AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected
Just a few weeks ago I wrote about how I wished more games would embrace the absurd, and that’s exactly what Away: Journey To The Unexpected set out to do. It succeeded, but oh boy did it fail.
Magic mushroom design, endearingly wacky NPCs and visually plush environments are mixed with simple and fun gameplay countered with patience testing level repetition adding up to a fairly unique short and sweet FPS.
Wonderful presentation, fun abilities, and a good sense of humor help buoy Away along, but it's disappointingly light on content and has no real replay value.
Away: Journey to the Unexpected begins as a fun and lighthearted romp with a few very unique wrinkles to its gameplay. Unfortunately, this quickly unravels and is severely hampered by poor design choices that sour what was first an enjoyable experience.
Away: Journey to the Unexpected tries to do a lot at once, which is a tall task for a game mostly built by just a pair of people. Ultimately, its strange direction lends to the charm of it all, but it's also clear the game is lacking in a few key areas — namely, shoddy combat and inconsistent level randomization. Still, it was billed as a "feel-good" indie and I'd have to agree. Despite its faults, I'm happy to have played this weird game.
Away: Journey to the Unexpected is the sort of game that's disappointing because of how good it could have been if more thought had been invested into certain systems. There's a good game buried in here somewhere, but it's so mired in confusing or irritating game design elements that it becomes incredibly difficult to recommend. If you're really into roguelikes and want to try out an okay one in first-person, Away: Journey to the Unexpected is perhaps worth a punt, but even then, we'd highly suggest that you take a pass. There are far better roguelikes available on the eShop for a comparable price; you're sure to get much more out of those.
AWAY : Journey to the Unexpected can be seen as a charming, crazy, thankfully simple and short game to spend an afternoon on. Sadly, it is also a hollow, redundant and not very interesting experience.
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While AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected features some great 2D character models and animations, the gameplay simply didn't provide a fun experience. Close-up first-person combat and first-person platforming has never been easy in games and AWAY doesn't take any meaningful step forward in solving those issues.
Even if Away: Journey to the Unexpected weren't a roguelike, it still has issues that would put it in mediocre territory. The main melee combat would be awful, the level designs would be boring, and the boss fights wouldn't be exciting. While some people may be fine with that, the forced repetitive nature of the roguelike makes Away feel unnecessarily padded, especially since parts of the title are too forgiving for the genre. It may look nice most of the time, and the story is so off the wall that it's endearing, but Away should only be on your radar if you can purchase it on sale and don't mind its baggage.
Away: Journey to the Unexpected is a thoroughly abnormal game that triumphs when its oddities all click. When you're rolling out there switching between your little boy, robot bounty hunter, and drunk wizard and blazing through battles against colorful foes, it's excellent, but when the repetitive areas and roguelite malaise starts to creep in, it falters. If all works out, by the time you hit that point, you'll be rolling the credits.