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The world of Nahucan has been overtaken by a deadly plague presenting itself as black ooze that corrupts all who it touches. Take control of Itorah, the last human in a world filled with furry creatures and masks, as she gets accompanied by a loud-mouthed axe named Koda that she meets on her journey.

Although Koda won't be the only ally that Itorah makes throughout the journey, any others — including Koda himself — feel unworthy to mention, as the characters in the game feel very one-dimensional and boring to experience. In a world as beautifully handcrafted as ITORAH's Mesoamerican-inspired Nahucan, it was a true letdown to see that the characters felt so shallow and lifeless.

Unfortunately, ITORAH's lifeless characters extend to the protagonist herself, as Itorah is a non-verbal character that feels out of place in modern eras. With a game that felt it could have had a lot more focus on its story elements — especially with the premise of the storyline being to try and figure out what happened to the other humans — having Itorah be non-verbal felt like a poor choice, if not a downright lazy one. I feel that ITORAH would have greatly benefitted from a livelier protagonist to contrast Koda's attitude, not that he had much depth to himself either. I would have much rather had a main character I would have cared for than a pair of characters I had little interest in. All of the other supporting characters can be spoken to up to three times, but they never say anything of importance in terms of dialogue. Additionally, very early in my run — around three hours in — I managed to unlock the achievement to talk to all characters. This served to further discourage me from the potential in ITORAH's story, as it felt overall bland and uninspired, making me feel unenthusiastic to find out what happens next.

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Unfortunately, the story isn't ITORAH's sole disappointing factor, despite being the worst offender. The gameplay feels bland and uninteresting as well, and I found myself swiftly breezing through the world with minimal challenge or encouragement for exploration. As soon as I found out ITORAH's world was predominantly linear and all of the collectible upgrades were effortless to find, I lost interest in the gameplay as well.

The most promising aspect of the gameplay is the fighting, and even that left plenty to be desired. Enemies wander seemingly aimlessly, with little to no interest in Itorah at all, making them easy to dodge and kill, once again making the game take minimal effort to pass. Despite how dull the common enemies throughout the game were, one of ITORAH's highlights — aside from the eye-catching graphics — is the game's boss design. Alas, with bosses few and far between, it wasn't enough of a redeeming factor to encourage exploring Nahucan and inspire in me the drive to save the inhabitants.

Another aspect of ITORAH's gameplay that left me sorely disappointed was its platforming aspects. It felt as if the game had been oversimplified throughout the development process, making the platforming sections feel like a bore and slow to play through. Tedious and uninspired, ITORAH's platforming brought nothing new to the table and managed to make genre classics such as wall jumping feel clunky and uncomfortable to use.

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Finally, the game's soundtrack is absolutely gorgeous!... when you actually get to hear it. ITORAH's sound design, including the protagonist's voice when swinging her axe, left some to be desired. Although the music has plenty of charm and rhythm to it that I particularly enjoyed while listening to the soundtrack, it was not something I noticed in-game at all, and you could have convinced me that ITORAH had little to no music.

ITORAH's gorgeous, vibrant, and lush Mesoamerican-themed environments and graphics are one of the game's singular outstanding aspects, as all the others unfortunately fall short of expectation. Aside from the enjoyable bosses, the combat was boring and predictable, the platforming felt uninspired and slow, and the story and characters were some of the most shallow personalities I've experienced in recent times.

3.50/10 3½

ITORAH (Reviewed on Windows)

The game is unenjoyable, but it works.

ITORAH's lush and vibrant environments are one of the only enjoyable aspects of the game, and even those won't manage to rope you through the game's boring storytelling and slow gameplay.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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