Entwined (PS4) Review
Kalvin Martinez / Jun 25th, 2014 No Comments
Entwined, the first game from developer PixelOpus, is an arcade rhythm game. The aesthetic quality and presentation of Entwined falls in line with a number of other smaller PlayStation Network titles published by Sony in the past. It channels the spirit and feel of indie games like Journey and Flower, except it plays in a more straight forward manner. Despite the airy and quaint presentation, gameplay is arcadey and more objective oriented. While it may not achieve the highs of the games its drawing inspiration from, Entwined is an engrossing game that delivers a cohesive blend between gameplay, music and visuals.
A Bird and a Fish
In Entwined, an impossible distance separates two star-crossed lovers from ever being together. A bird and a fish cannot truly love each other because of the divide between them. But what if in a final moment at the end of their lives, they could be? Is the pain of unrequited love worth it?
Bird and fish live through nine lifetimes together doomed to be apart. They move through life able to see one another, briefly touching when bird kisses the ocean and fish breaches the sky, but are never truly together. But for a moment at the end of each lifetime, bird and fish have an abrupt memory where they are able to fly as one and paint the sky. They emerge on the other side as a glorious dragon.
Let’s Stay Together
The story is tied closely with Entwined’s gameplay. Each level functions as one lifetime. Players control both the bird and the fish simultaneously, using the left analog stick to control fish and the right stick to control bird. Each lifetime feature a unique theme that affects the look the level.
Both fish and bird have a meter that must be filled by successfully guiding the characters through obstacles and collecting orbs along the way. Once the meter fills, bird and fish can activate their dragon form, which allows players to successfully navigate obstacles and bring bird and fish together as one.
Levels vary in difficulty and complexity, ranging from simple single obstacles to long, winding sets of obstacles thrown at players in quick succession. As players progress through lifetimes, the challenge amps up in a satisfying incline, allowing players to utilize mechanics learned in prior levels. After the fourth level, obstacles start to become longer, more difficult chains.
Sometimes obstacles rotate as players make their way toward them, requiring players to react quickly. The toughest obstacles are subtle winding chains that force bird and fish to go in opposite directions without breaking the chain. Much like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, gameplay necessitates training yourself to think in multiple instances at once. However, Entwined’s controls are a bit more intuitive. The key to success is rolling the analog sticks along the curves to keep Bird and Fish toward the edge of the screen. This allows for easy maneuvering.
All the elements in Entwined flow into one another: the story works with gameplay and both are tied deeply to the game’s presentation. Music is an important aspect of Entwined. Every time players guide their characters through an obstacle, a note is triggered. Notes are layered on top of a fantastic score, creating a satisfying interplay between gameplay and the music underscoring each level. This becomes most visceral when bird and fish take the form of a dragon. Music picks up and notes have more punch. The music crescendos as players burst through the other side. It makes watching these two lovers become one a cathartic experience.
Underscoring everything in the game is a colorful, evocative art style. The environments that make up each lifetime are split between an abstract, geometric rhythm portion and a serene, lush landscape portion that activates when characters enter dragon form. There is an extreme fluidity when controlling bird and fish during the abstract portions. Navigating them through obstacles and orbs while sumptuous colors and shapes fly and the music plays feels like an excerpt from Fantasia.
Entwined creates great interplay between story, gameplay, visuals and music. The subtle story is augmented by fun gameplay, which in turn works well with effective music and gorgeous art. Entwined is a good first outing for PixelOpus. It is a brief experience, but it leaves a lasting impact on players.
tags: Entwined , entwined review , PixelOpus , review , San Mateo Studios , sony