Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet… The name says it all really. The game is set on an Alien world where you (an Alien, believe it or not) see an evil magical corruption thing plunge into your world’s star. The star becomes a corrupted monstrosity in the sky and shoots out spores of evil twistedness. One of these spores smashes into the surface of your world. Quickly the planet itself becomes corrupted and, as the name suggests, twisted and shadowy and insane. You are quickly set into a little flying saucer to investigate and stop this evil corruption before it is too late (although you aren’t ever really told that in so many words).
The game is a side-scroller but that doesn’t mean pixelated Mario figures jumping about a 2-D world. Oooh no. In fact one of the first things you notice about the game is just how fantastic it looks. The feeling of the game is kind of similar to another arcade game called Limbo in that it feels evil and twisted and shadowy (I need a larger vocabulary it would seem). The graphics are absolutely fantastic, from the evil, flying, explosive, spore thingys to the spaceship and the tools you use. The backdrops for the various levels are also pretty stunning, full of malevolent goings-on. In one place you might see tentacles swaying evily in the background, in another gigantic drills bore flaming holes deeper into the surface of the planet. The artwork and design of the game is pretty stunning and so, on the whole, the game just is a wonder to look at.
As well as looking great the gameplay is pretty flawless as well. Control of the spaceship using an analog stick and control of your tool/weapon with the other works great and is completely smooth. The graphics of the spaceship are also well done and the tools and weapons you find at various stages in the game all have distinct and individual looks and uses. Not one of them feels like they were added simply for the sake of variety.
My praise for the game doesn’t stop there either. The gameplay itself is great fun and completely varied throughout the various levels of the game. The puzzles can vary from genuine brainteasers to more simple “Ooooh I need to find this object now”. The combat is pretty cool and varies from difficult to “Hahaha watch those little suckers explode!” Plus the variety of weapons allows for a pretty varied choice in how to kill them. The bosses in the game are quite simply bastards to kill, but that is (in my book) a plus. Nobody really wants easy bosses. Plus the bosses aren’t so ridiculously difficult that you feel it necessary to give up in disgust and irritation, but they ARE just difficult enough that when you do win it comes with a fantastic sense of achievement.
Working through the levels was always pretty interesting as there were never any instructions, tutorials or anything. You simply have to work out for yourself that certain objects do certain things and that this tool is to be used on that bad-guy. It actually isn’t a bad thing at all as the game is simple enough that any gamer (even the most amateur) should be able to pick it really, very quickly.
The levels themselves all have a distinctive feel and atmosphere, although the prevailing atmosphere of twisted and insane always shine through. Once again I would like to say that it always looks pretty fantastic, it may be that I’m repeating myself over and over here, but it’s certainly worth repeating.
The game also has a pretty cool multiplayer. I haven’t looked into it as much as the singleplayer but having played it a little I have decided that playing it a lot more would be really cool and completing it would be a challenge truly worthy of our skills. *Cough* Yes… Anyway, it really seemed pretty tough but, again, it seems more fun challenging rather than explode-out-of-sheer-frustration challenging. It also seems like it would be a perfect way to kill a few afternoons when I used to try to figure out what multiplayer would be good to play now.
Really, raving about the game isn’t that hard as there is so much that’s good about it. And that can really be seen in the various other articles done by various other reviewers. The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the final level, the electrical level. Not because it was badly done, or difficult, but simply because it was too dark. But frankly that was the whole point of the level and the scare factor of seeing giant-ass flying shadows coming at you definitely increases when you can’t actually see them if they go more than a foot away.
So basically, a fantastic game, well worth the money you can spend on it. It has a cool multiplayer, a great singleplayer and it looks fantastic. What are you waiting for, get on Xbox Live and buy the damn thing!