Menu

Alwa’s Awakening – Review (PS4)

Developer: Elden Pixels

Publisher: Elden Pixels

Released: 21/03/19

Price: £7.99

PlayStation page: https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/product/EP5092-CUSA12642_00-ALWASAWAKENING00


I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that I am a bit of a sucker for nostalgic retro games and as soon as I saw this, I couldn’t resist. I just enjoy playing retro games and yes I know there is a lot of them right now so it’s hard to separate the good from the bad but I’m here to personally help in that mission! So, here we go. You start the game with a small cut scene and it all seems a little fairytale but that is fine by me. The beautiful place Alwa is experiencing a wonderful, peaceful and prosperous time but then that is ruined when a mysterious villain named Vicar turns up and enslaves everyone just because he can. Like I said, it’s all very fairytale.

Vicar then forms a group of four enforcers called protectors to claim ornaments that will grant immense power. All seems lost but then a quiet heroine named Zoe arrives with nothing but her magical staff to stave off Vicar and his underlings. This is when you begin your adventure.

 

The simple but lovely 8-bit pixel graphics

Platforming and puzzles

These sort of games obviously lack the budget for big production and rely heavily on the gameplay so the gameplay has to be pretty tight for it to stand out from the mass of retro games. This game for me, stands out.

Alwa’s Awakening plays as a tricky platformer and despite there being plenty of enemies to dispatch with your magical staff, there is a heavy focus on environmental puzzles and sometimes difficult platforming sections. For me, this is great, who doesn’t love a good challenge, you don’t want it to be too easy, do you?

It follows the same principles of most games of this ilk but the difference here is that Elden Pixels do it well. You will traverse through the rooms and slay enemies but not everywhere is reachable right away and you can’t unlock doors or sections until you unlock certain abilities for your magical staff so there will be some back-pedalling to do. One ability is to produce a green block which doesn’t sound great on paper but it does aid your progress. You will also unlock the ability to produce a bubble which once you hop on will rise and take you to earlier inaccessible areas of the level.

 

Zoe using her ‘bubble’ ability and if you look closely, the ‘green block’ ability has also been used to travel the purple waters

Once I began this game, I was instantly reminded of Castlevania and this is a plus point, it is a solid game to use as a model. Saying that, this game would fall into the new sub genre ‘Metroidvania’ which as it suggests, it plays out as a blend of Metroid Prime and Castlevania.

Like I previously touched on, the format is familiar and isn’t anything original but it is a well trodden formula done well. There is plenty of rooms, bosses to beat, warps to well…warp with and lots of secrets to find with some tantalising and difficult platforming needed to complete. There is also save rooms but this is a bit of a sticking point…they aren’t great. Let me explain. So, you’ll have a save room and you proceed to save it. Great, your mind can rest. But then another save point is waiting for you after seven tough rooms in which you die before reaching. What happens? You go back to your original save, that’s what and it frustrates you a little. There is checkpoints every so often, for instance, before a boss battle but they are not spread evenly and you can often get killed in between these places and have to go back to, what feels like square one. It’s only minor but it got to be a little frustrating. Perhaps I should have been better at staying alive.

 

Zoe unlocking a much needed ability

Sorry, another gripe whilst I’m on them and that is the map that you get to use. In short, the grid-like map doesn’t really give you much information and essentially doesn’t work as a map. It was hard to tell where to go next as well as being hard to tell where the previous inaccessible areas were or perhaps collectibles you missed. Again though, this is minor and didn’t interrupt my overall feel for the game.

Catchy soundtrack

 

This was one thing I was glad about, its catchy soundtrack. I guess I was expecting a repetitive tune on a loop but it is actually done nicely. There is ominous and gloomy tunes which certainly set the tone for the harder parts of the game and there is also catchy tunes for other parts of the game. It all fits in perfectly with the tone of the game.

 

The pixel art is authentic and nicely made

All in all it is a well-rounded game and it is most definitely a standout performer compared to the other retro titles available.


Check out below for the trailer of Alwa’s Awakening below:

 


Developer: Elden Pixels Publisher: Elden Pixels Released: 21/03/19 Price: £7.99 PlayStation page: https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/product/EP5092-CUSA12642_00-ALWASAWAKENING00 I've mentioned in previous reviews that I am a bit of a sucker for nostalgic retro games and as soon as I saw this, I couldn't resist. I just enjoy playing retro games and yes I know there is a lot of them right now so it's hard to separate the good from the bad but I'm here to personally help in that mission! So, here we go. You start the game with a small cut scene and it all seems a little fairytale but that is…
Overall, a solid retro pixellated hit! I enjoyed it a lot, there were very small gripes but it did not affect my overall enjoyment of the game. Aside from the introduction, the story was forgettable but with regards to these sort of titles, that's only minor, you just want to dive in to your quest. The gameplay and the graphics won it for me though. Whilst it was kept simple, it was very effective and done very well. I recommend to anyone looking for a good retro platformer game for good value.

Verdict:

AUDIO: - 75%
GAMEPLAY: - 80%
GRAPHICS: - 70%
STORY: - 60%
VALUE FOR MONEY: - 80%

73%

A nostalgic retro done well!

Overall, a solid retro pixellated hit! I enjoyed it a lot, there were very small gripes but it did not affect my overall enjoyment of the game. Aside from the introduction, the story was forgettable but with regards to these sort of titles, that's only minor, you just want to dive in to your quest. The gameplay and the graphics won it for me though. Whilst it was kept simple, it was very effective and done very well. I recommend to anyone looking for a good retro platformer game for good value.

Advertisements

Support us on Ko-fi

Thank you for visiting our site and we hope you enjoy our content. If you would like to make a donation to help us with our running costs then please feel free to 'buy us a coffee' on our Ko-fi page. Thank you for all your kind support and don't forget to subscribe for regular updates.

Subscribe to Ancient Gamer

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 589 other subscribers.

Follow Us On Twitter

Top 25 UK Gaming Bloggers

UK Gaming Blogs