Alwa’s Awakening is produced by Elden Pixels who are based on Goteborg, Sweden. The game has you assume the role of Zoe, a likeable girl who has been ripped from her home and hurled into Alwa, a lavish, very much alive land, divided into various sections. There isn’t too much to delve into when it comes to the story as you’re thrown into the story straight away with a background of, there’s bad guys about and you got to do your thing.
Game-play consists of basic platforming, allowing Alwa to jump and block when traversing through this strange world that’s trying to end her. Zoe’s movement feels somewhat clunky, as if there’s weight to her, despite this game not operating any form of encumbered mechanic.It’s not too clear if this is intentional, but it’s mainly noticeable during running. Her other movements were quite fluid, at least in our play-through.
You’ll be tasked with some puzzle solving and some non-linear exploration with some areas being worth revisiting to gain boosts. There’s not much fear of being lost, as the map is well designed and allows you to move freely without too much annoyance. Initially you’ll find it fairly simple to vanquish opponents but the game does a good job of pacing the enemy’s toughness. This is also applied to the environment, which showcases how Elden Pixels put a lot of effort into building their world and giving it reactive abilities. To highlight this, not only do detached enemies increase in difficulty but said environmental hazards do as well. A spiky growing weed will do a lot more damage to you later on in the game than it did earlier. The world of Alwa is alive and it’s none too shy about letting you know.
Visually, the games art style is great and it’s done an immaculate job of recreating the style and feel of retro games. This is truly a lovely nostalgic gaming trip, with a delightful soundtrack to boot. Despite increasing enemy difficulty, this game is not taxing. It’s not aiming to be hard just for old times sake, it’s made for enjoyment with a heavy hint of reminiscence. It’s a game that can be played by any age range, which works well because younger gamers will be able to play something based of a golden era of video games without having to be overly frustrated at the difficulty and perhaps be deterred and stick with the ‘easier’ AAA titles that are available always.
Alwa’s Awakening is a game that could easily find itself on a indie library on Nintendo Switch. In fact many times while playing this game it felt like it would be perfect to play on the go.
Alwa’s Awakening serves as an homage to retro gaming, in terms of visuals and the attempts to replicate the difficulty but at a much more refined and less harrowing pace, that some games from the SNES era. The game is also a testament to the ever growing indie-talent coming out of Sweden. The current price for the game is worthwhile and the team behind have shown that they can create a successful game that is one part homage, one part it’s own entity, but what is really needed to boost the game’s intrigued if a more fleshed out story with more gripping characters and dialogue.
The game is currently available on Steam for E9.99