Alwa’s Awakening aims to tug on your nostalgia with pixel art and a classic metroid-vania style but Shovel Knight it is not.
Whilst Alwa’s awakening starts with a promising soundtrack and a type of pixel art more akin to that of the SNES (generally a sign of an aesthetic created for a purpose rather than based on limitations) it seems to very quickly show that the game is all fur coat and no knickers.
The game stars with a basic introduction of combat and platforming that you would expect but the game never really expands from there. All of the items, creatures and characters that you meet are passable at best and dull at worst. Whilst its mechanics are solid they are undoubtedly uninventive and uninspired.
To add to this right from the getgo the level design is confusing and annoying. In even the first dungeon there was a large amount of backtracking and I got lost several time. The bosses and other enemies also only serve as an annoyance requiring a lot of patience for their positions to line up correctly over any kind of skill.
The game does indeed harken back to old games we might have played as a child however it would never stand out as a classic. Even games such as Little Samson from 1992 were far more creative and interesting.
Disclaimer: The review key for this product was provided by the developer free of charge.