Alwa’s Awakening is an 8-bit platformer developed and published by Elden Pixels. It has the look and feel of golden age platformers of the past. You play as Zoe, a mage summoned by an elder to help free the land of Alwa. I supposed it’s fair to say the storylines of original 8-bit platformers were not exactly deep, and this game has stuck to that script. So, in short you play as a heroine who needs to tackle enemies, unlock skills/abilities and conquer the platforming elements.
The game developers themselves claim this game was NES inspired and looked to the games Battle of Olympus and Solstice for style. Having not played those games, in my opinion, the game reminds me more of Alex Kidd and Metroid. By that I mean the graphics and background music reminds me of how Alex Kidd use to sound like and look. With regards to similarities with Metroid I would say the map design was inspired by that game, so you need to explore a bit more to avoid the game being just a linear platformer.
The controls of the game are as simple as what you would expect but for some reason, they have kept an irritating limitation of the past and included that in the game too. When you progress to a point in the game where you unlock an ability, rather than it being assigned to one of the many buttons available, that have decided to attach ability button to the attack button but you need to hold up and press attack to use it. I understand trying to keep the feel of the original games of the past, but it was only that way in the past due to the limitations of the buttons. It just seems an odd choice to not use one of the many free buttons for the ability, but it doesn’t render the game unplayable, so it’s partly forgiven.
There’s a good steady level of difficulty which makes things more approachable to all level of gamers. The enemies are not too difficult to take on as they tend to stick to certain patterns, though the bosses are a bit trickier until you work out their attack pattern; again, very much how older games were tackled. Alwa’s does have some good puzzling elements that force you to carefully decide the routes you wish to take. You need to have good timing skills for some of the standard style platforming sections to avoid hazards. There are also puzzling elements where you need to use your abilities to help tackle certain parts of the platforms which otherwise would have been impossible without them.
Sticking with the old-style games you don’t get to save anywhere you want to resume later. You must find the certain checkpoints and activate them to set your respawn point should you perish and activating the checkpoint saves the game as well should you need to down tools for the day. The game has checkpoints scattered around the map so you can activate them closer to the area you need to conquer so you don’t have to keep trawling through the map to get back to where you were. There are also teleport rooms to get to certain parts of the map quicker as well that are vital to speeding up the flow of the game, which is needed.
My only gripe with the game other than the lack of use of spare buttons is that the pacing of the game feels quite slow. The way your character moves and jumps feel like time has been slowed down or that you’re playing with a slight lag. It is odd, as you think that as it plays at a slower pace that things would be easier as it allows you more time to react. That is not always the case and the game still generates enough challenge to not be seen as easy. Just to help nail that point home as well, every time you die and respawn at the checkpoint you are told how many times you have died to reveal how tough the game is – or how bad you are at platformers.
Alwa’s Awakening is very true to the original style 8-bit platformer. They have some adventure and puzzle elements as well and is not as linear as many of the other 8 bit platformers. The story line is quite light in details but the game itself is more concentrated on the gameplay which shows as it is a fun and interesting challenge. Although it feels a bit slow-paced it is still a good game to pick up for old-style platformer fans.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.