What do you get when you cross the hilarious cartoon Adventure Time with a Zelda game? Well… probably the awesome-looking upcoming Adventure Time game. But also the indie game Ittle Dew.
I had planned on the next Empty Elegy to cover a notorious Zelda clone that has unfortunately gotten a bit of a bad rep, but when I came across Ittle Dew, I just couldn’t help changing my plans. For those not familiar with this little gem, Ludosity (the developers) refer to it as: “a puzzly adventure game” but what they don’t tell you is that this game is 100% inspired by the Zelda franchise–specifically A Link to the Past, for the most part, however Ocarina of Time elements and the original Legend of Zelda have their inspiration embedded in this fun (and hilarious) little game as well. With everything from its top-down action-adventure approach, to its fairy companion, to obvious homages and references,
Jump inside to learn more about Ittle Dew!
Ittle Dew stars two adventuresL a girl named Ittle Dew (who wears a green tunic… and who is drawn in much the same design as the characters from The Wind Waker) and her flying fairy-fox (?) friend, named Tippsie. Tippsie is this game’s equivalent of Navi: always available to give hints and clues. However, this helper’s attitude is a bit more like Midna’s than Navi’s, being that most of the hints and clues have a nice dash of sarcasm thrown in. Unlike Link, Ittle is just in it for the money. Rather than being overly concerned with the welfare of a kingdom, she’s simply out to plunder treasure. And rather than using a sword, Ittle Dew attacks monsters with a long stick… which ends up having basically the same effect anyway.
The graphics are very reminiscent of those in A Link to the Past in terms of perspective and shapes of trees and such, however the actual art style is maybe a bit more like The Wind Waker in the way the characters are designed and the fact that everything is hand-drawn and a bit cel-shaded looking. There are also plenty of places that are clearly inspired by the original Legend of Zelda such as a cave where you find an “Old Man” as well as the first room in a dungeon which is decorated symmetrically with statues in exactly the same way as most dungeons in that first Zelda game.
The gameplay is quite similar to old school top-town Zelda titles. As I mentioned earlier, you attack enemies with a long stick… which is basically just like using a sword for all intents and purposes. There are block puzzles, switches puzzles, lighting-torches puzzles, hitting-diamond-shaped-crystals puzzles, defeating-all-the-enemies-to-unlock-a-shuttered-door puzzles… and many more Zelda-inspired puzzles. The game is really mostly puzzles and beating up baddies for treasure.
One of the most obvious differences between this game and a Zelda game is its tone. If Zelda is a serious action-adventure, Ittle Dew is a comedic action-adventure. Nearly every line of dialog is laced with a joke. There are also plenty of parodies of some of the sillier tropes in the Zelda (and other action-adventures) series. All in all, the tone id a bit more “teenage” and snarky than the average Zelda game. The humor style (and possibly the visual style) really strongly remind me of Adventure Time, which I suspect is another key influence. Also, the combat isn’t quite as fine tuned as a Zelda game. In a Zelda game: when you hit an enemy it usually is bounced back a bit and stunned for a moment before it will come at you again; Ittle Dew‘s monsters just keep coming at you with no recovery time when you hit them which makes the gameplay feel slightly sloppy. It is also far shorter than the usual Zelda game, at only about a quarter of the length. But that shorter length might be to its benefit: the constant snarky jokes might have become a bit overwhelming if it had been a regular full-length game.
Despite the slightly sloppy combat and the super short length, I think that this game provides enough of a different flavor to make this one of the better “Zelda clones” out there, and I can only hope that the developers have a slightly longer sequel up their sleeves! As for now, this game is already out on Windows and Mac, but this Fall it will be coming to Wii U! I think I will wait to play the full version then, myself.