When I booted up Itorah, I was immediately greeted with a visually stunning game. The backgrounds were beautifully drawn and had a lot of detail and used a wide range of color. The characters and enemies were also well drawn and animated. The game was looking great…until I had to start controlling the character.
I always play games with keyboard and mouse, yes even games like Dark Souls, Street Fighter, and even racing sims. It’s honestly a disease but we all have our vices. I would definitely recommend using a controller for this game. The keyboard controls are not terrible but it did take me a few minutes to get used to it. You move around with the arrow keys, the ‘d’ key is jump, the ‘s’ key is attack, and the ‘a’ key is a roll. It feels pretty awkward at first but I did get used to it pretty quickly. You do have some questionable input sequences such as pressing ‘a’ to talk to a character, and then having to press ‘s’ to end the conversation. Why can’t it be the same key?!
After I got used to the controls, it was pretty easy getting around the levels and fighting the enemies. The earlier parts of the game are definitely very easy for those who already have experience playing these type of games. Enemies rarely attacked and if they did, you could easily stop them by spamming your attack, which would cancel their attack, or you could easily roll out of harm’s way.
The combat didn’t feel too engaging but it wasn’t terrible by any means. It felt like a pleasant walk in the park. I haven’t fully completed the game so I would imagine it does get more difficult in the later areas. Even if it doesn’t, it’s not necessarily a detriment to the game.
The story of the game is light and delivered mostly through written dialogue sequences. The dialogue is accompanied by short bursts of guttural noises simulating speech and it does the job. I always say that no voice acting is infinitely better than terrible voice acting. The game does a good job of pacing the story, with large chunks of exploration and combat culminating in a boss encounter, and then topped by a short cutscene which delivers more story. Apparently you play as the last human left in a world inhabited by talking weapons, anthropomorphic animals, and giant beasts.
The game feels pleasant enough to play. The levels are easy enough to navigate and the game generously provides you with a map if you ever get lost. Getting into the rhythm of jumping around platforms while fighting enemies feels pretty fun in a mindless sort of way. The game also encourages you to explore as there are treasure chests littered through each level along with the occasional hidden nook.
As you defeat enemies you obtain crystals which are used to upgrade your weapon and character. You also need crafting materials, which are hidden in the chests spread through out the game. Upgrades will make the game much easier by doing things such as increasing your health and stamina.
Overall, Itorah is a pretty solid metroidvania-like platformer. The art is gorgeous and the game has solid game play. It does feel a little lack luster or mediocre at parts in terms of the combat feeling exciting, but it is still a very well polished game.