Ittle Dew 2+ is a Zelda inspired 2D action-rpg with lots of puzzles and combat (Editor’s Note: Ittle Dew 2+ is the name for the Switch version, everywhere else it’s just Ittle Dew 2). Developed by Ludosity and published on Nintendo Switch by Nicalis. I received a review code when the game first came out, and it will be how I take a look at it now. Personally, I didn’t get very far when making a series on it, but I enjoyed my time then. Let’s find out how it holds up on a complete play-through. I have never played the original Ittle Dew, so let’s see how newcomer friendly this game is. This review will contain images of later parts of the game, but not story spoilers. You have been warned.
You play as Ittle, a spunky little girl adventuring with her sidekick, Tipsie; the both of you have crash landed your raft on an island. The island’s caretaker splits your raft into 8 pieces and hides them among the islands 8 main dungeons. Ittle and Tipsie have these cute interactions throughout the game, both inside dungeons and before fighting bosses. You’ll notice lots of similarities between Ittle and Link, though silence is not one of them as Ittle’s personality gets to shine quite a bit. Tipsie mostly acts as your guide, marking locations on your map and such. The game has a self-awareness to it, never taking itself too serious, and keeping to a general world rule-set, whilst breaking the fourth wall with quips like, “It’s so the developers can save time”. I enjoyed Ittle and Tipsie the most, but they aren’t the only characters. The bosses have their own personality that get to shine as well, as you can find them in the main world living their lives as people. They get paid to be dungeon keepers, but they don’t take it too seriously. The island caretaker, Passel, was another favorite of mine. I enjoyed his grumpy demeanor, and his attempts to kick Ittle and Tipsie off the island.
Ittle Dew 2+ controls about the way you’d expect it to: move around, swing your sword, use items, and the works. A major issue I have is Ittle can move in 360 degrees, meaning aiming your weapon or sub-weapons with the analogue stick can be a chore. When Ittle swings she stops dead in her tracks which got me hit sometimes, but it was never really a huge detractor for me. In most of the dungeons you can collect a main “dungeon item” such as a magic wand, ice ring, or flaming sword. Each dungeon can be finished exclusively with the dungeon item found inside, which sounds like it could be an issue. However, I barely noticed it in practice, I found most of these dungeon items alright to use.
The game puts a huge emphasis on its puzzles, the problem though is that there’s not many types of puzzle. Puzzles in the game range from killing every enemy on screen, to hitting one or more crystals at similar times, to pushing blocks and standing on top of switches, or to gathering keys; all of this stuff is done to unlock doors, that’s it. Those are the only types of puzzles. It felt repetitive near the later parts of the game, especially going for optional puzzles. There are hidden caves all around the island for you to discover, but they don’t usually diverge much from what a typical dungeon room is though and, at worst, they’re just kind of a slog to get through.
Ittle Dew 2+’s combat is a bit of a rough around the edges. Most enemies in the second half of the game take multiple hits to kill, way more then it feels like they should. Enemies also hit like Ganondorf’s forward-smash in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, meaning you will die, fast. Ittle starts the game with 5 hearts, but collecting crayon boxes increases that number; they work most like Zelda’s heart containers. You can max out your health at 10 hearts, something I didn’t do myself. I probably should’ve expected Final Fantasy 6 instead of Mystic Quest, so I sorta dug my own grave there.
All of these elements make an experience I wouldn’t call ‘bad’ by any means, but it definitely could have spent more time in the oven if you ask me. Starting with the controls of Ittle, I think it could’ve benefited with more restriction of the angles, and provided the ability to move while swinging your sword. Overall, it made for an enjoyable time, but one heavily outclassed by the likes of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and likely the upcoming 2019’s Link’s Awakening remake. I’d really like to see a future game fix these issues, It was really close to being amazing, but not everything is perfect.
Ittle Dew 2+ goes for a cell-shaded, 3D style, and it looks good. It captures the childish nature of the characters and designs while still keeping a foot in the serious side. Not as stylized as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, but definitely better looking than what I’ve seen of the original Ittle Dew. Ittle Dew 2+ also has many 2D assets, especially in cutscenes which are brilliantly drawn, and stick relatively close to the 3D models. I overall enjoy how the game looks, how it sounds… I feel a bit different about though. Many sound effects got on my nerves as I continued playing, most certainly a byproduct of having so few puzzle types repeated over so much of the game. The combat effects don’t fare much better, even if you can avoid most encounters. The music just seems ‘off’ to me, like it’s trying to appeal to a different type of game. I can imagine walking into Club LOL with K.K. Slider playing an acoustic version at 8:00 P.M. on a weekend, not terrible, just odd and unfitting to me.
Ittle Dew 2+’s length is decent for a game of its type, it took me eight hours to play through the main story though I wasn’t collecting or doing much outside of the required dungeons and bosses. For me, this left me content and happy with the time I spent playing the game. There is lots of post-game content I’m aware of, the main one being a dream-world with more dungeons which allow you to collect cards. I didn’t bother with much post-game stuff, just did a bit of messing around. I think it’s well worth the price-tag if your into this kind of game and waiting for the Link’s Awakening remake. I just hope you don’t go in expecting a game on the level of The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past.
I got quite sick of the same puzzle types by the late game, it robbed me of the feeling of rejoice when I completed them or got to bosses. The dungeon bosses themselves also felt a bit too hard for the sake of just being hard. I didn’t enjoy fighting many of them past the fourth boss. Combat and traveling through the world was also a big thing I stopped enjoying within the last quarter. Aside from those big ending hang-ups, I really enjoyed the time spent with Ittle Dew 2+, and I don’t regret beating it at all. If you’re looking for a hang-over, or just want to see the root of the Slap City cast, Ittle Dew 2+ might just be for you!
A Switch review copy was provided by the developer
supiroguy has awarded Ittle Dew 2+ The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval