ITTA, a new title from Armor Game Studios releasing on April 22nd, is what I would describe as an indie, action-adventure style narrative game. The game follows Itta, a young girl whose family has been mysteriously killed. ITTA awakens amongst the terror in an unknown world where she must attempt to free herself with the assistance of her guardian, who possesses her cat’s corpse. I reviewed ITTA on April 19th, 2020, and these are my thoughts.
The Art-Style of ITTA
ITTA has an incredible art-style choice. The pixel nature of all that surrounds you as well, on top of the ambiance of all the areas you traverse, creates a unique atmosphere. There are times when you barely even think about what is going on in front of you as you face down a relentless boss.
In contrast, there are also incredibly deep scenes and art choices. Moments where you cannot take your eyes away from the screen as you appreciate the artistic choices. Moments of solemn, where it is just you, a black background, and Itta. These are the moments for me that I live for in games. Moments where you can just sit back and appreciate what is on the screen. ITTA Is nothing short of beautiful. The artistic choices of scenes where the player isn’t playing are where this stands out the most. The game can both be a chaotic experience combined with a visual novel when it wants to be. This is an odd combination for an indie title, but one that fits perfectly for how it was conducted in ITTA.
The Tone-Setting of ITTA
When playing through ITTA, the music and ambiance of sounds that the player hears sets up priorities in mind, outside of battles, the music is calm, mysterious, and a relaxing jingle that creates an urge to move forward. That can all change in an instant; however, when you enter one of the boss fights. The music instantly switches tone, with a hectic feeling bestowing upon the player. The music for the boss fights makes you forget about the adventure for the time being and focus on the here and now.
There is a lot of atmosphere setters in ITTA. For example, looking for where to go next, and all you can hear is the crashing of waterfalls or the trickling noise of water through rock cracks. It does help give the feel that the world ITTA finds herself in is real and alive despite the perception the game wants you to have of it.
One thing focused on in ITTA is the weaponry. Players obtain a revolver, the revolver of Itta’s dead father, to be specific. With it having such significance, you’d think the game would want to make the player want to use it. Wrong. The revolver is the most tedious and painful gun to use in the game. It’s one-shot speed, along with the accuracy and sensitivity issues in the game when it comes to aiming the gun makes it incredibly hard to stomach using. What makes other guns better, isn’t that they are easier to use or aim. It all comes down to their bullets doing more damage or multiple bullets spreading across a wider area to compensate for the abysmal aiming sensitivity in the game.
Purposefully, I think, the game gives the player no direction. ITTA leaves the path up to the player. The player can enter a room, and there could be one direction, or there could be three or four. The game doesn’t encourage the player to go in any direction over another. This leaves a lot of room for personalisation in how you want to tackle the game. There could be a boss on the south-side of the map, and a boss on the north-side. However, it all comes down to the player which one they want to take on first. The game creates a natural sense of urgency and direction for the player to go toward without specifically telling the player where they should be going or what they should be doing.
The vastness and similarity of rooms in terms of colours and design can make this game annoying to traverse through. However, the music does help to relieve some of that tedious nature of back tracking as you can zone out and listen to that.
This last piece in terms of gameplay isn’t too much to point out, but I shall nonetheless. The rumble and vibrations in ITTA are needlessly excessive. The rumble of the joycons throughout the game will make you feel like they are about to explode. However, luckily there is an option to lower/turn off the rumble entirely in the options menu.
ITTA, a game based on consistent death and repeating of the same fights, you’d expect it to be difficult, right? Well, it is. The calm nature of a lot of the game is misleading for players at times. There is a feeling of constant ‘calm before the storm.’ You know you will come up against a boss and die dozens of times due to the sheer excess that each boss throws at the player.
If you have played games like Enter the Gungeon or Exist the Gungeon then you will be better off than someone who plays ITTA without prior experience of games where the key to winning is consistent shooting, on top of a ridiculous reaction time and ability to dodge thousands of attacks at once. The difficulty can be something to scare off players or invite seasoned gamers who are eager for a challenge. Just be warned, you will die a lot.
Unfortunately, for me, ITTA does not have much in the way of replayability. Of course, not every game needs to be endlessly replayable, but it would be nice. However, ITTA will offer up enough of your time, as is through difficulty alone. However, unless you want to do an impossible deathless run, you most likely won’t get the urge to boot up ITTA again once you finish it the first time around.
Overall, I really loved what ITTA was going for. You cannot help but appreciate the mixture of tranquility alongside the chaos. The visual experiences in games are something that I will never struggle to praise in games. This is something ITTA has in abundance, which is something that sets it apart from other indie titles. ITTA can improve in some places, but for what it is, it is a well put together experience that will offer a lot of frustration, but also a lot of deep experiences for the player. It offers up a perfectly fair experience.
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- THE GOOD
- Beautiful visual moments
- Stellar Ambiance & Atmosphere
- THE BAD
- Frustrating gunplay
- Lack of replayability
- Relatively cheap price
In this review of ITTA, I cover the upcoming release of the title for Nintendo Switch. I cover the basic story-elements of the game, but most importantly, the gameplay mechanics of the game, along with the visual experiences the game offers up to the player.