21st Aug2019

Digital Shorts: ‘Ittle Dew’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition Britt takes a look at Ittle Dew, a game whose sequel is was available to buy BEFORE the original!

Ittle-Dew-art

A stripped-back action-puzzler reminiscent of 16-bit era Zelda in its presentation but Alundra in the puzzle mechanics, Ittle Dew is a pacey and relatively brief (2-3 hours) adventure that I really enjoyed my time with.

Playing the titular Ittle Dew and her flying sidekick, Tippie, you wash up on the shores of an unknown island , desperately in need of a new raft to escape. With your trusty stick to beat away any enemies, you venture forth into the unknown.

Ittle Dew is quite an idiosyncratic adventure / RPG in that most of the things you’d normally expect to find in the genre are (purposefully) absent. No extra coins or usable items aside from those intrinsic to your main quest are to be found, the entire design philosophy is to move the game forwards without distractions. This isn’t to say that there aren’t secrets or challenges, but they boil down to extraneous (and fiendish!) puzzlesthat reward you with collectible cards for those who are completionists and I must say, the puzzles in Ittle Dew are so well-designed that I did find myself wandering into these dungeons just for the fun of seeing if I could solve these saucy conundrums.

Combat in the game is mainly used as part of a larger puzzle or as an end of sequence boss fight (the last boss especially I found VERY challenging) as ‘normal’ enemies respawn whenever you enter / leave a room and exist mainly to add flavour and variety to the game world, they also drop health replenishing hearts, which Ittle Dew eats with relish.

The jaunty music and solid artwork mesh perfectly with the tone of the game and the light-hearted banter between characters as well as the sense of humour that runs throughout just gelled for me. I played through the game in one sitting and was completely absorbed by it. Each puzzle room has a hint sign up (with the exception of the more advanced rooms) and Tippie offers advice as well, this can be especially handy in the boss fights. What I really liked about this element of the design was that you never walk into a room thinking ‘what the hell am I supposed to do?’ and get stumped for hours, you ALWAYS know what to do…it’s just working out how to do it, which I find far more preferable. Beginning with block-pushing sections and ‘flick the switch’ type things, it quickly evolves into requiring one of the three main in-game items to proceed, but this is all made very clear as is the in-game map signposting. Not once was I wandering aimlessly or just staring at a screen with no idea what to do next, I was always making progress and, crucially…enjoying myself.

In short, Ittle Dew very nicely, thank you very much!

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