Alwas Legacy PS4 Review
Back in 2017, Elden Pixels released Alwa’s Awakening, a 2D platformer designed to look and play like a classic 8-bit console game. In it you took on the role of Zoe, a young heroine sent to save the land of Alwa.
Now Elden Pixels has released its direct sequel, Alwa’s Legacy. And where the first game was a love letter to 8-bit gaming in all its design and visual glory, Alwa’s Legacy has made the upgrade to stunning 16-bit visuals and gameplay. Like Alwa’s Awakening, Alwa’s Legacy cuts its teeth on 16-bit Metroidvania game design while delivering gorgeous 2D art that would look at home on any 16-bit console, and any modern one to boot.
Once again you’re placed in Zoe’s shoes and thrown back to the land of Alwa. Only this time you’ve been struck with that overly-convenient of soap opera ailments: amnesia. Why are you here? Why do you feel like you’ve done this before? And why is the bad guy from the first game still around making people’s lives a misery?
The only way to figure that out is to go on an epic quest full of danger, intrigue and dungeons to discover your past and get yourself home.
Like many of those games from the past, Alwa’s Legacy throws you into the thick of things with nary a proper explanation. Outside of making it to the Library where some answers may await you, this is a game about open-ended gameplay. Once you’ve gotten an idea of what to do and are pointed in the direction of the first dungeon, the game lets you go on your own way and figure things out for yourself. There’s no handholding and very little in the way of tutorials and the game is all the better for it. Initially, it can seem overwhelming as you find yourself with so many directions to go in, but a little bit of exploration will provide you with all the tools you need to complete the game’s dungeons and defeat the bosses.
Zoe has three main abilities outside of her melee attack. She can summon blocks, bubbles and shoot electricity/lightning bolts. Blocks and bubbles can be summoned one at a time, each costing mana, and the recharge rate for all three abilities is finely tuned. Blocks can be pushed around and stood on. Early on though, you’ll learn to use them in ways the game doesn’t tell you that you can. The blocks, for instance, can essentially provide you with a double jump if you stand on one, jump and summon another and jump again at the same time. The second block – the first one disappears when you summon another – effectively acts as a stepping stone for that split second before it falls.
The abilities can also be upgraded such as adding spikes to the blocks when you push them, etc. The dungeons are designed around using these core skills so you’ll never feel as though you may be missing something to progress. Scattered across the world are orbs and you’ll need these to upgrade your abilities. Some are easy to come by while others will require you to solve environment puzzles or think outside the box to get to them. Further upgrades, such as health, can be obtained from the inhabitants of the world, usually through doing sidequests for them or collecting specific items.
Teardrops are scattered across the world as well and these have the added advantage of turning the save points into warp points as well. So it’s a good idea to hunt these down as they can help you get out of a sticky dungeon or just across the fairly large map easily.
The games dungeons are also conquered through the use of your abilities and each dungeon usually has its own theme. Sylvan Temple, for instance, needs to be conquered by lowering and raising the water levels. Puzzles abound in the dungeons as well, usually needing your abilities and some quick platforming skills to complete. Bookending each dungeon is a boss and I felt this area was probably Alwa’s Legacy’s weakest point. You will need to memorise their patterns to beat them while dealing with environmental hazards. However, I felt that they weren’t as memorable as they could have been.
Visually Alwa’s Legacy is a gorgeous piece of 16-bit style 2D art. The character animation is fantastic, as are the game’s backdrops. Zoe is a joy to control as well with smooth movement and animation. Further taking its cue from older games, and pixel art games, in general, is the amount of character that the animations imbue, whether it’s for NPC’s, Zoe or enemies.
The game’s soundtrack, as well, is composed of Midi sounding tunes with some fantastic audio tracks to complement the onscreen action. Sound effects fit the world as well and are great too.
Alwa’s Legacy may not push your modern console hardware to breaking point, but its stunning visuals, great gameplay and wonderful soundtrack make it a game that’s easy to recommend. Fans of the genre won’t go wrong with this one.
Publisher & Developer: Elden Pixels
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Xbox One
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