Entwined – Review
Entwined is a mix between a rythm game and an endless runner developed by PixelOpus. It was released in 2014 for the PS4, PS3 and Vita. The core gameplay revolves around controlling two souls (one with each analog stick) and bringing them together over several lifetimes (levels). It was one of the PS Plus games for July 2015 so I thought I’d give it a go.
The control scheme of the game is simple, you use each analog stick to control one of the creatures in their half of the screen. As you travel down a linear tunnel
you must guide them through coloured gates and collect orbs which brings their souls closer together. The controls are easy to pick up and play, even without much in the way of an introduction or a tutorial.
Probably the best feature of Entwined is the design and animation throughout the game. Each level has a different theme while keeping the same gameplay elements. The Bird and Fish which you control are nicely designed and animated in a way which makes them almost feel alive.
Entwined attempts to create the feel of games like Journey and Flower, where atmospheric storytelling and immersive gameplay creates a wonderful experience for the player. Although unlike anything from ThatGameCompany, PixelOpus make it very hard to ever forget you are playing a game. While there may not be a fail-state (as far as I am aware), having to string together a good run of gates and orbs to finish each level means that it can be stressful and frustrating to play once you get further through the game. Missing a gate shakes the screen and turns the offending soul red, this is not a game which you can play all the way through while relaxing on the couch like you could with Journey. Too often in the later levels I found myself in an annoying loop of nearly connected the souls before missing a gate and having to collect another bunch of orbs.
After connecting the souls in each lifetime, the level opens up into a cool looking area where you have to collect a few more orbs before finishing that chapter. While these areas are well designed and awesome at first glance, having to control the dragon quickly became an ordeal. I would have loved to have been able to easily explore and fly around these open spaces without constantly crashing into things.
The audio throughout the game is nice enough, although I do think that it could use more variety during the main part of each level. The music is at its best when it picks up as you get closer to the end of the level. Although the relaxing music is supposed to make the game a better experience, I found it too hard to relax and enjoy when I’m constantly stressing about not missing a gate.
Entwined is pretty much what I want from a PS + game, it's a decent little experience which will kill an hour or two.
It falls down in its' attempts to be an atmospheric experience and the gameplay can be frustrating at times, but the design and the presentation make it worth giving a go at least.