I recall seeing Ittle Dew years ago whilst I was in America, having just bought a Ouya on release day and browsing it’s store, I happened across Ittle Dew and decided to download it (since the Ouya had a try before you buy model). It looked interesting, and definitely unique, but I just wasn’t ready to splash $14.99 on an indie title which, from the sounds of things, “only lasted 3 hours”. I gave it a pass, and lo and behold, I haven’t really touched my Ouya since. Ittle Dew went forgotten for a year then, until that is, I happened to get a copy from Steam for a few pounds. That was a lot better for my wallet, and for the supposedly short playtime of the game. So, given that I bought the game 8 months ago, what made me finally get round to playing it? Well, this blog for one, but also the fact that I’m currently writing 5 weeks worth of reviews within a week to ensure I can spend those 5 weeks programming non-stop to finish my new game (which should be released by the time you read this). Given that Ittle Dew was meant to be short, I gave it a go.
Ittle Dew starts out with a few postcards showing the story of how Dew happens upon the island you’ll be spending the whole game on, and why she stays. “I’m a pirate that seeks adventure”, she says, as you are then prompted to get on with the game and go into the first cave. There could have been more of a tutorial, but considering we’ve all played the dungeon adventure like Zelda before, it was appreciated that as a player I was able to just get on with the game.
The first dungeon explains the basics, with switches on the floor and blocks to move being a staple of the genre, but as the game progresses these basics become a lot harder, with blocks becoming icy, meaning moving them pushes them across the whole stage, or multiple switches requiring clever skills to move everything into place. After leaving the first dungeon, you’re introduced to the core plot of the game: You must find enough gold to buy different items, which will be used to solve more complex dungeons in order to finally take on the final boss in the castle to get a raft off the island. It’s with this core plot that the game becomes repetitive, with each push to the castle resulting in getting slightly further, only to come back to the gentleman to buy a new item.
Each one of the three items bought has it’s own dungeon to solve before you can claim the item as your own for good. Whilst this sounds trivial, it’s actually done pretty well, ensuring the player is adequate with an item before taking it back to the main castle. The three items are: The flaming sword, a sword which has the ability to set things alight (it will set logs alight and will destroy anything ice), the Transportation/block making staff (this is hugely useful and allows you to create the very blocks you usually push), and finally, the ice staff, allowing you to extinguish flames and freeze blocks, making them more mobile. This loop pushes you to think quite creatively when harder puzzles come into play, ensuring I was constantly on my toes whenever confronted by a new cave.
The graphics/art style are charming, and definitely a plus for the game. It feels very personal, making your time spent exploring the dungeons and island all the more enjoyable. You will encounter enemies throughout the game, but given the limited amount of mobility you have as a character, you will not enjoy the combat, so fights are few and far between. There are also boss encounters, but as I said before, they won’t be based around combat so much as they’re all mini puzzles in themselves. Irregardless, the style and controls were perfect for a game like Ittle Dew, where the core mechanic and core premise is all about the puzzles.
So, is the game really as short as people say it is? Well, yes and no. Yes, because I genuinely completed the game within 3 hours and got an achievement for doing so. No, because there’s a damn lot of content to find on the island (I literally only had two heart pieces when I guess there’s a lot more). I barely scratched the surface when it came to replayability for the game, with multiple achievements for completing the game within 15 minutes, completing it with only 2 items instead of three etc. It all makes for an interesting premise, but one thats sure to be good enough to come back to.
So, was Ittle Dew worth the wait? It was certainly enjoyable in the few hours I played it, and I can’t help but think I missed a lot of content, so am really tempted to go back for more. Should you sink your money into Ittle Dew though? Well, if you’re a Zelda or Metroid fan who loved the puzzle elements more than the action, then Ittle Dew is perfect for you, with puzzles clicking into place after minutes of looking at them. Ittle Dew is dungeon puzzles (almost) perfected, so you really can’t go wrong.