Thanks to Elden Pixels for the review code
Title: Alwa’s Legacy
System: Steam (PC)
Release Date: 06/17/2020
In this sequel to Alwa’s Awakening, you take control of Zoe once again, as she re-explores the land of Alwa to discover her purpose and free it of evil!
The previous Alwa game had presentation in a very admirable, accurate-to-NES feel, that applied heavily to both the music and visuals in a way I haven’t felt was accurately done since Retro City Rampage. So Alwa’s Legacy decides to up the ante by paying tribute to the 16-bit era, and it nails it with the visuals yet again!
The sprite art feels familiar, yet just as excellent as it was before, and the music is still excellent, although some tracks are remixes of songs from the original game, and I never felt as if this soundtrack had a 16-bit feel, since the OST still has a lot of 8-bit essence to it. All in all though, the presentation feels like the sort of upgrade you’d see going from a classic 8-bit game to a 16-bit one, and it’s very good.
Just like the first game, Alwa’s Legacy is a metroidvania tasking Zoe with exploring the vast world of Alwa to save it from an evil darkness, and if you’ve had any familiarity with the original game, then you’ll get right at home with Legacy, since the controls are the exact same, only a bit more tighter! This means like before, attacking, jumping, and using your magical attacks are the key to discovering all of Alwa’s secrets.
Legacy goes with a Chapter system for progressing the story, which is done mainly as a method of keeping things a tiny bit more linear than before, so that the game follows a narrative. That doesn’t mean the fun sequence breaking mechanics in Awakening were removed though, since a lot of the same strats you could pull off there make a return, done in nearly the same methods as before. From jumping off created blocks to reach higher locations earlier than expected to using bubbles to gain infinite height, and even a new clipping strategy, that means you can still go out of your way and break the order of events fairly easily if you wish, making this pretty nonlinear like the first, even with its bigger scope.
You gain the same three powerups as before, but now you have even more items to obtain, which can add a variety of special effects via Incantations. Phasing through walls, being immune to spikes, or getting around tricky obstacles, these incantations may not be part of the core three powerups to use, but they’re arguably just as useful, especially when going to find all you need for 100%.
Another new addition that greatly helps shake things up with Legacy, is the addition of upgrades for your core three weapons. Using the orbs gathered throughout the world, you can now upgrade the three weapons at town, giving each of them extra properties, such as allowing the blocks to damage enemies while being pushed, buffing your lighting bolts, or improving your bubbles, which helps to improve the core weapons without the need to outright replace them or add more. You can also, just like before, find warp points around the world, though now you can use a teardrop in order to turn an ordinary checkpoint into a warp point, for extra handy backtracking.
Generally, the core of Legacy, is doing everything Awakening did, but bigger and better, and that applies to the bosses too! In the original game, they were all fairly simple, even the final boss, but in Legacy, they’re way more in line with what you’d expect from a sequel, being more in depth, requiring more strategy, and being a lot more difficult overall. Still, it’s very satisfying once you defeat a boss, and thus the path to the next temple opens up, continuing the journey.
In conclusion, Alwa’s Legacy feels like a proper step up from the original title, still maintaining that excellent metroidvania level design and encouraging players who can think outside the box to sequence break and play at their own pace. While I do feel the chaptered format of this game is a bit odd, and how the game can seem a bit too familiar to the original at points, this is still a must-have Metroidvania, and feels like a true refinement of everything that made Awakening so spectacular. Pretty much every positive I noted for Awakening, applies to Legacy ten-fold, and I can’t recommend it enough for metroidvania fans! Definitely give this one a shot, whether or not you played the original.
I give Alwa’s Legacy a 9 out of 10.