Adorable. That was the description I was given when asked to review Ittle Dew 2, a Link to the Past clone from developer Ludiosity. Well, I can say confidently that from beginning to end Ittle Dew 2 is just oozing with adorableness.
What first drew me in as I started playing Ittle Dew 2 is just how gorgeous the cel-shaded aesthetic is. The entire world is popping with bright colors and is full of variety. From a desert with macho cacti, to a hedge maze with medusa statues, there’s plenty of eye candy throughout the entire game to behold. As is typical with games in this genre, the soundtrack is equally satisfying and fun to listen to with the music ranging from up tempo rock/EDM tunes for boss fights, to relaxing sounds that differ to suit the environment in the overworld.
Of course, great presentation means nothing if the game itself doesn’t deliver. Thankfully, Ittle Dew 2 delivers in spades. As I mentioned before, Ittle Dew 2 is a Link to the Past clone, meaning that you’re dropped in the middle of the map (literally) and are tasked with taking down 8 dungeons spread throughout the world. Each dungeon is filled with cleverly designed puzzles, along with cute, if not a bit uninspired, bosses, and contains a new weapon or upgrade for your arsenal, as well as a Crayon Box (Piece of Heart) to add to your overall health. Walking into a room and having no idea how to progress is an often occurrence, but the game does such a great job at teaching you all of it’s different mechanics that it’s easy enough to see what it is that the developers want you to do. Only in the final dungeon did I encounter rooms that put some serious wrinkles on my forehead (and I’m only 23, thanks Ludiosity). The boss battles themselves are pretty fun, although, disappointingly there are only three bosses that are recycled with increasing difficulty throughout the game with the exception of the final boss who went to town on me repeatedly until I finally vanquished it a few minutes before I began writing this review.
The overworld itself is also very well made. Each of the 8 different areas is chock full of secrets to discover including upgrades to all of your weapons and more boxes of crayons. If nothing else, it’s worth exploring just to meet all of the hilarious NPC’s that Ludiosity has spread throughout. At no point during my exploration of the overworld did I ever feel unrewarded for searching in every nook and cranny. The care that Ludiosity put into this game is super apparent, and the result is a great game.
The story, much like the game itself, can be described with one word: Adorable. Ittle and her flying fox companion, Tippsie, find themselves stranded on an island without a raft to escape. Upon landing, though, Ittle senses that the island is ripe with treasure and decides to go on an adventure, despite the caretaker of the island repeatedly telling her that adventurers are not welcome. Throw in a bevy of whimsical characters and hilariously written dialogue, and you get a simplistic, but incredibly endearing, story that serves it’s purpose in guiding you throughout the ensuing quest to discover treasure and wooden planks to help rebuild your raft.
In a holiday season filled with ultra-violent games including Wolfenstein 2, Call of Duty: WWII, and Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and with titles such as Doom, LA Noire, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim making their way to Switch, it’s nice to know that there are still games that can allow you to relax and take a moment to escape all the blood and gore. Ittle Dew 2 is a great addition to the rapidly growing Nintendo Switch library that I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who is craving a 2D Zelda experience. Even if that’s not the particular genre you’re presently interested in (shame on you if so), I’d still suggest picking it up because let’s face it, we could all use a little more adorableness in our lives. As far a palette cleansers go, Ittle Dew (Ba-dum-tss).