IGN Review of Dewy's Adventure
If you're the type of bloodthirsty gamer who trumpets the storylines and presentations in games like Manhunt 2 and Resident Evil 4, you can do yourself a favor and stop reading now. Dewy's Adventure from the maker of the sleeper hit Elebits is so sickeningly sweet and unbearably cute that you won't be able to stomach it for very long, even if there is a sometimes-enjoyable experience lurking beneath the exterior. Indeed, by comparison, your average romp through the Mushroom Kingdom feels downright gritty. Dewy's Adventure is a game whose rainbow-colored tale begins and eventually progresses through highly stylized and equally gorgeous hand-drawn but mostly static cinemas and whose exposition seems aimed at mentally challenged primates - it's so thick and slow that it practically pauses to wait for gamers whose brains may have a decade or more to go before they understand the fundamentals of tying shoes. At the same time, once you actually start to play the adventure at hand, you will quickly discover that the control scheme in place and many of the challenges that lie in wait are too complex for the very young demographic the presentation seeks to please.
Although the gameplay mechanics powering Dewy and Elebits are completely different, if you played the latter then you will be able to recognize the similarities in the former's presentation. Both titles employ the aforementioned nearly-static cinemas and while there isn't an abundance of animation, the developer has made the most of foreground and background movement for stylistic results. In addition, the illustrations in place are beautiful. Heavy-handed dialog between a little boy and his mother serves as a means to render story. Dewy is a water droplet who exists in a magical kingdom. Long ago, he saved his kingdom from an evil threat and now he's with the same task. Dewy can slide through environments, jump and ground pound, and even use some special abilities, like changing into an icy or misty version of himself or creating wind storms and earthquakes, to conquer enemies.
From a purely gameplay perspective, Dewy is the polar opposite of Elebits, which took advantage of the Wii remote's IR functionality and utilized a heavy physics system for puzzles. In this title, you hold the Wii remote classically, as you would if you were playing Excite Truck, and you tilt the peripheral left and right, as well as push forward and pull backward, to slide the character across different terrain. It's all tilt-based, in other words, and thus takes inspiration from efforts like Monkey Ball and Marble Madness. The controls are designed to be simple, of course, but they are in practice anything but. You will too often slide right off platforms and into bottomless abysses below, or you might not slide at all when you absolutely have to do just that. The truth is that it takes time, effort and lots of practice to attain any sense of navigational skill - resources that the majority of older gamers, turned off by the style, probably won't want to put into the adventure. Kids, meanwhile, may find themselves utterly defeated by the setup, which begs the question, who exactly is the ideal candidate for this project? We're still not sure.
We played through a big chunk of Dewy's Adventure on Japanese import and for most of that time we wondered if we were somehow missing some key gameplay component that really made the effort stand out. As it turns out, we weren't. The game is as straightforward as it seems - its gimmick, of course, the motion controls. But that's not to say that it's not enjoyable, especially once you come to grip, literally, with the subtlety of moving Dewy through the world. The variety of levels, which range from jungles and forests to icy peaks and volcanic lands, is commendable, and the way in which Dewy must use his powers in order to advance is clever and rewarding. Quickly changing between normal, icy and misty forms with the tap of the D-Pad and executing the unique abilities from each - lightning bolts that stun enemies and ice-spins that immediately dispose of them or wind storms that raise platforms, for instance - is a satisfying endeavor, and one that raises Dewy beyond the realm of mediocrity.
Also, whether you appreciate the cuddly presentation or not, there is no denying the fact that the development studio has, with Dewy, created very pretty and equally charming graphics complemented by a host of visual effects, from bloom lighting to depth of field blur, advanced particles, and more. Supposedly, boss characters even feature some brand of normal mapping, which would be a first for Wii. Of course, some of these extra visual bells and whistles arrive at a price - the game's fluidity aims for 30 frames per second but occasionally dips below. To its credit though, Dewy runs in 480p and 16:9 widescreen modes for those of you with capable televisions.
We continue to tip our hat to this development team for its efforts, even if Dewy hasn't been a complete success. As it did with Elebits, the studio has at least made a good attempt to take advantage of Wii's abilities, beginning with the motion controls and ending with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection support. Dewy's Adventure includes a fairly robust level editor - you choose from different map templates, but can customize them with different palettes and items. You can either play these levels alone or with up to three friends. The multiplayer mode is actually pretty fun. You and friends compete in split-screen play, each person attempting to collect stars. You can use Dewy's special powers to knock stars away from the competition, though. In addition to everything else, you can also send your created levels to your buddies over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which is a fantastic feature and one that definitely extends the replay value of the title.
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