Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: June 9th, 2014
Available on: Playstation 4
During Sony’s E3 press conference they announced a new indie game called Entwined. Even more surprising, they announced that it would be available to buy right now. An interesting move, but sadly also the most interesting part about the game.
Entwined features a bird and a fish that are in love, but can never be together. A good start, but that’s also as far as it gets. There’s no real story here, just that a bird and a fish are in love and can never be together. Surprise: They get together. Sony’s console seems to become the home for art house indie games like Journey and The Unfinished Swan, but they also had deep stories and worlds behind them. Entwined just kind of has that one sentence and never does anything with it. It’s a real shame, since I feel like a lot could be made of that premise. It just goes nowhere at all.
Gameplay in Entwined is broken into two parts. The first has the fish and bird, still separated, moving down a tunnel. Here you control each one with a joystick and you have to move them through little safe areas as they advance down the tunnel. When you advance through these areas you’ll get orbs to drop, and picking up those fills meters at the top of the screen. Both the fish and bird have their own meters and when you fill both of them up you can advance them closer and closer to each other to start the second part of the game. This is really the better of the two modes, and the one that feels the most like a game. Having to twist and turn the two characters to get into the safe zones and grab the orbs is fun and also really easy to get into.
The second part of the game has the two characters combine and turn into a dragon. Here the game opens up some and it becomes your job to collect orbs to fill up your sky writing meter. Ultimately this part falls flat thanks to some absolutely horrendous controls and camera work. You have to use both joysticks again, but the dragon controls so poorly no matter what. It’s a good thing that there’s no kind of enemies or fail condition of any kind, since you’ll be battling the camera that never wants to look where you need it to. After you collect enough orbs you’ll be able to “sky write”, which simply lets you make an image in the sky. Upon completing the sky writing you open the portal that goes to the next level.
The story mode is 9 levels, or “lifetimes”, long and took me about an hour and a half to finish. Once that is done you also have a challenge mode that just involves getting points by having the bird and fish survive their trip down the tunnel without running into anything. It’s not a lot of content, and that’s another problem with Entwined. If you enjoyed the basic gameplay you’ll probably at least find enough to keep you around for maybe another hour while you hunt trophies. That also is probably all you’re going to get out of it.
In the end my feelings for Entwined can basically be summed up that it’s beautiful but ultimately shallow. Some extremely simplistic gameplay and some extremely awkward gameplay all wrapped up in an ultimately empty message. I want to like Entwined, but there just isn’t enough to it.