|a game by
|8/10, based on 1 review
|8.7/10 - 3 votes
|Rate this game:
|Action Adventure Games, Quest Games, Interactive Movie Games, Games Like Heavy Rain
A narrative driven game that focuses more on storytelling than gameplay is always a challenge, but Twin Mirror finds a good balance of the two to create an authentic, meaningful experience. With clear inspirations from games such as Heavy Rain, the various episodic adventures of the Telltale Series, or Life is Strange—Twin Mirror seeks to find its own style among an, admittedly, very selective genre with a very selective fanbase.
The story follows Sam returning home to his West Virginia hometown Basswood where, waking up bloody in a hotel room, he is thrust into a murder mystery with a rather abnormal twist. Without getting too much into the weeds of the story or choices in the dialogue, the town Sam returns to is alive with rich characters that all seem to embody well-realized, often starkly familiar, backgrounds.
Additionally, Sam himself, as a character, is often engaging with his mental images come alive in the Mind Palace segments—but, conversely, rather basic with his observations of environmental detail that don’t offer much relevancy. The writing too is only held back at times by a lack of realistic facial expressions—something that can be a very important detail of immersion in these narrative-driven games. It’s not always, and never quite the worse end of Mass Effect: Andromeda—but it can still, at times, take you out of the experience.
Puzzles with a Purpose
Beyond dialogue and an exciting whodunit story, the majority of the game is in the discovery of evidence and puzzles made to understand the deeper themes of real-world events. These puzzles can vary from simple to head-scratching, but most don’t take much time in the scheme of a rather short runtime. However, one of the more interesting things the story does with puzzles comes in the form of the Mind Palace. In these moments, Sam, with his diminishing mental state, really comes in to this own as a character—and combative with his other half. Additionally, the aesthetic of these varied, abstract moments with sometimes antagonistic conversations brings to mind the Animus of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations where Desmond must face his demons with Subject 16.
Finding a Voice
The hardest thing to come to terms with in Twin Mirror is the length. The story does a good job of getting the audience hooked and keeping them engaged, but doesn’t offer ample time to get to know and flush out the rest of the ensemble beyond Sam. In a lot of ways, perhaps because of the mental instability of the protagonist, I felt at the end similar to how I felt with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice—where I just wanted a bit more.
A few added side quests or ventures, an expansion pack, could help to uncover more than just the direct storyline of the game, and fill out some of the blanks that are left by the time the credits roll.
Twin Mirror is an extremely ambitious game from a smaller development team. The story they were able to conjure was engaging, meaningful, well voice acted, and touched on some important themes for the current times. However held back by some graphical hiccups or lack of polish, it was overall an outstanding narrative adventure that’s biggest fault was not offering enough time to explore the exciting world it created.
- Fully realized story with exciting premise
- Wonderful side characters and environment
- Exciting puzzles in the Mind Palace
- Diminishing mental state of protagonist
- Too short a run time
- Some weaker facial animations
- Lack of quest variety to enhance gameplay