Alwa’s Awakening is releasing tomorrow! This new 8-bit platformer will make you really feel that nostalgia. All the classic elements, the block platforms and 8-bit look, the story line, and even the music will remind you of the classic games we all remember. The influences are really easy to spot, but there are elements from a few of the classics.

Because we are weak…


The story is so classic as to be clichè. You are a character named Zoe, who has been magically and mysteriously dumped on the world of Alwa.  Alwa is a world that has fallen to an evil ruler, and now they look to you to save the day. You start by being told to go to the top of the tower and get a magic staff.  From there you have no instructions until you find your way to the town and are told to go back, get the magic gem, and slay the great evil.  Its classic, it’s basic, but with this game the draw seems to be the gameplay more than the story.

On a side note, the dialogue needs some work.  While it is sufficient to get you to the next point of the game, there are some typos and the language used is overly simplistic. It probably won’t bother most people. To be honest I might be a little over critical on this one, but it did bug me.

Dat face Doh! So cute!


So, I’m going to break my analysis of the gameplay into two parts, mechanics and experience. I will give this game one major prop, no bugs.  Although, a smaller game like this it is much easier to avoid having bugs, I have seen so many games with major bugs on release that I was really pleased not to experience and actual game bugs or errors.

Alwa's Awakening screenshot
Holy Cow! Actual instructions!


In most games you are given some sort of instruction on which buttons do what.  Not in this one! For starters, once you start up the game you can let go of the mouse, it does nothing. There is a basic list of keys if you look in the settings from the game main menu.  However, so far the image above is the only time I’ve seen an in game explanation of what keys to use.  That said, that list of keys is not perfect.  The list says N to attack, X works too. While the use of the space bar for jumping is fairly normal and easy to use, you can also use C to jump. Also you are told to go into the house and get the map, but your never told that to access the map you press B.

Basically, the control set up is weird and a bit awkward for my tastes if you are using a keyboard. That said, this game does support the use of a controller. I tried both, and an Xbox controller works so much better than the keyboard.

How many times can one person die?


So, the image above was taken at about three and a half hours into the game.  Please keep in mind that it has been a really really really long time since I last played an 8 bit platformer. However, dying a lot is going to be a thing! Your character Zoe, only has 3 hearts and each hit from an enemy or running into prickly things will take a full heart. Some enemies will drop hearts, but it seems to be random, and it’s not often.  When you die you end up at the last save point that you saved at. That’s right, you can only save at designated save points!  Saving is as simple as swinging at a save point, which you can see in the image below.

Save points! You remember those, right?

This game is not for those that become frustrated very easily.  If you really enjoy a challenge and the idea that you will have to be constantly figuring out how to get to the next room by going over, around, or through a myriad of obstacles and enemies, well then this is the game for you.  I found myself dying and back at a save point only to have to go back through the last five rooms redoing whatever it was that got me through that room in the first place, just to get to the next room, which lead to five more before getting to another save point.

Also, like many of the old school platformers this game does have many points where you will have to go back and revisit areas after you’ve gained new items or powers.  This makes it easy to get many hours of play out of a much smaller map than you would otherwise need. So don’t forget to go back an re-explore old areas when you get new abilities and items.


Overall, I actually found the game really fun and will probably play more of it for my own enjoyment.  However, it’s not for everyone.  If you were not into the old platformer games, and don’t like games that do have a high death rate and a LOT of puzzles then I don’t recommend it for you. In the case that that does sound good to you, and you like that combination of needing both skill and problem solving, then I recommend giving this game a try. If the developers come back with an update that adds in the text explaining the keys, and maybe gives the dialogue a bit of a polish then I’d call that an excellent game.

For now I’m gonna say 3 out of 5 stars.

Also if you want to see more of this game, you can check out the steam page where they have more screen shots, and a trailer, here.

System Requirements (Potato)

Yes, I said Potato, laugh all you want.  I have a laptop that is basically a potato, and it runs this game just fine. But just in case you want to know for sure if your system can run it. Here are the system requirements:


    • OS: Windows XP, 7, 8, or 10
    • Processor: 2.1 GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 280 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Yes
    • Additional Notes: Gamepad Recommended


    • OS: Mac OS X 10.7
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics or better
    • Storage: 280 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Yes
    • Additional Notes: Gamepad Recommended


    • OS: Ubuntu 16.04
    • Processor: Dual Core 2 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics or better
    • Storage: 280 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Yes
    • Additional Notes: Gamepad Recommended was provided a copy of Alwa’s Awakening by the developer/publisher Elden Pixels for review.