Title: Alwa’s Legacy
Publisher: Elden Pixels
Developer: Elden Pixels
Genre: Metroidvania Puzzle-Platformer
Official Site: https://eldenpixels.com
Release Date: Jun 17, 2020
Available on: PC, Switch (Coming Soon)
Alwa’s Legacy is an exciting new retro 2D platformer that came out on Jun 17, 2020. Players take on the role of a young girl called Zoe, who wakes up in the world of Alwa with no memories. She soon finds out that she must stop an evil sorcerer named Vicar that is hell-bent on destroying Alwa. Players will help Zoe accomplish this while braving the many dangerous dungeons and all matter of monsters that lurk in the dark.
The game also features a heavy focus on exploration, customization and provides a challenging experience that all types of players can enjoy. That said, I have had the utmost pleasure of playing the game for myself, and after well over 80 deaths, I feel it is time to give Alwa’s Legacy a proper review.
A 2D Retro Sympathy
To begin, I feel Alwa’s Legacy provides precisely what it sets out to do which is a well rounded, highly enjoyable experience. Everything from exploring levels and the overall design of the many characters and monsters is just simply spot on. Even further, the art style and music also captivated me and reminded me of simpler times when controllers with four buttons reigned supreme.
Also, music in this game is honestly one of the major things I liked about Alwa’s Legacy as each track felt new and ultimately helped immerse me in this strange world. I also enjoyed it so much that at the start of the game, I spent probably 15 minutes just listening to it, forgetting I had to move the character that was on screen to progress in the game. Now in regards to the art style, I must say it is genuinely exceptional and matches the soundtrack of the game just as much.
The art style also helps breathe life into the world of Alwa and makes it stand out from other games in this genre. This was especially evident with how the many characters found within the game, including Zoe, also have a charming and excellent design. As for the many enemies, all were just as esthetically pleasing as the rest of the game, but at times not all that impressive as they felt too similar to other games. This similarity was especially evident in the case of the game’s skeleton monster. Still, the design of the monsters in general, was more often than not, exceptional.
Overall, in regards to both the art style and music, I feel they both help this game immensely to provide an extremely wholesome experience. This also carries over to how levels are designed and look in this game, with each fitting a specific theme like a spooky castle or a lush green landscape to even a somewhat familiar water level.
However although pleasant and beautiful to look at, these levels are not anything we haven’t seen before. This in no means is a significant detriment to the game as I feel Alwa’s Legacy’s particular art style more than enough makes up for it. In the end, I found no major issues regarding either the music or how the game looks that hindered my enjoyment of Alwa’s Legacy.
A Journey of Remembrance
Now in regards to the gameplay, it roughly plays similar to that of other games in this genre, such as La Mulana. The game’s controls also feel crisp and precise when playing on an Xbox controller. However, I also tried the PC controls, but I don’t recommend trying it as it feels too clunky. Moving past this, I found that the gameplay in Alwa’s Legacy provides a truly unique experience that can stand out from all the rest through the inclusion of several notable features and gameplay focuses, such as the heavy focus on exploration.
Before we do a deep dive into what exactly these features are, let’s go over the basics. To begin, in Alwa’s Legacy as aforementioned, you control a young girl called Zoe, and you control her like that of other platformers. At the same time, you must transverse through a series of levels under threat by various hazards such as spikes and monsters. Unlike in other games, Zoe also only has three hearts, which can become a problem later on as you may find yourself dying often. This was especially the case if you tried to swim underwater, as you quickly start to lose health after a few seconds.
Then there are, of course, the obligatory puzzles and boss fights that are commonly found in games such as these. In the case of Alwa’s Legacy, they were both equally pleasant and challenging. For instance, the Boss fights reminded me a lot of La Mulana. Which the major similarity I found was that in both games the boss fights felt like real accomplishments when completed. I must warn you, In Alwa’s Legacy, you will die a lot to these, especially the Demon King in the first dungeon level. Luckily the game has some nice difficulty settings that you can freely customize to suit your needs which is something I commend the developers for adding.
Now as for the puzzles they were surprisingly easy and simple to solve when you put your mind to it, which is in stark contrast to some other games where it can feel at times like you are trying to learn forbidden knowledge. However, some may still leave you scratching your head wondering how to beat them, which is honestly probably more a me thing than the game’s fault exactly.
When you do manage to figure them out like with the boss fights, it feels like an accomplishment. For instance, I particularly liked the one puzzle where to solve it you needed to trick a statue monster into ramming a green block into a tight space to land on a pressure plate.
Magical Skillful Fun
Moving on, let’s go over the notable features I talked about earlier starting with Alwa’s Legacy’s novel magic system. The magic in Alwa’s Legacy I found, functions in an extremely simple but still intriguing manner. Through exploration, players will unlock magic powers that can later be upgraded to perform various actions.
For instance, the first power you will unlock allows you to spawn a green block that will help you immensely in overcoming large jumps and to solve weight puzzles. Further, this power can also be upgraded to have spikes that come out on the side when pushed that can harm enemies and this was something I particularly enjoyed about it.
However, spawning green blocks is not the only power Zoe has access to, she can also learn two more powers later on in the game that she can find in certain locations by picking up an item that unlocks them. That said, the powers that she can learn is a spell that spawns blue bubbles and is a spell that shoots yellow lighting. Both of these powers also have specific functions in the game just like with the green block one
For example, the blue bubble powers are great to get to pass difficult jumps because they float up to in the air for a few seconds before popping.
Due to this, the power also works great when combined with the green block power as using both will allow you to jump farther over obstacles. Now for the lighting, it’s usage is primarily to open up wood walls that are found often throughout levels blocking passages by burning them down. It also doubles as a ranged attack, which can be useful for dealing with flying enemies but is somewhat lackluster in terms of damage.
Zoe can also upgrade these powers just like with the green blocks provided the player has enough blue orbs which are the currency needed for upgrades. Also similar to the magic in this game, Alwa’s Legacy also features an ability mechanic that functions pretty much in the same as the magic. Unlike the magic in this game, the player can’t upgrade abilities and they have to manually recharge them after use which sometimes can become a little tedious.
Still, the upgrades to the magic powers felt lackluster and weren’t necessary to progress in the game. This was mostly because you don’t need to upgrade them as the basic powers are more than enough to get you through the majority of what the game throws at you. Unlike magic, abilities essentially become necessary as they help the player pass key obstacles like being able to walk on spikes for a small amount of time.
To conclude, despite some lackluster upgrades I still feel through the inclusion of a magic system and the abilities, it adds a bit more depth and makes the game’s platform more approachable to average players. This is because unlike in other titles where players must rely only on well-timed jumps to overcome obstacles, they must now use the various powers to do so. Which in the end I feel ultimately makes a title such as this more enjoyable due to the latter being easier and ultimately will appeal to a larger range of skill sets.
The next major feature found within Alwa’s Legacy that I feel strongly makes this game stand out in a sea of other platformers is its heavy focus on exploration. The reason why I say this is because exploration plays a significant role in connecting the play with the other elements in the game. For example, without exploring you will not find the other magical powers in the game and you can miss some pretty cool secrets.
In the end, the gameplay, despite some minor grievances is still quite enjoyable and I feel the developers at Elden Pixels put a lot of time and heart into this wonderful game. Now with that said, let us now move on to the final segment in our review.
Verdict: Alwa’s Legacy is a simple but highly enjoyable game which is also the case in regards to the game’s plot as it only really serves as a jumping point for the player to get into the gameplay. The story is pretty unique but it’s nothing we haven’t seen done before by other games. Regardless, I feel the story’s main strengths lie with the fun cast of characters you will meet and tasks you will have to perform for them. In the end, Alwa’s Legacy has enough content of exceptional quality that will keep players entertained for many hours. Fans of other games in this genre will also feel right home with this game.
- Beautiful soundtrack and visuals
- Intriguing magic system
- Welcoming to players of all skill sets.
- All around great gameplay and a wonderful cast of characters
- The plot is only good to move the story along.
- The player's health is too low and can lead to death too quickly.