Publisher: Sony Worldwide Studios
Platforms: PS4 (version reviewed), PS3, PS Vita
Release Date: June 9, 2014 (PS4), July 2014 (PS3, PS Vita)
The PlayStation brand has a long history of rhythm games. From Parappa The Rapper to Amplitude to Flower, each iteration of the PlayStation console has had exclusive console music game experiences. Within this tradition, new Sony Studio, PixelOpus, has taken up the mantle with the beautiful sounding and looking game, Entwined.
Headed by director Dominic Robilliard, once at the helm of the Star Wars 1313 project, Entwined is a music rhythm game focused around two souls, a bird and a fish. The tagline of the game, “Always together, forever apart,” describes the disposition we find the two souls in the game. Using the analog sticks to control each, you lead both souls through various lifetimes together, 9 in total. The challenge in the game is fitting both bird and fish through the highlighted patterns in the game. It is rather surprising how challenging this can get.
The music in this game works similar to another PSN game titled Chime I would recommend. In this way, Entwined has a baseline of music running through each lifetime and as you chain together combos by completing patterns the music pipes in over the bassline and it creates a rather pleasing sonic experience.
When you finish a level, you reach an isolated incident in the lifetime of our protagonists as they join together as a dragon. Some take place in mountains, some take place in a carnival looking area, and all of it looks so beautiful. You collect gems as you fly around and once you collect them all together the dragon gains the ability to skywrite.
The dragon levels are where Entwined comes into a bit of a problem. Controlling the dragon to get sharp and accurate turns is rather difficult and I found in my play through that it was difficult to actually skywrite much of anything that wasn’t linear. Someone far more skilled with the control set may be able to get something better out of it, but the difficulty in doing so puts it upon the gamer to get very good with those controls and understanding them to see how it works.
Outside of the normal story mode, there is also a challenge mode wherein you play through various seasons and try to accumulate as many points as possible. The mode throws an array of patterns at you requiring a good deal of concentration and there are trophies awarded to keep you going, but there is little else to the mode outside of besting yourself and others.
Overall, this is a game worth playing. The music and the scenery is beautiful, however the mechanics of the dragon and few hiccups occasionally in the play of the rhythm aspect of the game may make you a bit frustrated. I found the game to provide a significant challenge, especially in later stages. The challenge mode itself continued in that way providing a bevy of varying patterns and circumstances. Entwined is not really deep, it’s rather simplistic, and it has a few flaws but I still found it quite enjoyable.