Entwined for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita
Entwined is a game which threatens at times to become profound but doesn’t ever get there. In some ways, this feels like a parody of the ‘art game’ genre. These kind of games don’t necessarily rely on fun as an engagement tool, but they must provoke some kind of reaction. Entwined gave me very little to react to.
In Entwined you play as an orange fish and a blue bird as you make your way through nine levels. Each level begins with each creature being given a side of the screen, orange fish on the left and blue bird on the right. You control each creature with an analogue stick and must maneuver the creatures through gates with their colour. This starts out simple but gets quite tricky as everything speeds up and the gates begin to shift and move as you get closer. When you have done this enough to fill up a gauge, the bird and fish fuse and become a dragon creature, where you enter a more open area where you can fly freely and collect coloured orbs. You must then draw a line of rainbow and enter a portal to end the level.
Neither side of the gameplay in Entwined works particularly well. The first part of each level is too fiddly and challenging to end up feeling profound, but the arcade-y style gameplay simply isn’t fun. Getting through these parts was a complete chore. The open dragon areas were more promising, but far too limited, filled with invisible walls. The flying controls themselves are stiff, weighty and unsatisfying, utterly failing to give the feeling of liberation we are clearly led towards.
It’s a shame, because Entwined can be visually stunning. The opening parts of the level aren’t especially interesting, but the environments you fly around are simply gorgeous. With a decent control scheme these sections really could have been something. The music is good, but often doesn’t fit the rhythm of what you’re doing, making some of the trickier parts unnecessarily difficult.
Entwined is nothing special and you’ll find much better ‘art game’ experiences out there. It’s both shallow and boring and not worth your time.