certain dungeon due to being under-equipped, you can most definitely beat it. The game has a great approach when it comes to tackling puzzles and bosses at your own pace. Sure you can beat a dungeon easily if equipped properly, but if you happen to be in the area, you may be able to clear it if you keep your wits about you. This also brings the difficulty into play, whereas the game can be as hard as you want it too. Whether you take the layout in order or hit the later areas first, it is up to you.
Ittle Dew 2 is a great lineup to an already stellar collection of games on the Switch. It handles incredibly well and fits the layout of the hybrid portable perfectly. While it does not take advantage of the touch screen or special rumble effects to my knowledge, it does open a whole new market of fans of the genre to the title where it should, hopefully, find further success. Fans of adventure and Zelda games, in particular, will find no buyer’s remorse here (unless the $30 price tag scares you). It should’nt though, because the “+” version comes with a whole new area packed with 5 dungeons, new bosses, and new collectibles. Do yourself and snag this for a fun and funny adventure. I will be here collecting the rest of the items this island has for me to track down, waiting hopefully for a sequel! Brett’s score is wholly deserving in my eyes.
Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 9/10
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