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ITTA Review – Pixelated Boss Rushing on the Go!

Juan at SwitchWatchTV got his hands on the new boss rush indie darling, ITTA. It looks to be a tough game with some gameplay similarities to one of our favorites, Hyperlight Drifter. So is ITTA a game that you should take a swing at? Or is this one we should wait for a bargain? Let’s find out here on SwitchWatch.co.uk!

Welcome everyone to my review of ITTA on the Nintendo Switch!

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STORY

I have to say I instantly fell in love with ITTA, and maybe it’s something to do with tragedy and the instant feeling of wanting to find out what has happened. As ITTA, you wake up and find that your family is dead. I know it’s the stuff nightmares, but that’s how this game begins. The only thing to comfort you is a spirit which takes the form of a cat and can speak to you, and it’s first deed is to offer you a revolver. From then on, you explore this mysterious little world finding out more and more about what on earth happened. Everything is cryptic, and it kept me interested all the way through.

GAMEPLAY

ITTA is a Boss Battler akin to something like Furi or Cuphead if you have ever played those, although this is nowhere near as exhausting as it’s not as difficult. It’s viewed from a top-down perspective and essentially is a twin stick shooter. Quite simply, you avoid bullets while taking shots at the bosses to take them down.

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Most of the time, you will avoid bullets by using your roll and most can be beaten by rolling and shooting, rinsing and repeating. Some environments have small walls which you can use to hide behind the barrage, but this is not the type of game where you need to learn all the bullet patterns. While it does help, most can be avoided using the roll which made it rather too easy for me.

At first, the bosses don’t seem that tough, and through their 3 phases they do get a little tougher. As you explore the world, you will find doors that you can go through to test yourself against a boss. Some doors will remain locked until you have beaten 3 bosses in any order unlocking a tougher boss behind these particular doors and these are much more of a challenge.

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As you progress, you will find weapons from the real world which will need turning into spirit weapons so you can use them. You will need to speak to the relevant NPC for that. Weapons give you a few different options in battle from your revolver and shotgun to more powerful weapons. There is also a bomb much like in Zelda which can be used to find secret caves in between battles.

You will also gain certain powers from a nasty black sludge which will help you in your fight, such as having a period of invincibility. Reminded me so much of Marvel’s Venom.

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I enjoyed the boss battles very much and like how the game is broken up with a touch of exploration in between where you will also need to find maps so you know where you are going. As each boss is defeated a light will be filled in the cave where you began and as you beat each one you will start to gain more insight into this fascinating little world. You will find secret caves, and see statues of cats will can age the look of your cat spirit when you click on them. Again you have no idea why, but you want to find out. It’s the intrigue in the story that really kept me wanting to play, and there is a lot said for having a narrative and meeting strange cryptic characters which makes the world and the character you are playing as much more attractive to see through.

There are a few issues playing in handheld, though. My hands became tired of having to roll so much with the character, and after a while my hands were aching. The Rumble default setting is also way too powerful, so make sure you turn it down to 5 or 6 out of 10, otherwise your hands will be continually shaking like there is a small earthquake going through them.

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There are 18 bosses in total, and should you resist the urge to turn on damage x2or invincibility in the options, you will find it a decent challenge. I understand the options were added so some players do not hit a brick wall, and I commend the developers for adding them, as I suppose it’s a different way of having the usual Easy Normal or Hard modes, but I still am not sold on having an invincibility mode.

Having that temptation there to turn on invincibility just means you have a free pass on each boss, and where is the fun or sense of accomplishment in that as it’s not like you also have levels in between to beat and the game could be over in minutes rather than hours.

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I’m all for accessibility, but for me if a game is hard then half the fun is figuring out how to get better and to persist until you overcome, but I understand the developer wanted to give everyone the chance to see this game through to the end.

Button presses can sometimes be an issue, too. The controls are not as tight as I would have liked. When you start a boss, it does not register your shooting, and it means you miss a few essential shots. This problem happens a number of times at the beginning of a boss battle. You are able to hold down ZR to shoot, but by doing this when the battle begins, the shots do not register at all.

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Overall, the boss battles are nicely mixed with exploration, story, and secrets finding with a few little puzzles thrown in here, and there to reach new areas and so forth.

AUDIO

The audio is stellar in this game. I found it one of the best things in how it creates a very atmospheric and mysterious vibe. The Boss battle music let’s you know that you are in for something serious, and even the sound effects are of a decent standard.

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See Also
physical releases

VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

Visually, ITTA is pixel art is something some may love and others may not. It’s not the best I have ever seen as the palette of colors is not varied enough, but they were going for a certain look and I liked it. The bosses look great, and the bullet hell patterns are very good indeed. For those of you that have never experienced bullet hell, then this is going to give you a good introduction to it. It’s not a game that’s as flamboyant as something like Furi, but it’s solid. I had no performance issues in either docked mode or handheld.

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VALUE

ITTA is $14.99 or £13,49 in the UK. It’s at a mid-tier price point for an indie and one I think is worth your investment. There is more to this than one boss battle after another, and while there are no enemies to fight on your way to each boss, there’s at least a bit more to do as I explained in the gameplay section.

You can complete this relatively quick, as there are a few bosses that will give you a problem and you will need multiple goes, but overall I didn’t have too much issue dispatching most of the 18 bosses here. Once the adventure is over, though, there is little more to come back to as there are no leaderboards or scores or anything of that nature. No co-op to play with a friend, so this is a nice solid 5 to 6 hour adventure, or you could finish it in about 30 mins with invincibility on, so try and not use that!

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  • Story - 8/10
    8/10
  • Gameplay - 8/10
    8/10
  • Audio - 8/10
    8/10
  • Visuals & Performance - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10

Summary

ITTA is an indie I fell in love with. Sure, it’s a boss battler, and they may not be everyone’s cup of tea due to the lack of substance in between and because they can be utterly exhausting. ITTA though adds an intriguing story with a bit of exploration in between the frantic bullet hell boss battles giving some respite. The bosses are beaten in rather the same way in that the roll gets you out of a lot of trouble, and the inclusion of an invincibility is nice for players that want to see this adventure through to the end, but I don’t think the temptation needs to be there. Honestly having the x2 damage option is more than enough in my opinion. The audio is steller, and overall ITTA is a solid game which if you cannot wait for a sale is worth the pick up.

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Overall
8/10
8/10

Pros

  • Cryptic story
  • Fantastic music

Cons

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  • A bit too easy
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