Are you sad that there is a severe lack of video games coming out this summer? Are you looking for something fun to pick up and play for a few hours? Then make sure you check out Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet or ITSP for short is the third game coming out in the Summer of Arcade program on Xbox Live, ITSP is a 2d side scroller that has 2-4 player co-op with fun game mechanics developed by FuelCell and an features an AMAZING art style by Gagne Int’l
All We Need
Art Style. ITSP has one of the most unique art styles I’ve seen in any game much less an XBLA game. I know most of us have the mindset that XBLA games are just rinky dink games that nobody cares about, but ITSP proves them all wrong. This game has focused so much on visuals that it will probably taint the idea that arcade games can’t look pretty. Michael Gagne has really outdone himself this time.
Fun Gameplay. This game has a very similar gameplay style to those MetroidVania (Metroid and Castlevania) games. Let’s explain that one a little more, you will frequently visit the same areas with a brand new weapon that allows you to access parts of the level you couldn’t before. I enjoy this style of game because it really gives the upgrades and new weapons you receive feel important, and they really are.
Interesting Weapons. ITSP has a slew of interesting weapons and tools that completely change the way you play the game, and like I mentioned earlier these new tools and weapons allow you to access areas that were completely inaccessible. Need to pick up some rocks? Bust out the claw tool and you’re moving rocks like you did with your Tonka trucks in the backyard. Got a bunch of rocks packed loosely together and can’t seem to get a grip on them? Select the spinning blade tool and dig through it. Numerous tools and weapons are available to be found in the game so I’ll let you figure out what the others do.
Puzzles and Bosses. Much like Portal 2, ITSP has a bunch of puzzles and when you finally figure out what you need to do you feel smart. The boss fights are no different, finally killing the water boss after dying twenty times was gratifying, but the enjoyment comes from figuring out how to finally kill him.
Things We Need
More. The current playthrough time for me was around 5 hours and I feel that’s a pretty good length, none of the mechanics are over used, and you don’t have to continually perform the same maneuvers and fight the same enemies over and over, they give you just enough of each area and each mechanic so it doesn’t get stale and you move on. But I would love to have more places to go or more unique enemies to fight, but if they implement DLC it might be fine.
Better tool/weapon selection. You choose your tools and weapons via LB or RB and that brings up a selection wheel and you move the right stick to choose the thing you want you can then bind the X,A,or B button to a tool or weapon, but in many situations you need more than the three tools you’ve bound and trying to change them on the fly is extremely difficult, during many fights you will need to switch your loadout but doing this almost always results in death. Maybe if a toggle could be added in that allows you to switch between two sets of 3 tools/weapons you would'nt die so much.
More Replayability. Don’t get me wrong ITSP was a very fun game to play through, but with such a limited campaign and co-op modes I really can’t see myself playing this game again at least until some DLC comes out.
We Don't Need
Feeling completely abandoned. The very first scene of this game is very reminiscent of Limbo where you have to just start moving, usually we get a cue to “use the left stick to move” but those never come up, you are just given your little scanner tool and have to figure out the controls as you go. Without limited direction you are expected to find your way to a random spot on the map gathering the tools you need to get to the area which takes a lot of just searching around.
Lack of Direction. One of the main reasons this game annoyed me is that the only way to figure puzzles out was to scan items with the scanner tool and try to figure out what the little picture is trying to get you to do. A lot of the time it works, but quite a few times I sat there scratching my head going “What are they trying to make me do?” Specifically the Drill monster, the only thing it tells you is that the swarm monsters will hurt you, not that you need to pull off a physical feature of the drill monster.
Lack of Dialogue. There is something weird about not hearing any dialogue. I was hoping to hear something from a narrator explaining the situations or what’s going on but it never came. Some might argue that it’s the point to make you feel disconnected, but to me it was just frustrating.
Need or Not?
Semi Need. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a game that is very well done, but It just does not have what it takes to get me to continue playing, it definitely falls into the play it once and never touch it again category, though with the likelihood of DLC it may warrant some more play later on