Ittle Dew is a weird little thing. From a group called Ludocity, it’s just a quirky Zelda-like that tries and captures what made the 2D Zeldas so special. There are a lot of Zelda-likes out there, but I think Ittle Dew really does shine as both an homage and something of its own.
You play Ittle, a sarcastic little girl lost on an island, with her odd and always ‘kind of drunk’ companion Tippsie, who I think is a fox with fairy wings, but they definitely aren’t explicit about what she is. The game is just puzzle room to puzzle room, and though everything gets quite complex, the format doesn’t really change from moment to moment. The island you find yourself trapped on is quite small, so you pretty much explore this giant castle and look for ‘mad loot’.
Humor and style is where Ittle Dew excels. The game is gorgeous, as a hand-drawn meets Zeldastyle, since there really isn’t any other way to describe it. It flows really well, and the simple animations like Ittle’s facial expressions, or the kind of goofy death animation really make the game. There is just that attention to detail in the nuance that you get in indie games that I really appreciate.
On top of that, the game is very sarcastic, for better I think. It takes pretty much every opportunity to point out how ridiculous the enemies are, how dumb it is that they’re stuck on this clearly predesigned island, but how awesome adventuring is. Self-aware humor doesn’t always work, but I think it does here. Tippsie’s tips also add a little flavor as she seems to know how to do everything, but will never tell you how or why.
To get to the meat of the game, the puzzles are very tough. I was pleasantly surprised to see myself taking time to think and try different things, which a lot of top-down puzzle games just don’t seem to have me doing recently. There are plenty of puzzles to find too, so even after you finish the game, you’ll probably have a few rooms left to explore and the “Master’s Cave” to challenge yourself to.
The drawback with Ittle Dew is how absolutely short it is. On a first playthrough it took me only three hours to finish. The game challenges you past that with extra puzzles, but that still only added about an hour of play time to the total. It encourages you to try and finish the adventure with only two of the three total items, which does add a new level of challenge, but only a select niche will really get into that idea and speed running the game.
Ittle Dew is whimsical and humorous, all wrapped up in a love-letter to Zelda. It’s clever, and tough, but it is quite short. I think a niche audience will find a lot to love about this silly little adventure though.
This review was based off a pre-release Steam version of the game on Windows PC played entirely with an Xbox 360 controller.