One of the biggest problems of trying to evoke nostalgia through a new creation is the contradiction that implies: we can have special attachment for a game, a console or a generation that caught us at a propitious moment to leave its mark, but that does not mean that we can isolate its main characteristics, recreate them in other circumstances and get the same reaction.
The context of both the industry, with its evolutions and trends, and the player himself (who can run in parallel or mark their own course), is a vital factor over which the developer has no control. Take for example the playground where you played between classes.
Although it may be a bitter thought, the truth is that there is no way to recapture that feeling. It’s not a simple matter of children playing with children,
Okay, you do not need to be so dramatic to talk about a game, especially if it’s a good one like Alwa’s Awakening. But there is no need to reflect on how this kind of generational setback, whose claim is usually taken for granted, is a more complicated decision to get ahead of what your humble audio-visual section suggests. It is easy to get a good first impression by building
something that is seen, heard or even played as if it had left a store with forgotten games of NES, but at the same time it is also very difficult to get
that same type of response once we get out of the game. superficial level and must trap us with what is below. In the same way that technical portents lose their capacity to impact once we get used to the graphic ribbon that they mark,
Awakening in Alwa: The value of simplicity
The first possible answer is that above the attachment to specific names there is a unifying philosophy that connects games that we have played, games that have not, and games that are yet to come out. The time of NES (and by extension that of other 8-bit consoles such as Master System or Turbografx) is not only defined by the color palette or sprites that could be put on screen,
but also by a simplicity that has acquired a value retroactive because of the excesses that happened to him in later generations. Alwa’s Awakening does not
receive us with sequences of several minutes or tutorials that cut the rhythm or can almost be extended until the second game session.
Yes, a slightly more up-to-date hand is shown when exposing some of the information, but self-restriction predominates, and soonhe endorses the maxim that the best method of learning to play is by playing .
Elden Pixels is friendly with modern audiences (although it is advisable to have a basic knowledge of English ), but avoid texts whenever the level design can do its job and invite us to jump, push blocks, float on bubbles or move around an environment
that soon opens in several directions without taking the player by the hand because he trusts his intelligence. The central objective, to find and defeat the four chiefs spread across the labyrinthine land of Alwa , is established shortly after the beginning. The same goes for the map that automatically draws each
screen that we visit, and that also marks at all times the location of these leaders, outlining a development that threatens to sin of obvious and
easy in the first bars. The plataformeo is not demanding and most common enemies fall to the first blow, creating a sense of false security that the game
takes time to reverse. It is the most questionable, if understandable, license to take Alwa’s Awakening before revealing its true potential.
The Legend of Megametroidman: In search of identity
And it is that another of the problems faced by a vintage scent game like Alwa’s Awakening is the search, conscious or unconscious, of the past works to which you owe your ideas, putting your individuality at risk in the process. No matter how well designed a map is
or how to implement backtracking by acquiring improvements , because the shadow of Metroid (larger than the game itself) will always be
present. Something similar happens with the bosses, who lock us up in a room to force us to find the surest way to avoid their attacks and lower their life bar while we think of Mega Man. Or with those doors that are so zealous, they force us to search
their corresponding keys to several distance screens. Alwa’s Awakening is solvent executing those and other familiar mechanics for fans of the retro (and not so retro), but it does not become something really remarkable until it fuses them with their own and removes the learning wheels to be able to squeeze them.
If we take a look at Shovel Knight , one of the great references in this reintroduction of the mentality and staging 8-bitera nowadays, beyond its
successful mixture of influences put on the table an identity of its own that managed to penetrate from the first session thanks to the
design of its protagonist, the unusual use of a shovel as a weapon and a soundtrack with more energetic properties than bullfighting. Alwa’s Awakening, on the other hand, lacks that initial blow. On the one hand it is nice to have a heroine: the young Zoe , sent from
another world to save Alwa, is adorable with her lilac hood and her rabbit jumps with both legs together. But neither she nor her cane, limited from beginning tohit the enemies as if they were a sword , they can make big differences with many NES games.