First Impressions – AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected (Switch)

One of the most exciting things about the Nintendo Switch’s arrival has been seeing the wide variety of unusual and unique indie games headed its way—and let’s face it, here at Nintendo Fire we’ll take just about any excuse to get our hands on awesome indies.

AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected was one of those titles that we approached with very little foreknowledge, but were intrigued by its bright colors and first-person adventuring perspective. In this title, you start out as a boy who goes adventuring after a hole opens in his basement. Once you enter the world to explore, you’ll find yourself surrounded by forest, caves, meadows, and plenty of NPCs who are rather eager to join you on your adventure.

In the demo area, the goal was to flip three levers so that you could travel to the boss encounter. Unlike traditional adventure games where NPCs become permanent party members unless you switch them out (or the game removes them for some reason), the characters in AWAY are more like power-ups. They have a limited “lifespan” with you, and must be strategically utilized in order to finish the puzzles with success. The visuals of the game also change when you switch to control these characters, which is a neat element to make the experience more dynamic. For example, if you use a wizard NPC who has cracked glasses, the screen looks like it has a crack on it. Talk about immersive!

As for the actual gameplay, the first impression was that it was, well… all right. Not anything we’d rave about, and at times the combat felt inconsistent. For example, we’d try to hit an enemy and miss, taking damage, even though (by all accounts) the attack should have been successful. Or the same type of enemy would run at our character as soon as it came on screen while another would fire projectiles after being visually cued, making it difficult to tackle the level with strategy.

That said, the game has a certain heart and humor, and the world developed here is one that’s not inherently aggressive—which is a bit of a change of pace in a first-person environment. It has an upbeat, positive feeling, and although there are still some kinks to be worked out before it’s ready for the general public, it’s certainly a game to watch out for if you’re a fan of adventure games, roguelike and first-person perspective.

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Faith
Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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