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Zoe, a young staff-wielding warrior, has been transported to the city of Alwa to save it from the evil that threatens its safety. In an homage to the great platformers of the 80s, Alwa’s Awakening‘s 8 bit visuals provides a lovely dose of nostalgia, with the simplistic gameplay heightening its puzzle aspect. With its sequel, Alwa’s Legacy, not too far away, let’s take a look at the first instalment that put Elden Pixels on the indie map.

Good

  • Tight controls and smooth gameplay.
  • Great subtle gameplay tips that occur naturally in-game rather than having to read text boxes; adopts a show, not tell approach.
  • Fantastic HD Rumble effects that are subtle yet effective.
  • Multiple pathways that allows you to freely explore the world and uncover more of the map as you go.
  • Fantastic metroidvania-style backtracking with learning new abilities and being able to access areas you weren’t able to before.
  • Convenient warp system to speed up fast travel.
  • Dialogue doesn’t repeat itself when you return to a boss fight multiple times – hallelujah!
  • Great cliffhanger that leads into the sequel.
  • Nostalgic NES-inspired graphics that could’ve come straight from the 8 bit console itself.
  • Accurate chiptune music with effects that bring back memories aplenty.
  • Catchy and upbeat music, making it a joy to listen to and intense boss fight music, which we all love in a good dungeon crawling 2D Metroidvania.

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Bad

  • Often found myself wanting to be able to place markers on the map as it can be difficult to retrace your steps.
  • Secrets uncovered by HD Rumble doesn’t work well for those who play on a Nintendo Switch Lite or a controller without the feature… I really wanted to play Alwa’s Awakening with my wireless SNES controller.
  • I often found myself wanting to zoom in on the map, especially in handheld mode. Luckily, the Switch has an in-built zoom feature when you double tap the Home button.
  • Occassional grammatical errors
  • Basic plot that lacks depth

Final Score: 85%

Alwa’s Awakening is the definition of what a hidden underrated gem truly is. It perfectly epitomises the 8 bit NES era, from the aesthetics to the gameplay, whilst keeping in mind the modern realisations that have come from decades of metroidvanias. Definitely check out the developers Elden Pixels as their sequel Alwa’s Legacy isn’t far off from seeing its release; if it’s anything like the first instalment, we have something to be very excited about.

Thank you for checking out our Alwa’s Awakening Switch review (Quick), thank you to Plan of Attack PR for the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backer for their ongoing support:

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Posted by Alex Harding

Lover of chocolate and admirer of video games, Alex is the chief writer/editor of Switchaboo.