(PlayStation 4)

Entwined (PlayStation 4)

Game Review

Entwined Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Graham Banas

Always together, forever apart

Entwined is the first game from new studio Pixelopus, a brand new addition to Sony’s Worldwide Studios network. The title’s trailer premiered this week during PlayStation’s big E3 2014 press conference, and to the delight of many – this author very much included – it was announced that the game would be available on the PlayStation 4 immediately after the media briefing’s conclusion. And what a treat it is.

This is a dual-stick title in which you control two lovers who want to be together but can’t. In the game, the left stick deals with an orange fish, while the right stick helms a blue bird. As such, it’s down to you to guide the two souls through a tunnel akin to Tempest or Dyad through nine different lifetimes (or levels), so that the two entities can finally hook up. Each stage culminates in the conjoining of two kindred spirits, as they form a dragon so that they can paint the sky of several beautiful environments.

As mentioned, the similarities to Dyad are immediately obvious, but the game plays at a much more relaxed tempo; where the PlayStation 3 indie revolved around time limits and frantic tasks, this game moves at a much more manageable pace. Each creature has varying triangular objects that it must fly through while in the tunnel, which advances a meter associated with their colour. Once both are filled completely, you must successfully complete five or so additional patterns in order to become the aforementioned dragon. The gauge will collapse if you miss too many targets, but there isn’t really a fail state in the game; make a mistake and you’ll merely need to regain the momentum that you’ve lost, however long that may take.

Alas, that doesn’t mean that the game is a walk in the park, as the developer expertly ramps up the release’s difficulty as you progress. Since there’s no death mechanic, the patterns that you have to mimic become increasingly more complex as work through the levels. Indeed, the game starts out nice and soft, easing you into the gameplay – but it gradually snowballs, meaning that by the time you reach the last stage, finishing it will prove particularly hard work.

Still, no matter how tough the story mode may be, you’ll never see a ‘Game Over’ screen – and that’s where the challenge mode comes in. Here, you’re tasked with hitting every object, and surviving for as long as you can. Miss three targets and you’ll need to restart, which makes it really quite, er, hard. Fortunately, the title controls like a dream, and the only real issue with this mode is that you can’t earn extra lives, meaning that if you mess up in the early stages, you’re actually handicapping yourself right out of the gate. You’ll want to see everything in this section, too, as these levels depict a journey through five unique elements, starting with water and culminating in metal.

These areas each adopt a different art style, which is utterly beautiful throughout. Using a delightful combination of blue and orange, the characters are just the tip of the iceberg, as gorgeous environments exist outside of the gameplay ‘tunnels’, which go hand-in-hand with a breathtaking score by Sam Marshall. This title, through its art and music, actually manages to evoke comparable emotions to thatgamecompany’s seminal smash Flower – and we can’t think of higher praise for the game than that.

In fact, much like the aforesaid botanical blockbuster, there’s no dialogue, so it’s up to you to uncover the heartbreaking story concealed beneath the surface. The campaign only takes a couple of hours to finish, but that ensures that it never outstays its welcome, and, as already alluded, the difficulty curve feels expertly tuned throughout. The abovementioned challenge mode adds replayability to the package, too, so you won’t feel like you’re getting short changed.

The biggest issue is that the game, while beautiful, just doesn’t quite have enough of an identity of its own. You may notice that we’ve referred to a number of other releases throughout this review, and that feeling permeates the entire experience; it spends a lot of time combining the ideas of others, rather than forging its own. However, if Pixel Opus can fully find its voice, then we might be looking at the rise of a future star.

Conclusion

Entwined is right on the cusp of being a masterpiece. A gorgeous art style is complemented by an exquisite soundtrack and tight controls, which culminates in one of the best PS4 titles to date. The game’s occasional lack of identity prevents it from receiving the very top marks, but don’t let that put you off this romantic release.

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User Comments (13)

DrJoeystein

#1

DrJoeystein said:

Wow! I was not expecting this indie title to be so great. The fact that it has an excellent art style and soundtrack alone makes me want to play it right now. Thanks for the review, Graham!

Kirk64

#3

Kirk64 said:

Looks like an amazing game. Was really interested after seeing this game during the conference. It sucks that the game lacks identity, because it seems like an amazing experience.

ps4nication

#4

ps4nication said:

Yes it does look and sound very good. I kind of wish the folks from flower and flow were behind this so it could have been brought into greatness. I made it to the 8th lifetime in not much time at all, but that is where I had to stop or my controller would have been through my tv and my tv would have been through my window - it got ridiculous

Gemuarto

#5

Gemuarto said:

According to Pushsquare, almost every indie is one of the best PS4 titles to date. meh.... I wonder if there are some guys who still trust you about that. I know that it is good thing to promote indies and all, but meh, meh and meh.

gbanas92Staff

#6

gbanas92 said:

@Gemuarto The bigger issue is that there just hasn't been a whole lot to rave about on the AAA front. Sure there are some quality ones out there, but the Indie's are releasing more frequently and offering a far greater of variety of experiences. Plus, when you have games like Transistor just having come out (and Entwined), we can't help it that the indies keep raising the bar!

odd69

#7

odd69 said:

Im not sold really, Its pretty but doesn't call to me. A demo at launch would have helped it. Im not into this type of indie "game" anyway.

get2sammybAdmin

#9

get2sammyb said:

@Gemuarto That's not true at all. We gave Daylight 2/10, and have scored many other games accordingly. We're not going to say a game's rubbish just because it's indie, though. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

Demi_God

#10

Demi_God said:

hehe, some people just can't handle the fact that a game gets a good review. For me, this isn't my type of game, but there are a lot of people that like these artsy fartsy type of games. I never liked Flow, Flower, or even Journey, so I know I probably wouldn't "take" to this title. Good review though and it's awesome how much support Sony is giving Indie developers.

PMasterTy9

#11

PMasterTy9 said:

I took a chance and bought it. I am glad that I did. It's a fun little title and it looks easier than it actually is. I agree with everything the author said.

lordlad

#13

lordlad said:

i got this game as i've always like 'artsy' indie games (and also supporting them) but i was a bit disappointed. I'm disappointed that the music is not in cue with the on screen 'action' and also the lack of variety in terms of visual flair. Also, being someone that is dyslexic means that some later levels are almost impossible for me (what with my poor hand/eye coordination, no fault of the devs though, it's my fault). Finally, the 'end-level' part where you becomes the dragon and fly around collecting the 'bleeps' are kinda pointless....it will be probably better if the levels are bigger and had more variety to explore.

I will give it a 6.5 to 7 out of 10 tops.

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