Gallery: Away: Shuffle Dungeon
Away is very much like the Zelda games of old. Controls and gameplay are very much like those titles, providing the same overhead camera view and simplistic action those games offered up in the past. This is a very good thing, as there are just about no other adventure titles you'd want to take inspiration from.
As the rep was talking up the game to me, he informed me that there would be plenty of weapons, both one-handed and two-handed, in the sword, spear and axe classes. There are also shields available, as well as armor. As one would imagine, these all have their own unique attributes and means that you aren't exploring all of these dungeons just because it's fun (it is fun, though). The loot is where it's at and there is great loot.
Fupongs are also another nice feature: they're creatures that provide you with your magic spells. As you might imagine, these are elemental and you can pretty much determine what spell you have by the look of the Fupong running along behind (their numbers also determine how many times you can cast the spell, as they turn dark when used). In the demo, I had several red Fupong running along behind us, so I was able to launch fireballs. The Majesco rep also informed us that you'll be able to raise your own and level them up in the final release.
The shuffle mechanic also works quite well. You aren't stuck in one of the screens for too long (or not enough time), giving you time to navigate each screen, kill the enemies and collect any goodies before moving on. As the screens shuffle, you'll eventually be presented with some stairs, which will lead you further into the dungeon or thrust you out into the hub, given which set of stairs you take (down staircases take you further into the dungeon, natch).
When going further and further into the dungeon, you'll eventually encounter a boss. The boss I fought was a gigantic blue crablike thing, with a big red jewel on its crabby chest to indicate where I needed to mess it up good. And, as you'd expect, I messed it up something fierce.
Actually, I died. Twice.
Majesco's rep informed me this was the final build of the game, the Japanese release. With localization still in the way, Majesco hopes the game can release here in the United States this fall. I'm looking forward to checking out the final game when it releases.