Alwa's Awakening

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Alwa's Awakening Game Poster Image
Classically designed action that's fun and challenging.

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The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Non-playable characters are very complimentary, encouraging.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character, Zoe, is on a mission to vanquish evil invading land of Alwa. Everything presents her as an honorable character striving to save world without worrying about her safety.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, but overall difficulty ramps up as player progresses; puzzles can challenge younger players. 

Violence & Scariness

When characters die, they blink, then fade out. There's no blood. Zoe, lead character, does have to use her skills to kill monsters trying to stop her. 


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Alwa's Awakening is a downloadable single-player action game. This is a puzzle-based, platform-jumping, old-school 8-bit game (so the graphics are very pixelated, as they are in many classic titles) and has text-driven dialogue. The game isn't rated, but there's no objectionable content; for example, the violence results only in enemies disappearing when they're defeated.

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What's it about?

In ALWA'S AWAKENING, evil has taken over the land. Because no one can overcome the evil sorcerer known as Vicar, the people pull in a hero from another world named Zoe. At her disposal is a magic staff, which she uses to fend off monsters, overcome obstacles, and traverse the land to recover magical ornaments and end the reign of Vicar. There is a myriad of dungeons, landscape puzzles, monsters and a wide world to explore in this game, which is crafted in the 8-bit style of the old NES system. It's also a sandbox game, with more than 400 rooms to explore. 

Is it any good?

Old-school action platforming never looked so fresh and fun. Alwa's Awakening pays homage to the past while pulling the classic style into the present. It has a bright look that delivers an arcade platform-jumping adventure that's challenging, but it scores on the intuitive and fun fronts as well. It also encourages exploration and trial and error. For example, the game has save points that might just be found in the next room of this massive world, but there are no real indications of where they might be, so dying is just a restart-and-repeat affair. Knock out a platform that you used to jump across a chasm before falling down to the room below? No worries -- just duck back into the previous room, and the room above resets. It's nice, but it hardly leads to replayability; the rooms aren't randomly generated. Then again, this is a sandbox-style game with no set path that must be followed.

The visuals are a nice tribute to the old style of games, as are the music and plot points. This is a game best played with a gamepad. Otherwise players will fumble through each room, and it can become laborious. But gamepad controls are intuitive, and the title itself should have broad age appeal. Alwa's Awakening is delightful, if you appreciate what it represents. The old 8-bit style may not be everyone's cup of gaming, but for those who don't dwell on photo-realistic graphics, this game delivers an almost innocent bit of fun. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role of heroes in the gaming world and the real world. What are the attributes of a hero? How can an individual act heroically when the need arises?

  • Talk about game design. Do you think the focus on gameplay over graphics makes this a good game? If you wanted to make a game, what would you put into it?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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