AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected review – a feel-good FPS

AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected

The talking toilet frog is the least strange thing you’ll find in the slight but fun shooter, AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected.


In my short time with AWAY: Journey to the Unexpected, I’ve pondered the mysteries of the universe with a levitating cat, been asked to leave my bathroom for the sake of the frog in my toilet’s modesty, and used complex maths to convince a heavily armed robot than I, too, am made of nuts and bolts.

AWAY is a charming, self-aware Saturday morning anime condensed into a four-hour, first-person action RPG. If you’re willing to overlook some wonky combat, it’s a journey you might find well worth taking.

I jumped into AWAY between yet another pair of gaming’s grim, grimy and gritty apocalyptic wastelands, and the first thing that struck me is just how incredibly sunny this game is.

Not just in the yellow beams that light up a starting house so homely it makes Chrono’s bedroom look like Gitmo, but in the sheer bouncy joy that flows from each musical note and character design. Even the enemies in AWAY seem like they’d prefer to be friends than throwing bombs or spitting poisonous globs at you.

Things aren’t all sunshine, though. You need an excuse to hit things, after all. After a brief jaunt through the pleasantly bucolic first area, you might notice fluorescent pools of acidic goop between the lush greens and sparkling waterfalls.

A chat with the locals ends up placing the blame squarely at the betentacled feet of construction company, LABIWORKS™. So it’s up to you, a drunken wizard and a hyperactive tree stump to find out what the problem is. Oh, and maybe find out what’s happened to your missing parents along the way.

Your progress in AWAY is based on collecting glass boxes called Friendship Cubes and using them to recruit all eight of the potential companions scattered across the game world. Once recruited, you can switch between them in combat, providing you don’t max out their energy bar.

AWAY has a roguelike structure, so each time you die you’ll be transported back to the start, but with any gold and experience you’ve collected intact. Hitting new experience levels nets you stuff like more health, shortcuts to later levels and a metal pot lid to block incoming attacks.

Your character can feel frustratingly weak at first, especially before you get used to the floaty dodge and lunge melee combat, but learning how to employ items and teammate abilities soon makes combat bearable.

Bearable is the word I’m sticking with, though. It’s fun to move and hop and explore in AWAY. Fun to meet each new foe, to appreciate the art and sound that brings them to life. But the combat itself never really grows into anything much more than a passable default method of engagement.

Although the “Feel Good FPS” tagline the game touts is a novel one, it leaves me wondering if this world, with its standout character design and writing, wouldn’t be better suited to another format of game altogether. AWAY did manage to leave a huge smile on my face on more than one occasion though, and the imagination on display here is refreshing.


AWAY’s beautiful anime-inspired artwork and attention to detail is a constant delight throughout. When taking the role of a drunken, geriatric wizard, you’ll find a crack in your vision meant to emulate his broken glasses.


Despite its brevity and dull combat, AWAY is just too colourful to dislike. It feels like we need more of its charm right now.


Genre: Adventure
Format: PC(tested) / PS4 / Switch / XBO
Developer: Aurelien Regard Games
Publisher: Playdius
Price: £13.49
Release: Out now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More like this