You have to hand it to game developers who attempt to recreate a moment in gaming and succeed. Ittle Dew 2 brings a massive Zelda-inspired adventure to modern consoles so let's see if the stick is mightier than the sword.
Ittle and her flying fox Tippsie have found themselves stranded on a strange new island so it's up to you to find eight pieces of a raft so they can escape. After all, there are many more islands out there that they need to explore! Anyway, Ittle Dew 2 is played very similarly to a classic overhead Zelda game complete with a massive rectangular overworld map and plenty of dungeons to explore. Ittle starts her quest with just a stick that she can use to fend off the many foes lurking around yet her arsenal becomes rather impressive by the end of the tale as she gains the abilities to shoot magic balls, conjure blocks of ice, and plant dynamite. Although it's undeniably familiar if you've ever played The Legend of Zelda or A Link to the Past, it manages to form its own identity through its captivating and imaginative world. Overall, the massive journey is extremely satisfying to work through and you'll be hooked for every second of exploration.
Even though Ittle Dew 2 features 3D graphics, its palette of bold colours and use of cel shading make it look like a comic book come to life. It's such a refreshing visual style that it's hard not to be charmed right off the bat. On top of this, the sense of humour is pitch-perfect with countless one-liners that make you question whether they're from a place of childlike curiosity or sarcasm. For example, Ittle seems to lick things a lot and makes comments such as "Tastes like yellow". Also, there are many head-in-the-hole cardboard cut-outs scattered around the map for her to stick her face through and get her photo taken. In the end, the charming visual style, cast of wacky characters, and delightful use of humour add up to make Ittle Dew 2 an absolute joy to play.
One aspect of Ittle Dew 2 that blew me away is the amount of secrets hidden around the map. There are so many treasures in almost every nook and cranny that you can play for over a dozen hours before finding everything. In addition to obtaining upgrades that increase various stats such as your health meter, you'll also find maps that mark where hidden caves are, keys that you can use when you're in a pickle, and mysterious artifacts that open secret dungeons. Acquiring a wealth of these upgrades is necessary if you want a chance in the later dungeons because they can get rather tough. There's so much replay value that even after you collect all of the raft pieces, you can find four secret keys which open up a massive door that leads to... well, you'll just have to see for yourself.
Thankfully, Ittle Dew 2 doesn't have many problems so I'll try to keep this brief. First, every boss fight pretty much consists of a big character that stomps around the arena as you dodge and sneak in a few attacks. There could have definitely been more variety added into the equation but instead they all feel too similar. Next, there's little incentive to keep your health meter up because you simply continue where you left off whenever you bite the dust. In fact, if you perish right after solving a puzzle then that puzzle is solved permanently. Sure, this is convenient but it also makes the gameplay a bit too easy and forgiving. In other words, I didn't really care whenever I perished. Finally, certain aspects could use more explanation. For example, one part instructs you to use your roll move and there are columns everywhere. So, I rolled into the columns and nothing happened. After minutes of frustration, I realised that I needed to back away a bit before rolling. I wish it told me that earlier because being able to progress isn't always intuitive.
Small issues aside, Ittle Dew 2 is a must-have game for anyone who's in the market for a lighthearted yet gratifying adventure set in a charming world. If this sounds like it's your kind of thing then it'll surely do.
- + Classic overhead Zelda-like gameplay within a lengthy and satisfying adventure
- + Lovely visuals and great sense of humour
- + Loads of secrets add replay value
- - Boss fights mostly feel the same
- - Continue system is too forgiving
- - Some parts can use more explanation