Twin Sector is a first person puzzle solving game developed by DnS Development that definitely takes its cues from Portal. I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but this low-budget imitation from production value to game play is far from flattering.
Twin Sector is set during the event of some kind of apocalypse. Select humans from the surface are being ushered to subterranean cryogenic centers to literally “sleep away the apocalypse” to be awoken at a later date which just raises more questions such as “Who’s fixing things when they break? “ Well, ironically enough that’s where you come in. You play as the former triathlon Olympian and hero of “Red rock gorge” who happened to save several dozens of people as mentioned in the opening video.Ashley is awoken from her cryogenic sleep to fix a generator, opposed to someone more qualified like an engineer or technician. This is the setup, and along the way you find out some “entity” is out to kill you, and everyone in this contrived complex filled with random laser grids, locked doors, along with some shoddy level design. The intro video was a harbinger of bad news. The animations were stiff, and everyone moved about in a very un-natural fashion. Of course, playing games in an age where motion capture is the norm, I presume this budget title had to rely solely on animators. And I suppose this practice would have worked ten plus years ago, it just looks tacky in modern titles.
Ashley moves like she's made of wood. Not befitting of a pro athlete.
I tried to not let this bother me at first thinking that it’s just a video not the game it’s self, but I hate to inform you that the game play its self is as bad as the opening animation, if not worse. The game play, much like the plot is simple. Ashley wears a red glove on her left hand; which allows you to pull objects towards her and on her right hand a blue glove that allows her to push objects forward on their respective mouse buttons. You can also use the gloves to push yourself forward to get access to hard to reach ledges, and use the right click to break your fall from high altitudes and reminds me a lot of the gravity gun from Half Life 2. You can also rotate objects via the scroll wheel on your mouse, but when you’re trying to rotate something (especially with storage containers) It takes up literally 70% of the screen and makes it difficult to achieve what you want to do, especially when you need to angle the boxes just right to break a gate open or hit a button on a ceiling.
Katamari Twin Sector-ree!
The puzzles seem to have multiple solutions as where one could push a series of buttons to raise platforms, a well placed kinetic jump with your red glove will be a faster, simpler solution. There are more damn laser grids in this game than a fine art museum. These lasers of course, don’t set off alarms, but are of the deadly variety. Get in the path of these lasers and expect to be cut to ribbons. Is it just me, or is it pretty stupid to put in death lasers in an installation where the objective is to preserve human life? Anyhow, the puzzles for the most part are really simple, so simple in fact the ominous A.I., OSCAR, seems to know where to find random key cards and spare fuses to get you to the next elevator which defeats the purpose of exploration. Eventually the game gets very repetitive having, you break down doors with explosive propane containers, disabling lasers and launching yourself from platform to platform. As you progress in the game there are some drones and other obstacles that get in your way, but they become more of a nuisance trying to push a seeker drone away from you as you attempt to climb up an elevator shaft. One would have thought that maybe Ashley’s athletic finesse would have played a role, but nope, just the gloves and your wit. The swimming controls are so broken, it’s almost impossible to descend and ascend; you would think a triathlon winner would know a thing or two about swimming. The most aggravating problem is falling from ledges. If you fall too far, like in most FPS games, you die. But what looks like an ok distance to fall without taking damage, you take damage. So every time I hopped down from a ledge I would have to use the blue glove to break my fall. Speaking of taking damage, your only indicator is Ashley grunting and a little red lines around the perimeter of the screen. The more red lines in your periphery, is how badly damaged you are. You don’t need to find health packs or anything like that to heal, like most games these days; you just “walk it off” for a couple of seconds and you’re all better.
Expect to see these two screens. A lot.
Production value is about on par with the game play, if not worse. I already talked about the shoddy animation, so let me go into everything else that's terrible. The sounds are atrocious and are recycled a lot. When Ashley is walking about the complex, the footsteps are loud, echo like mad and after awhile I was getting a headache. The voice compliments the shoddy sound engineering as well, the voice actors couldn’t sound less enthusiastic. They’re monotone at best and what makes it even better they actually read, verbatim the poorly translated script. The game’s native language is German and has to be the worst translating job since Zero Wing. Such examples are “To lit a bottle, hold the bottle up to a flame.” and “So this is where the water is piling up?” are almost meme worthy. Graphically speaking the game is lacking much of anything out of the ordinary meaning the environments are dull and forgettable. I suppose this part should go into the game play section, but the ways objects react to their environments are off considerably. Objects don’t fall like you would presume they would fall. For example, a lot of the times a barrel falls back down to the earth like a feather most of the time and a giant storage box bounces around a room like a super ball on crack. There might be some music here and there, but to be honest it’s pretty quiet most of the time and any music that is there is instantly forgettable, much like the story. In fact, the story is so thin you’ll even forget why you’re doing a specific task.
I may as well wrap this up, as I think I’ve covered just about everything, folks.