When I first started playing Away: Journey to the Unexpected I was greeted with a really cool anime intro that is on par with games that cost twice as much. After watching that all the way through I was excited to dive into the journey of unexpectedness. There are very few rogue-like games that I find appealing but I was excited to give this one a try.
The graphics are very nice and the world is rich with color. Strangely, the characters that you interact with are 2D sprites that rotate with you as you move around them. I haven’t seen that in a game in a very long time and it sort of reminded me of the crude sprite work of games like Duke Nuke’em 3D on the PC. Each enemy I greeted was just a 2D character that would rotate with me, never showing the other side of its body. I don’t see this as positive or negative – just that I haven’t personally noticed it in a 3D first person experience in a long while. Stylistically the playable and non-playable characters all look really nice and detailed; so overall the art direction is good.
The music, apart from the intro, did nothing for me. While walking around in most areas there are ambient sounds. The first green field is no exception with birds chirping and whatnot. It’s the whatnot that I wish was NOT. There is a whooping sound like it’s supposed to be a bird or some creature. It was so constant and annoying that it drove me crazy to the point where I had to mute the game until I proceeded to a new area.
Away does get a few things right. I like the fact that there are friendship cubes that you can pick up and select a friend to help you in the dungeons. This was pretty necessary at some points because combat can be tricky. Also, as mentioned earlier, the animated opening sequence is fun to watch. However, that’s about the extent of the good stuff. The meat and potatoes of the game really limit this game’s appeal.
You can have the slickest animated introduction in the world, the prettiest graphics, and the most insanely awesome music in the industry and it won’t matter if the controls make the game play like garbage. Sadly, Away does have a huge problem when it comes to the gameplay. The controls are so incredibly sloppy that you can actually start moving the right stick before the character begins to move. Combat is cumbersome and difficult because it’s very hard to position your character in the right spot to deal and avoid damage. I imagine nailing fighting in games is a hard job for developers, but it’s also a key factor in creating a game that’s fun to play. I had issues where I kept running into enemies because they were apparently closer than they appeared. No amount of time or practice fixed this issue and made the game a frustrating experience that simply wasn’t enjoyable to play.
Layered on top of the horrible controls is the fact that this is a rogue-like, so every single time you die you start over at the beginning. This just adds to the frustration and disappointment when you die through no fault of your own. If you can get past this problem then you might be in for a rewarding experience. However, when you add up the horrible sounds, imprecise controls, and terrible hit detection it’s a recipe for disaster.
Some games can’t be cheap enough to make them something worth buying. Even free with no advertisements couldn’t save this game from my virtual rubbish pile. If you’re looking for any kind of game, I recommend looking somewhere further Away than this one.
Away: Journey To The Unexpected Review
- Graphics - 5/105/10
- Sound - 2/102/10
- Gameplay - 4/104/10
- Lasting Appeal - 2/102/10
Final Thoughts: AWFUL
Look elsewhere for a rogue-like adventure game. With sloppy controls, terrible combat, and irritating noises that will drive you insane, Away: Journey to the Unexpected will begin your journey to the loony bin.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.