Ittle Dew 2+ starts soon after the bittersweet ending to the first game. After trading The Artifact to have a raft carved so that they could escape the unrewarding island that they had explored from top to bottom, we find the sassy adventurer Ittle and her reluctant flying fox friend Tippsie marooned at sea.
That soon changes when they unexpectedly hit a rock, tumbling into the water only for the hapless duo to realise that they have somehow managed to end up in a small pond on another island. With Ittle desperate to sail somewhere else with more treasure, their raft miraculously shatters into pieces in response. It’s here that we meet Passel, the island’s caretaker, who appears in a cloud of smoke and refuses to help them. When Tippsie snags a magical map from Passel’s pocket, he learns from it that there are eight pieces of a raft hidden in a bunch of dungeons on the island. And in that moment, your new adventure begins.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that Ittle Dew 2+ does not recap what happened in the last game nor does it reintroduce Ittle and Tippsie. That means that those who perhaps want to get to know the characters a little bit more before setting out on their next adventure should consider tackling Ittle Dew first – which takes around three hours to complete, and another game that’s most certainly worth your time and attention.
However, where Ittle Dew was a largely linear experience and had drawn inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a better comparison point for Ittle Dew 2+. While the sequel continues to use the same top-down perspective, the 2D visuals are switched out for 3D polygonal graphics. I am sure that there are those that will be disappointed that it hasn’t continued in the same style as its predecessor, but, for me at least, I think it has been a positive change.
That’s because it won’t take long for you to come to not only admire the sumptuous cel-shaded art direction but the meticulous way in which developer Ludosity has built the world for you to explore. There’s so much to do, whether that be using a surprisingly resilient stick to reveal every Optional Hidden Cave on the island, recovering the Secret Shards to unlock more dungeons, or summoning the courage to enter the Dream World. This candy-coloured area is exclusive to Ittle Dew 2+ and the reason why there is a plus sign slapped on to the game’s title, presenting players with the chance to extend their adventure with five new dungeons and to hunt out 40 collectible cards.
As with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, the main dungeons in Ittle Dew 2+ can be completed in any order. For newcomers, it’s still probably best to venture into the Pillow Fort first, which, even in Tippsie’s repartee, is referred to as a tutorial dungeon. The magical map will always point players in the direction of the next recommended dungeon, but the puzzles that you have to overcome in each relate to whatever item has been locked away inside them.
The actual places where the dungeons have been built that inspire their interior design will raise a smile, too. There’s the Sand Castle on Sweetwater Coast, the Trash Cave that, well, is littered with trash, or the Art Exhibit that sees paintings adorn each room with playful descriptions scrawled on plaques that accompany them – one painting, purposefully placed so that the player can’t see it, that even sees Ittle say that it shows a secret item and the true final boss. (I laughed, a lot).
It’s the personality that has been packed into Ittle Dew 2+ that makes it one of the best experiences that there is to find on the Nintendo eShop, but it isn’t without its shortcomings. The items that you recover (such as the Force Wand that shoots magical projectiles that can push blocks, the Dynamite that blows stuff up, or the Fire Sword that can light torches) are used to create some clever puzzles, but none that are ever particularly complicated.
With the freedom to explore any dungeon at any time, there seems to have been less chance for the developer to create puzzles that require multiple items and it slightly suffers for that. The items can be upgraded which leads to some reinvention, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I spent less time in dungeons and more in the overworld – which is heavily ridden with enemies that, for the most part, are best worth rolling past to avoid seeing as defeating them doesn’t offer any reward.
Ittle Dew 2+ is hilarious though, and, even if it isn’t as mentally challenging, the game’s undeniable charm and pun-filled humour will carry you through to its concluding moments. Tippsie is the best companion an adventure could ever need (even if he needs to kick his health potion addiction), and the game throws more than enough ideas at you to make sure that it entertains.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Nicalis