Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet Review
By Mitsuo Takemoto |
Anyone itching for a Metroid-style adventure will want to dive into Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. From the comfort of your flying saucer, you'll explore a bizarre alien world, solve puzzles, and find useful tools that grant you access to previously inaccessible areas. This is a fantastic game with beautiful animation -- I only wish there were a bit more of it. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet took four years to make, but it only takes a few hours to finish.
A dark, malevolent force has invaded your solar system and taken control of your world. As the lone survivor of your alien race, it is up to you to fly into the heart of the parasite and send it packing. This planet is brought to life by terrific animation. As I explored my surroundings I found myself gazing off into the distance behind my ship to admire the detail and subtlety. This is a truly alien world, devoid of anything remotely human.
The sound design is also incredible, from the low frequency moans of giant bosses to the sci-fi bleeps and bloops of your ship. There is a terrific orchestral score that plays during cut scenes, but otherwise your journey is accompanied only by eerie, ambient sound effects.
If you've played any "Metroidvania" games, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet will feel very familiar to you. There is a large map for you to survey and you'll do a fair amount of backtracking as you upgrade your ship with gear that will open what were previously dead ends. A claw arm will allow you to pick up rocks that might be blocking your path, for instance. The tools are all fun to play with and are doled out at regular intervals. Combat punctuates the exploration, including some memorable boss fights.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is unfortunately one of the shorter games I've played recently, and the pacing is a little off. I didn't realize I was fighting the final boss until I saw the credits immediately after -- it's missing a big climax. When I finished the campaign I had explored the map to 88 percent completion. You are free to return and finish finding all the upgrades and concept art, but I wasn't motivated to do so. It took me four or five hours to complete the game.
Outside of the campaign there is an interesting multiplayer mode for up to four players locally or online. It's a survival game called Lantern Run where each player drags a lantern through randomly-generated caves while trying to outrun a tentacled behemoth that is slowly closing in on the team. Lantern Run is a nice diversion but not something I'll be investing huge amounts of time in.