Ittle Dew 2+ review: Get your dungeons in order

Credit: Ludosity
Credit: Ludosity /

Ittle Dew 2+ scratches the itch for a top-down action-adventure, and its wry humor and countless hidden challenges give it a spark all its own.

Developer: Ludosity
Publisher: Nicalis
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: November 14, 2017

When we talk about nostalgia for old gaming styles, we often misrepresent what was actually there by conflating it with how we felt about it at the time. Top-down action-adventure games have this problem constantly, because everyone compares them to Legend of Zelda, and some try too hard to be just that. But Ittle Dew 2+ does two key things right. First, it manages to capture that feeling we all want back of not knowing where to go next and having to puzzle out the next destination or solution. Second, except for its genre, it’s not much like The Legend of Zelda. And that’s great.

You play as Ittle, a young adventurer woman who has somehow washed up on an island that seemingly caters to adventurers just like her. With her is her bored companion Tippsie, a flying fox. In order to escape the island, she needs to collect eight raft pieces from each of the island’s eight dungeons. At first, she’s armed with only a stick to fight with, but as she travels she can pick up three other weapons, and all four are upgradeable for use both in combat and in puzzle-solving.

ittle dew 2+
Credit: Ludosity /

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Ittle Dew 2+ tells you little about itself when you begin. There are eight dungeons, and you can see the first vaguely indicated on your blank map, but how and when you get there is up to you. You can do everything out of order if you want. You’ll eventually need items only found in the dungeons to go about gathering the game’s many Secret Shards, but the puzzles are all there from the start for you to stare at blankly for as long as you want. And make no mistake–in and out of dungeons, this game’s puzzles can take some work to solve. I’ve never seen so many varied iterations on pushing blocks!

The open nature of Ittle Dew 2+ holds much of its appeal. It’s fun to just explore this weird island, talk to the locals, and find hidden caves and upgrades. The environments are varied, and the charming artwork and music make adventuring a pleasure even when hordes of enemies are spewing fire and goo at you and your paltry stick weapon. I frequently ignored my map and just wandered to places I thought sounded interesting. Since you can avoid most enemies, even dangerous places are traversable without upgraded weapons.

ittle dew 2+
Credit: Ludosity /

It’s the most fun I’ve had glaring at a tough puzzle for minutes on end in a long, long time.

My favorite part about Ittle Dew 2+ is its total self-awareness. Almost every piece of dialogue, whether it’s in a cutscene, from an NPC, or on a sign, is soaked in snark. There’s a room early in the game with a huge STOP sign you can’t pass, but you can see beyond the sign that the room is full of complete rafts. There’s a staff lounge area where all the dungeon bosses and characters hang out and discuss their jobs as integral pieces of the island’s adventuring framework. The first dungeon’s a pillow fort, because it’s a tutorial. Ittle and Tippsie will frequently banter about doing things simply because they’re things one does on an adventure, like smash up barrels or look for secret rooms. The dialogue turns this already-excellent iteration on the genre into a sort of parody and revels in it.

If there’s a complaint to be had, it’s that Ittle Dew 2+, for all its hidden challenges and secrets, can be too short. Certainly, there are tons of caves tucked away with secret items that lock extra dungeons, and there’s an area added in the 2+ version with new dungeons centering on a single item, and those can pad out the gameplay considerably. But this is where Ittle Dew 2+ suffers for not telling the player anything concrete about how it works. If you don’t know what the Secret Shards are for, you quickly lose interest in bothering with them and just hop to the next dungeon instead. And with the right items, you can unlock shortcuts that trivialize huge chunks of the dungeons. Without meaning to, you can accidentally ignore hours of gameplay and just bop your way to the end. It doesn’t help that most enemies (sans bosses) are completely unnecessary to fight. Just skip em.

ittle dew 2+
Credit: Ludosity /

Ittle Dew 2+ isn’t a game I’d heard much about until now, but it’s an absolute gem joining the growing Switch indie library. As hard as it might be to wade through the many other good Switch games out this year, Ittle Dew 2+ is worth your time and will leave you grinning and facepalming in between its challenging dungeons, puzzles, and boss fights. It’s the most fun I’ve had glaring at a tough puzzle for minutes on end in a long, long time.

<em>Ittle Dew 2+</em> charms instantly with its open-world freedom, challenging puzzles, and constant snark. With the <em>2+</em> added dungeons, there’s plenty here to have you hunting for secrets for hours if you’re in the know. But if you’re stumbling through for the first time, you might find the adventure over too soon and too easily without knowing why.. Ludosity. . Ittle Dew 2+. 8

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.