In Alwa’s Legacy, The sequel to Alwa’s Awakening from 2017, we follow Zoe in the rescued land of Alwa. However, after a good night’s sleep, a strange curse still seems to reign. So it’s up to Zoe to help the residents find out what is causing this curse and stop it. Read our review about this game here.
You move forward as one would expect from a typical platformer. You can jump, have a staff to hit with and quickly earn some power-ups that increase your mobility in the beginning. For example, you can create blocks that allow you to reach higher areas, receive protection for a certain type of floor and more, all as you move from room to room hoping to progress.
From the first level we immediately notice something. The graphic style looks very nice and despite the pixel style, there are certain elements that appear very natural. These elements provide an additional contribution to the experience. In addition, the music is very cool and it quickly gets stuck in your head. The chiptune tunes change per area and each level feels unique as well. The conversations between characters are occasionally quite funny and fit the story well.
While playing, however, we experience that the controls leave a lot to be desired. It all feels a bit wooden and inputs don’t always seem to be transferred to Zoe. If we hold the stick slightly upwards while walking sideways, we will no longer be able to jump or hit, while it is something that happens quickly with analog input from a stick. In addition, the game sends conflicting signals. Contact with the enemy will take damage unless you have just hit them. From then on you can walk around in this enemy without any problems. Also, sometimes an enemy will be hit by your staff if you hit twice in quick succession, but not the other time. Thus, it is not entirely clear what the rules of Alwa’s Legacy and you get into a constant state of confusion.
In addition, the levels are also a bit strange. Sometimes you will climb a ladder and discover a new room, but when you go down it, the enemies of the previous room are alive again and are placed in such a way that you have to react before you realize that you are being attacked. Despite the map you have, it is sometimes unclear exactly how to get into certain rooms. So it often happens that you just wander around uselessly. Power-ups are also unclear, as you get an upgrade for a bubble, stating that the color would then change. Not only does this have no intuitive use, but it is also impossible for color blind people to see. The only thing that stood out was a timer that suddenly started to count down. All in all, you get a lot of mixed signals from the game while playing and there is a lot of uncertainty.
All this ensures that the gaming experience of Alwa’s Legacy is reasonably limited by these kinds of flaws. Despite the beautiful drawing style and cool music, the gameplay feels so mediocre that it stops the game from becoming really fun. In a new and nicely designed area with nice music, you are quickly reminded of the faltering controls and the mixed signals that you get from the game, so that playing the game is not exactly inviting and quickly feels like a job.
For this review, Alwa’s Legacy was played on a Nintendo Switch. The game is also available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.