Alwa’s Awakening

In Alwa’s Awakening you’re thrust into a fantasy world where you’re tasked with freeing the people from their harsh ruler and his four minions. Prepare to indulge in a wonderland of 8-bit graphics.

Like a baby who is starting to crawl, you’re not initially equipped with anything except your feet. What more do you need? Why back in my day I controlled a fast moving hedgehog, and I liked it! We didn’t ask to give that hedgehog weapons! Okay, but in this game you do need more and soon you get your staff, which is good for smackin’ baddies. While none of the non-boss enemies provide any real challenge, they do eventually cause you to dodge the best you can on a 2D plane. It’s a good thing Zoe can drastically change direction in mid-air. Eventually, after more exploring, you’ll find gems that fit in your staff and give you powers. For example you’ll be able to create green blocks to get to higher places, or to float across water, and floating bubbles to transport you even higher.

The controls – much like the NES games Alwa’s Awakening tries to give homage to – are simple, they don’t burden you down with expansive control schemes and instead focus on just what’s important. There’s only four buttons: attack, change magic, open map and jump. If you want to use your magic you press up + attack.

You’ll find yourself wandering back and forth in Alwa’s Awakening. If you’re hitting a brick wall in one area, perhaps it’s time to go visit another area and see if you’re able to unlock a new secret. Speaking of brick walls and secrets, don’t forget to check the walls, sometimes they’re passable and will get you into a hidden passageway. That’s the same with pits of spikes – while I’m not suggesting you go jump into every pit, that could be dangerous to little Alwa’s health, there are some that allow you to fall through into the room below, usually to collect a blue orb. It took me a few bosses before I figured out what those azure spheres were for – the more you collect, they do bonus damage to the boss before you even start battling! I thought that was an interesting feature and would like to see more of that in other games. While the pacing between areas does get old, especially hiking back to a boss after repeatedly dying, the puzzle aspect of it provides a level of enjoyment every time I discovered a new location.

Beating the bosses interspersed throughout the world is mostly a matter of watching for a pattern and attacking accordingly. Several of the bosses weren’t too difficult after you recognize the pattern. The final boss, though his actions seemed random, was one of the easiest of the five.

This retro platformer transported me back to when I was younger. Those days when we used to play such classics as Super Metroid, Zelda, Super Mario World, it all comes flooding back. Dive in and play through a dungeon and you’ll find that next-gen graphics just aren’t what makes a good game. Elden Pixels opens up the game with a note to the gamer, letting you know that they spent the last two years pouring their heart into this game. It shows! We look forward to seeing them step up their game and what they bring to the table next.

Bigfoot has been playing video games for as long as he can remember, he was weaned straight from the bottle on to a Commodore 64 and hasn't looked back since. He enjoys sampling beer and hanging out with his family. A couple of his all-time favorite games are Earthbound (SNES) and Fallout 2 (PC).

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