Developer(s) – Pixelopus
Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment
Director – Dominic Robilliard
Unveiled at E3 two weeks ago, Entwined is a rhythm game whereby players must control two creatures using both analogue sticks on the controller to fly them through obstacles in several different stages; or lifetimes, as they’re referred to in the game. Back when this game was first unveiled, I commented that it negatively reminded me of a Kinect game called Child of Eden, and that it could potentially become overly repetitive in a short space of time. After playing through it, I think I was proven right.
Graphics – 7.5/10
The best aspect about this game in my opinion is indeed its visuals. They’re very interestingly stylised, with quite a big range of settings and level designs, and really makes the game stand out in terms of visual presentation. One of the game’s most prominent features is its frequent use of symbolism, and a lot of the symbolism in the game is represented through many of its level designs. For example, there is a Ferris wheel in the second level, and many believe the Ferris wheel to be symbolic of many things, such as the circle of life, or the idea of going round in circles and getting nowhere in life. I did find a few glitches in the game too, but apart from that, Entwined is fairly well presented.
Gameplay – 1.5/10
Although the gameplay in Entwined has a vague Lylatwars feel to it, in that the game moves from linear to open-range at the end of each level, it’s nowhere near as immersing or enjoyable to play. There’s no incentive to be had, and it’s severely lacking in substance; as do most game sin the rhythm genre, in my opinion. But in hindsight, I suppose this kind of thing was to be expected. Out of all the games that have been released, and are to be released on a single console, there was always going to be a sizeable portion of inadequate games. Unfortunately, this is one of them.
Controls – 9.5/10
Like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, which I reviewed a while back, Entwined relies on the player using both analogue sticks to control two different characters in order to overcome each obstacle and progress through the game. But even though there are no problems with the control scheme itself, it wasn’t as well implemented by the developers of Entwined, and it makes the game feel a lot more straightforward than what it could have been, and a lot less interesting, the way I see it.
Lifespan – 0.5/10
I believe players who are experienced with the rhythm game genre would be able to complete Entwined in roughly 40 minutes, which is unacceptable. It took me an hour or so, but I saw no point to playing through it again. But to me, it begs the question of how long games like this in general can be made to last. If developed right, they can last at least a little while longer than Entwined, but not much longer; Guitar Hero for instance. But to make them last as long as possible, there also needs to be substance in gameplay, and as I stated, I found little of that in Entwined.
Storyline – 3/10
Positive things I can attribute to the storyline is that it’s different from the conventional means of telling stories; there is fairly decent use of symbolism in some aspects which are open to interpretation. But apart from that, I didn’t find the story to be particularly engrossing or even meaningful. For me, the positive aspects I listed weren’t elaborated on enough to keep me interested, and personally, I think the developers would have better off if they only used the characters of the game and their situation as merely a basic premise, and not tried to put so much false emphasis on a story that hardly seemed to be present.
Originality – 3.5/10
Entwined is both unique in visual style and basic premise, but more importantly, there isn’t enough focus on making gameplay as unique or as exciting as any great game has attached to it. It’s all very well and good including decent artistic direction, but it counts for nothing if developers are going to put it in a video game and tailor it to not be enjoyable to play. Gamers might as well be watching a film.
To summarize, Entwined is one of the first particularly poor games I’ve played on the PlayStation 4 so far. Although I’ve been both excited and impressed with a lot of the indie games that have found their way onto the system over the last eight months, I was less than impressed with Entwined after I played it.