The PlayStation Talents initiative has fostered some intriguing titles over the last few years – such as Ion Driver, Clid the Snail, Jade’s Ascension and Windfolk: Sky Is Just The Beginning – but much like any given list of video games it’s hardly immune from being a little hit or miss. Twogether: Project Indigos (Chapter 1), a short 3D puzzler and the first from developer Flaming Llama Games, unfortunately belongs to the latter, with its exciting ideas lacking in execution and depth.
Using the tried and tested concept of gifted youths working together to escape an underground facility (think X-Men), Twogether starts off by providing a decent – if not wholly unoriginal – backstory, but unfortunately, its narrow gameplay and repetitive set pieces are not quite grand enough to justify it.
In escaping a facility of captive children exploited by an evil corporation, you’d expect to be working around guards, saving kids or maybe even going a little bit berserk, ala Wolverine (also from the X-Men), but there’s not a single soul in sight for our remarkably relaxed teenagers to contend with, which sucks all tension out of the story and makes it seem like a couple of underage drinkers have broken into the place, not a couple of tortured children fleeing it.
Without the need to develop any AI though, the developer should have had freedom to implement a number of creative solutions to its puzzles, to allow the game’s key selling point – the character’s functionality – to thrive, but the game itself is so short that making the puzzles progressively more difficult with each area is made redundant by its brevity, ultimately failing to develop anything that any self-respecting puzzle-loving gamer wouldn’t take more than a few minutes to solve.
Even the title – Chapter 1 – should set off alarms for any discerning customer, especially given that it’s the indie developer’s first title. Presumably the developer reached the point in Twogether‘s development where finite resources necessitated prioritizing its release over the improvement of the product, leading to its short runtime and lack of overall quality, but even so, there are some interesting gameplay mechanics – and some nice concept art on their website – that shows the potential of what might have been.
This potential takes shape in the form of the two protagonists’ powers which allow you to reach otherwise inaccessible areas by moving climbable blocks – through telekinesis – and teleporting via a Rubik’s cube. With the controls allowing you to switch seamlessly between the two characters it should open up countless possibilities for its puzzle gameplay, but surprisingly, the exact opposite occurs with the small and restrictive environments providing a grand total of two types of barrier to the characters’ freedom – closed doors and radiation-spewing lights (that cause a respawn if you walk in their path). Rather than facilitating new layers of gameplay this only compounds its lack of variety, giving the player very little room to enjoy themselves.
In fact, I only managed to find a single puzzle that provided any decent challenge, and by the time you’ve reached said puzzle you’re at the end of your stunted journey, leaving you wanting, and wondering if it could have been possible to have wielded these powers more flexible or varied manner.
Also, while Twogether is hardly the only game guilty of this, as you play the game you are bombarded with meaningless trophies that are greater in number than new areas, which ruins any sense of the game’s potential as you are always fully aware of how much longer you have left. An inconsistent framerate and a diverse selection of bugs that require restarts further frustrates, but actually does less to demotivate the player than its content, and instead acts more like a minor hiccup in comparison. Also, the less said about the Goat Simulator-esque jumping animation the better.
Twogether is an oversimplified and rough 3D puzzler whose shortcomings may only be lessened if you consider it a game for kids, but even with a very clean and shiny Dreamworks/Pixar 3D design and discourse that peaks at the threat of stealing a teddy bear, I’m not sure it does enough to even grab their attention. The potential of this short and easy puzzler may forever be consigned to a ‘Chapter 2’ then, with its current iteration only recommended for the budget-conscious and puzzle-starved.