Genre: Top-Down Shooter, Emotional, Action, Adventure, Indie
System: Steam (Windows), also available on itch.io
Controller Support: Full
Price: UK £4.99 | EU € 5,89 | USD $5.99
Release Date: February 14th, 2023
Review code provided with many thanks to Hugimugi.
Dawngrown is a very short shooter with a nice message. Players are a little frog healer named Azure who needs to clear the forest of the corruption that seems to be taking over.
Tiny Froggy Hero
At the beginning of Dawngrown, players are a little froggy friend who has no memory of their job. We meet a tutorial flower named Familiar, and they guide Azure through all the pieces of their healer job.
Familiar walks the player through the steps of being just the cutest little healer in the whole world. You must clean up corruption inside the mind and water the world until everything is returned to rights. The corruption will continue to spread without your help, and dangerous little creatures will spawn inside of it if players take too long to get rid of it.
How to Play Dawngrown
Dawngrown is a pretty basic game; players are gifted a cleansing gun that shoots bubbles out, clearing away the corruption, killing the corruption monsters, and getting rid of the gross hearts that grow in the goo. Players can also collect other weapons like bombs and a sword and upgrade them as well at froggy shrines.
Players earn crystals for each level they rehydrate and each shrine they break; these are the crystals they can use as currency at each shrine. You can buy and upgrade as many times as you like, and then you have the choice to either save or break the shrine. If players choose to save at the shrine, they cannot break it for the money. If they choose to break it, they won’t be able to save.
After completely clearing an area of corruption, they can help heal the person’s mind they have entered. One of the creatures you save has a whole bunch of poetry books they wrote inside their mind, and you can choose whether or not to read them before heading back to the beginning of the stage.
So Many Feelings…
I adored the premise of Dawngrown. I won’t go into why I loved it or what it was about because it would basically spoil the entire story, but I just wanted to cry when it was all over. I wasn’t expecting this little emotional froggy game hit quite so hard or be quite so full of feels.
The game is just loaded with amazing music and insane polish and every pixel is dripping with the love of a passion project. Our little Azure is the cutest little protagonist, and their little friends (a bunny and a ghost) are equally adorable. I’m in love with the characters, the feelings, the setting, the movement, and the gameplay- It’s all incredible and stunningly rendered in an absolutely beautiful pixel art style.
The HUGE Downside of Dawngrown
This. Game. Is. Too. Short.
I finished my first playthrough in about an hour, and my second playthrough took about half that time because I wasn’t gawking at every beautiful thing. It takes a whole bunch of playthroughs to be able to unlock all the achievements, but since the tutorial takes up half the game, it’s a little repetitive to play it again and again.
I was so sad when it ended. I remember watching the final cutscene come up and having this massive feeling of sadness overcome me. Was it already over? Really? I could have played a million more hours of Dawngrown and not been happy that it ended. It is too fun, too polished, too cute.
Play this game. Just do it. If enough people play and love this game, maybe we’ll get some more content. Fingers crossed!
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up: