Entwined has been available on the Playstation Store and something I had been meaning to get to for a while now. The gameplay harks back to the old days (I’m talking early 90s Death Star Trench – way old); you spend most of your time flying through a tunnel.
Entwined presents challenges by way of having to dodge obstacles / fly through coloured sections. It hardly seems fair to do a review on a $12 PS Store game but it’s worth talking about.
Entwined Tells a Weird Story but Still Tells It Better Than Watch Dogs.
Pixelopus’ first title tells the story of a bird and a fish that fell in love. The neon effects and abstract design of almost everything on screen gives Entwined the look of something that would be played in its own room at an expo.
The Premise is Good, But Underdone
You really can’t go that wrong with such a basic game; and a structure that has been around for so long. With that in mind, Entwined is easy to get into and enjoyable. No real learning curve means no barrier to entry.
Problems arise when this is basically it. There are nine “lifetimes” – levels, essentially – in the story mode and five challenges in the challenge mode.
There is a slight increase in difficulty as you progress through the story but the game never poses enough of a challenge. Levels eight or nine might take you a few extra minutes to complete but still feel a little too easy.
The idea of Entwined having a challenge mode is a little curious. Mostly because it is identical to the story mode. It judges your score on a different metric (story has you play until you have enough consecutive successes to finishes, challenge mode gives you points based on time survived).
Ultimately I would have liked to see a supremely hard few levels or something that differentiated it from the other nine levels.
Sight & Sound
If there is one thing to say about Entwined it’s that it looks and sounds amazing. As I’ve already said, the levels are crazy with neon and shapes. Each tells a part of the story and do it well. In fact, through one-word trophy (e.g. “Innocence” and “Anxiety”) names and level design, you get a complete sense of how the two animals relate to each other.
It’s actually quite beautiful. Sometimes the bright colours can seem a bit overwhelming against the dark backgrounds but it sits in the happy medium between being too much and too little. If you want to focus on it, it’s a pleasure; if you want to focus on flying, it blends into the background.
The free-flying segments at the end of each lifetime are fun and the ability to sky write allows players to create streaks of colour across the sky. Giving people an option to look at their creations would be ideal because, as it stands, they are an almost entirely pointless interlude.
Musically, Entwined had two options. It could have taken a psychedelic route, gone space age to really give an experience to delve into. Volume up, lights down, and create your own PS4 disco rave. They, however, took a different approach. For better or for worse, the music is a serene mix of soft music. It perfectly complements the tone of the game. Although it does feel somewhat out of place when the pace of the game picks up; trying to fly through changing sections that change rapidly to an almost-new age soundtrack. The result is a transformation of Entwined into a relaxing experience.
In The End
The lasting sense I got of Entwined is that it could have been taken one step further. The game is good but not very difficult. It looks good but doesn’t utilise these advantages. It’s apparent that, as Pixelopus’ first outing, they are taking it slow, getting their feet wet before plunging into a bigger project. I can’t argue with that.
Taking Entwined to the next level would have made it an absolutely astounding game. Offer a more challenging mode to really test players’ reactions should they wish to.
Better utilise the graphical brilliance to tell a more detailed story. Even if it’s just incorporating the game into the music by playing tones when you successfully clear an obstacle (a la music levels from Rayman: Legends).
Would I buy Entwined again from the PS Store again? Probably not.
If it was on display at an expo, would I spend all day playing it? Most likely.
[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXckoGRV4dA” fs=”1″ hd=”1″]
Entwined was a perfect opportunity to do some game/music fusion like this.