You may think you’ve seen Ittle Dew before: the green-robed, blonde-haired heroine seems directly linked to Nintendo’s adventure star and even comes equipped with her own fairylike companion. With a thirst for treasure and little more than a trusty stick to her name, the barefoot conquistador does find herself in locations befitting the The Legend of Zelda‘s Hylian hero, but must use more brains than brawn to find her way back out.
Having traipsed my way through the first full dungeon of Ittle Dew and earned a badass fire sword, I’ve come to two conclusions: Ittle Dew is more puzzle game than adventure, and its world is endearingly strange. Enemies range from frog-suited teenagers to bug-eyed platypi and include a stack of syrup-soaked pancakes reminiscent of Like Likes. While you can spend plenty of time thwacking these baddies with your stick and then sword, dungeons are not overly populated and only “kill all monsters” puzzle rooms require any actual fighting. Most of Ittle’s time is otherwise spent solving different puzzle challenges required to open doors to treasure and further exploration.
Thankfully, since they seem to be the focus of Ittle’s adventures, those puzzles are nothing to sneeze at. In the first room of the fire dungeon, I was forced to retry a single sliding block puzzle no fewer than five times. This might be a comment on my puzzle-solving prowess, but really, I think Ittle Dew‘s challenges are good ol’ fashioned challenging, and it’s a refreshing treat. Even dispatching enemies, like the seemingly unstoppable mine cart monsters, is often more puzzle- than muscle-based.
Coupled with the random assortment of enemies, suspiciously drunken commentary from Ittle’s fox-fairy, and occasional jabs at its obvious inspiration, my Ittle Dew experience is off to an encouraging start. I’m hoping for a little more story besides “Ittle is shipwrecked and would like to get off this island” eventually, but the fact that I had to force myself to stop playing to write this preview is probably a good sign.
We’ll have a full review of Ittle Dew and its unique take on heart containers when it hits Steam later this month.