Ittle Dew 2+ (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 10.11.2017

Review for Ittle Dew 2+ on Nintendo Switch

Ittle Dew 2 is a sequel to the overhead puzzle adventure game that was deeply inspired by The Legend of Zelda. The first game was on Wii U and utilised a distinctive 2D art style. It was a charming little game that had some witty banter and, most notably, very well designed puzzles. Ittle Dew 2+ aims to refine its formula and expand on its world, but this time the adventure of Ittle Dew can be played while making a dew… Is getting stranded on a silly island with a talking fox everything it is cracked up to be? Cubed3 finds itself moving dozens of puzzle cubes in Ittle Dew 2+ on Nintendo Switch.

Ittle Dew 2+'s similarities to Zelda couldn't be more obvious. That isn't to say that it is derivative and is a soulless copycat. No, this game has a unique voice of its own and uses the trappings and visual presentation of Nintendo's series to establish a sort of post-modernist take on the overhead adventure style. Ittle and her hovering fox buddy, Tippsie, get marooned on an island just after their last game and now must find the eight pieces of the trifor... raft from each of the main dungeons. Much like how Breath of the Wild encouraged complete freedom and exploration to discover the shrines in any order, Ittle Dew 2+ has the same spirit of freedom. It is actually remarkable how similar the core experience is between these two given how one is a full 360-degree 3D experience and the other is flat overhead 3D game with 2D gameplay.

Screenshot for Ittle Dew 2+ on Nintendo Switch

Seeing Ittle Dew 2+ in stills does not do it justice. The visuals and 3D graphics have a vibrant cel shading effect that has the same energetic line work seen in Okami. The effect is marvellous and gives life to otherwise plain character designs that resemble something that one might see on Cartoon Network or Katamari Damacy. There is a surprising amount of detail that may not be apparent at first glance, like in the beach zone how there is a little guy who has been buried upside-down and his legs are sticking out. Even the main dungeons have very creative themes that are absent in these Zelda-clones. One example is how the first dungeon is designed with soft padding everywhere and how the enemies are armoured with pillows. There is even one dungeon that is designed to be like an art gallery, complete with unique works of art strewn throughout. The entire game is full of excellent details like this that keeps the adventure interesting and exciting to see what may happen next.

When not seeking out pieces of their raft, Ittle and Tippsie will most likely be caught up in solving the dozens upon dozens of puzzle-caves or sub-dungeons. Again, much like Breath of the Wild, these serve as a means to challenge / reward those who complete them, usually with some kind permanent status upgrade. What is fascinating is that Ittle Dew 2+ manages this side content more gracefully than Zelda just because the world map is so much more focused and is not such a sprawling slog to trek from one point to the other. This game does not waste any time at all when it comes to going from cave to cave to negotiate each of its puzzles or challenges. At worst, there are the occasional combat rooms that task Ittle with fighting a room crawling with powered up enemies, which is a problem because if there was one thing that was a problem in the previous game that is persistent here, it is the combat.

Screenshot for Ittle Dew 2+ on Nintendo Switch

Ittle's move set has slightly been expanded to include a dodge-roll, which feels a bit sticky to use but does have a very clear indicator of her invincibility frames, as highlighted with a white flash. This is both highly useful and exploitable, which can effectively make her an unstoppable force when mastered. What is not welcomed is how ineffectual her lame wooden stick is. Attacking feels very underpowered and lacks the range that the game's graphics suggest, making confrontations feel off. Ittle has to be dangerously close to make contact with her main weapon and the enemies can take a ton of hits. She does get other weapons, like a wand and dynamite; the wand being very useful for ranged battles and for reflecting enemy projectiles, even if the main attack is weak. To compensate the utterly underpowered attacks, there is padding, with the aforementioned sub-dungeons/puzzle caves, with the sole purpose to hopefully earn attack upgrades. This is filler at its most artificial and superficial. None of these upgrades would matter if the combat was more carefully balanced. Compared to the first game, there is so much more combat - whole challenges are designed around just exterminating all life in the room in order to proceed. Even the boss battles, although creative in their design, are very generic in terms of actual engagement. They typically follow a very basic pattern and have a huge health pool. The challenge is to fight boredom when confronting these bosses so as to not get greedy and spam the melee, which will result in getting sucker-punched.

Screenshot for Ittle Dew 2+ on Nintendo Switch

Ittle Dew 2+'s strength is the exploration and puzzles. The developer managed to get a huge amount of mileage out of very little; who knew a simple stick could prove to be so useful? A bulk of the puzzles can also be solved in multiple ways should Ittle have the more advanced weapons from later in the game, yet every single puzzle can also be solved with the starting stick. Just to access some of these hidden areas also means some kind of cryptic secret that most people would never think to do unless one of the in-game NPCs suggests it. Some hidden areas, for instance, open up by circling anticlockwise around specific trees or pillars. This kind of secrecy and sense of discovery is appreciated in an age where most games lay everything out for the lowest common denominator. The game teaches very early on that each area is dense with secrets and things to discover and what makes it worth it is that it is rewarding by offering a substantial incentive... even if the reward is a crutch for the poor combat balance. It feels good to taste the power, though.

Screenshot for Ittle Dew 2+ on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Ittle Dew 2+ is more than the sum of its parts. It has many small great qualities that tie everything together to make it a worthy Zelda-style adventure. It is too bad that the combat is not one of those working parts. This adventure has a true spirit of exploration and a ton of puzzles and secrets to uncover. The legitimately funny character banter should manage to get a laugh out of even cold and dead inside cynical reviewers. The humour has a dryness to it that is unexpected for such a colourful and wacky looking videogame - most of which is derived from the flying fox, Tippsie (the best character in the game). The load times can be really lengthy at times, which is confusing since Ittle Dew 2+ is certainly not taxing the Nintendo Switch, but they are ultimately worth it in this quaint action-adventure game.

Developer

Ludosity

Publisher

Nicalis

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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