Thanks to Ludosity for the review code
Title: Ittle Dew
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 08/15/2019
In this action-adventure game, you take control of Ittle and her friend Tipsie as they explore an island, trying to find material for a raft, while also going on a search for treasure!
Having covered the amazing sequel Ittle Dew 2+ a few years back, it’s understandable to expect that things here would look and sound a bit less impressive than what that sequel managed to pull off, but I’m also glad to note that Ittle Dew still looks great even in the shadow of its sequel, mainly due to how well the wavy-line art style held up all these years later. The world here has a lot of charm to it and the game works well enough that it’s crisp and clear on both display modes.
Just like the sequel, Ittle Dew is an action-adventure game, playing a lot like a Zelda title in that it’s a top-down action game where you use a variety of items to clear puzzles and dungeons. However, this game is a lot more linear than Ittle Dew 2, and being the first entry in the series it’s expected to be a bit more basic, as the main focus of the action comes from exploring a massive castle and bits of the outside to make obtain items for progress.
In fact, the way the game hands you items is pretty different from the sequel, as each major item is available in a shop, which will catapult you to a mini-dungeon related to the new item you acquired, forcing you to complete the puzzles within to truly claim it. As a result, currency isn’t something that’s easily dropped from enemies, but rather rewarded for clearing puzzles and defeating bosses. Thankfully, there are warp points that take you to different parts of the castle for easy shortcuts, so there’s no need to worry about excessive backtracking.
When it comes to the combat, you still use a basic weapon with the B button, and as in the sequel there’s not much else when it comes to the actual fighting, so sadly that means the only depth from this system will come from a boss fight, as they use the other items such as a teleportation rod in clever ways, allowing for some quirky strategies. But when it comes to the main weapon, it’s mostly a basic tool for clearing out grunts and solving puzzles than for any extreme battles, leaving the secondary weapons to be a lot more fun for beating up foes.
Lackluster combat aside, the developers still nail the puzzle aspects just as well as they would several years later, since these puzzles are really good. Sure, you have your typical switch, block and ice puzzles, but the available items allow for some crazy depth to be seen, most notably with the teleportation blocks being used as a means to teleport normally invincible enemies into to a pit of spikes or to even cheese certain puzzles by using it as a proxy. Yes, the main castle is indeed a playground for these items, and if you’re really smart you can even make your way to the end of the entire game in under an hour, which makes this perfect for speedrunning and second playthroughs.
Of course, if you just want to focus on doing everything in sight, that works too, as there’s still some optional puzzles and parts of the castle that will reward you with pieces of paper, which will eventually assemble into another slot for health. It’s a basic reward for exploration, but one that gets the job done alongside finding every last bit of treasure (including the trading cards with all the characters on them) and thus, affording all the items from the shop and doing all those challenges.
In conclusion, Ittle Dew might have been ported here after the outstanding sequel, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore this original entry to focus on the sequel, as the first game is still a brilliant Zelda clone. Yeah, it’s much more linear than the open-ended nature of the sequel, but it’s also just as fun with the clever puzzles and combat that you’ve come to expect from a game in this category.
Add the speedrunning potential and the collectibles, and this is also a very replayable adventure, making this is an easy buy if you’re looking for a indie Zelda to entertain yourself with. Even if you went straight for the sequel when it launched and enjoyed that entry, I still think this first game is worth the price of admission for holding up as well as it does.
I give Ittle Dew an 8 out of 10.