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Away: Journey To The Unexpected

Posted by GG Goblin On February - 21 - 2019

A game about talking to strangers and making friends.

Away: Journey to the Unexpected, from Playdius, is, well, unexpected. A first-person action adventure with roguelike elements, Away is also rather odd.

aju1 (Copy)

Away: Journey to the Unexpected begins with a very well done, and very cool, anime-styled into sequence, setting the player up for what promises to be brightly-coloured fun. And it is brightly coloured, with various 3D worlds inhabited by 2D creatures and characters. It is bright and happy, and suits the overriding theme of making friends very well.

The story in the game involves a young boy, who the player will begin controlling. He lives with his grandparents as his parents are often away on their secret job. However, the parents have not been seen for a while, which is a cause for concern. To make matter worse, there is an explosion in the basement of the grandparents house and all manner of monsters are coming through. It comes down to the boy and his trusty stick, which was provided him by his dog, to go down and deal with the monsters before heading through the hole left by the explosion and trying to find out what is going on.

The game is played from a first person view, and a quick wander around the house at the beginning will get the player used to the controls. There are various rooms around the house to explore, but many of them are locked and will have to be explored later in the game. When it comes to fighting back the monsters, the boy is only armed with a stick and so one quick press of a button will see him hit his enemy, as long as they are in range. Away is not the most precise game, and so the combat can feel a little sketchy at times. The boy can access limited fireworks further down the line, giving him a ranged attack. Otherwise, different attacks will come down to using different characters.

aju2 (Copy)

Once through the basement, the player will come into the first area, which is wooded and begging to be explored. Here they will find chests containing health or money, other characters, and dungeons. These dungeons, which vary in size and complexity, will need to be completed in order to gain access to the final dungeon for that area. The dungeons will present the player with various monsters to fight and puzzles to solve. There is also platforming involved, which in first-person view really felt like a step into the past. Finish this area and move onto the next, with a variety of different environments to explore and work through.

The real interesting aspect of the game is that the young boy will not be alone in this journey. Players will come across various NPCs during their play and, once the Friendship Cube has been found in the area, the player can then try to recruit these NPCs into their party. This will involve dialogue choices where making the wrong choice will leave that character unable to join the party unless the player starts again. This is pretty harsh.

Anyway, make the right choices and the characters, from a robot bounty hunter to a drunken wizard, the selection of characters that can join the party is kind of odd, which fits into the game perfectly. Once they are on the team, the player can switch between party members with the press of a button and make use of their own unique attacks, such as a shotgun or fireballs. It certainly mixes things up and keeps the combat interesting. By recruiting these characters, the player will unlock rooms in the house to explore.

Dying will take the player back to the start, where they will have to go through all of the motions to recruit their party members again. This can be handy if the player made the wrong choices and failed to recruit one of the NPCs, as they all need to be recruited to complete the game, but is still a bit of a drag. Fortunately, the game is only around five hours long, and there are ways to make the game easier and quicker in the early stages.

aju3 (Copy)

Away: Journey to the Unexpected has some nice ideas, and the presentation is top notch. I loved the idea of recruiting NPCs to gain their unique attacks, and I thought the world was cool to explore. But the gameplay is repetitive and doesn’t feel very rewarding. If you are looking for a first-person roguelike with cartoon visuals, Away: Journey to the Unexpected may be worth giving a try.




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