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Ittle Dew (PC) artwork

Ittle Dew (PC) review

"Slightly Damp"

With the sequel confirmed and on the way, getting into Ittle Dew now is the perfect time. I had always meant to play this game but only now did I ever give it the chance.

Maybe it was the Adventure Time style and humor that put me off, leading me to believe this game would be a nonsensical game without any logic. It is nonsensical, in a good way, but the puzzles and gameplay are finely crafted with various solutions in an otherwise illogical adventure.

Wake up, Adventurer.

The story for Ittle Dew is simple: Beat things up and solve puzzles. And then you have weirdo, meta characters and conversations that take slight jabs at the game itself. The interactions with Tippsie (the flying fox) and Ittle are my favorite bits in the game, mostly because of how cynical and arrogant Tippsie comes off. If you do like the weirdness humor of Adventure Time or Regular Show, then you'll probably find the other characters entertaining. I had one or two laughs as I liked the small world of the game, but I didn't find anything too interesting or memorable.

What Can You Dew?

Where the story and the characters were lacking, the puzzle/adventuring aspects of the game were what sold me on the game itself. And not on my first playthrough but my third one as well. You are given a stick to start with that can temporarily be set on fire. You later can get a Flame Scimitar (like the stick but stronger and always on fire), the Portal Wand that can create blocks and teleport things, and a Freeze Wand. Some items have some synergy between them that becomes useful when solving a room when you only have two items.

In order to beat the game, you only require two out of three items; however, on your first playthrough, you will want to collect all three items to 100% the game. Not only would you want to do this for achievements, but after each item-boss, there are extra dungeons that teach you more in-game mechanics through smaller, harder puzzles. The only reward worth caring about is the heart-notes for extra lives; the cards are added in for flavor, but it's the practice of familiarizing yourself with the mechanics and experimenting with your tools are the real rewards for the challenge. They're all centered on the item you bought and they're all completely optional, so the puzzles are a great method of teaching the player how to play the game better.

Once you have all three items, and you think you're smart enough, you can then tackle the Master Cave. You might think these challenges begin fairly simple (for the first four or five rooms), but the later challenges will test your reflexes as much as your puzzle-solving skills, sometimes in really convoluted ways. I'll admit I had to use a guide because some solutions were so specific to the millisecond I wouldn't be able to figure it out on my own. Although the payoff for completing the twelve hardest puzzles of the game is anticlimactic (as well as the boss-fight), this part of the game will teach you skills you were not even aware of you had all the time with a given tool (or combination of the two).

A complete playthrough, on a (mostly) blind run, will take you about four to seven in-game hours depending on how stubborn you are to avoid a guide. The real fun of the game comes on your next three playthroughs.

A Task Against Familiarity

As mentioned before, the game is designed for you to complete the game with two out of three items. Backtracking for the items is less tedious as you'll most likely be able to solve the professional shortcuts after the Master Cave. Navigating through the Castle with a limited amount of items is the real challenge. The game forces you to tackle certain rooms for enough loot for what you need while also figuring out how to reach the final boss-room. The final boss fight is tailored to whatever items you have, although the fight is much shorter as a result.

Unfortunately, as a result of not having enough items to do everything, your playthrough from 4 to six hours goes down to less than fifteen minutes to three hours at most as a result of handicapping yourself. These shorter runs are still worthwhile because the game takes previous challenges and does a new spin on them, and some rooms are probably impossible (but you won’t' know until you try), so these playthroughs are not worthless.

I just wish there was some way to still 100% ALL rooms with these limitations. No run will match the first one in length or for completion, and they feel tailored for speedrunners alone. (I'm not a fan of speedrunning my games; I prefer to take my time and relax).

"Eh, 3 out of 5 at best."

This isn't my score of the game, but I think that line quite sums up my thoughts. The game has great potential to expand upon, but the shortcomings on the more interesting playthroughs make me hopeful for more polish from a game that is already nicely polished.

Brian's avatar
Community review by Brian (June 19, 2016)

Current interests: Strategy/Turn-Based Games, CRPGs, Immersive Sims, Survival Solo Games, etc.

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Nightfire posted June 19, 2016:

I sunk quite a few hours into this game. The puzzles were actually quite difficult. I never finished it though; I just found the whole experience to be a little bit flat. The dialogue wasn't funny enough and there was really no story to sink your teeth into.

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