Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is notorious for two reasons. First and most obvious is absolutely glorious visual style by Michel Gagné; it’s dark, macabre, slightly frightening, but at the same time truly beautiful and not repulsing even by a tiny fraction despite all of the picturing of those tentacles and insect-like creatures. Second prominent feature is the protagonist. You see, despite all the variety of settings and worlds and stories a hero in metroidvania usually is a human, or at least some humanoid. But here you play as small flying saucer; so technically there’s still some humanoid inside. Obviously it impacts gameplay turning it into twin-stick shooter and omitting platforming with all it’s precision jumping and running. What it has instead is all different kinds of guns and devices that our UFO can use. Among them there are not only assorted lasers and blasters, but also a buzz-saw, a grappling claw, protective shield and so much more. So you fly around, shoot stuff and sometimes solve some puzzles. They’re neither challenging nor time consuming, but their presence is enough to transform what could be a blazing gun carnage into an exploration of beautiful yet twisted and insane world. Speaking of which, there may be not a lot of variety on the first sight, but there surely is distinct difference on what kind of thrill you can expect from different game zones. There’s soothing calm of ice zone disturbed only by pesky and ubiquitous enemies; there’s tension of mandatory underwater level; and then there’s those enigmatic factory and all those different yet very familiar regions of the Shadow Planet. It’s not just bland similarity, but rather a true sense of interconnectivity that is the result of this distinct visual style of minimalistic mix of black shadows and pure-color backgrounds. This world doesn’t look or feel artificial, it’s as natural as a background for digital entertainment can get. It’s complete and interconnected; it feels solid, ready to be explored by a curious traveler, who’s on a mission to restore it, rather than just tear it apart. And because of its small size and simple story the game forms an intimate bond with the player. It’s not a feeling of attachment but rather a sense of lasting mutual sympathy. If anything, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet in a short few hours that you need to finish it accomplishes the task of teaching you a handful of interesting tricks while giving just enough time and space to toy with them to your amusement. Facing new challenge most of the time you either will know the solution right out or will figure it out faster than frustration kicks in. And that is not something easy to do, when an average gamer has an attention span shorter than one of a goldfish. Not that the game is a cakewalk from start to finish; there are bosses, you see. And they have all their bossy stuff: attack patterns, heavy attacks and weak points, that you’ll have to figure out to exploit them. So you’ll maybe even fail a few times while dealing with them. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet makes you feel invested without caring to present itself believable or even needing that for that matter. It’s a fiction that works on sheer kinetics and aesthetics; it doesn’t tell a story, it makes you perform it. The game simply unfolds with elegance and simplicity of a pop-up book and gives you the keys to the entrance.
The game is just incredible. It has a poor story, but it doesnt matter, since the game focuses on visuals, which are incredible. You can hardly find any creature plant or anything twice. The Artist who made it is a ♥♥♥♥♥♥ genius God bless this man :D. Also the gameplay is challenging but not frustrating. Some puzzles are easier or harder what makes sure that you wont get stuck somewhere. Its a where calm game perfekt for chilling out, but it also contains some shooting stuff, so it fits every mood. Only thing that lacks is that nobody wants to play this online, and the COOP mode is awsome, too bad i have to play it alone :c
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a 2D side-scrolling action/adventure Metroidvania game with puzzle elements. Basically you fly around in a small flying saucer and solve small puzzles while fighting off enemies and gigantic bosses. As you travel through the shadow planet you will get new abilities that allow you to backtrack to previous areas to open new areas like any Metroidvania type game, though most of the collectibles you find by backtracking are concept art pieces and short movie clips.
The art style and music create a very nice atmosphere, and the controls are fairly smooth. Most of the special abilities you get are very creative and fun to use, my favorite being the buzzsaw. There's not a lot of tutorials or hints, but there's an objective marker and you get an info tool you can point at things to find out how to interact with them.
All-in-all it was a very good game in my opinion and it's only about 8 hours to play through the entire game and find all of the collectibles. I recommend picking it up sometime.
I've notice a lot of devs use "Metroidvania" or "Metroid" inspired game in their discription. When you manage to buy these games and play em, they feel nothing like what they advertise.
This game uses that term and actually live up to its claim. I grew up on the Metroid series, long time fan since.... Metroid 2: Return of Samus, way before the term "Metroidvania", was coined.
This game is heavily inspired by Metroid, yet you have the feel of exploring the environment by way of flying a spaceship. rather than running around in a spacesuit. you explore, find power ups, kill bosses and gain important power ups, the formula is there. if you are a Metroid fan, its heavily worth the play-through.
If you aren't familiar with the Metroid series, don't give up. the game starts out very slow, your ship is very basic and bland, but when you start getting these crucial power ups, you're experience will become more intense and enjoyable. This game is a recommended add to anyone's steam library.
A really fun game to pick up for a few bucks. At first it looks like it's going to be a mediocre shmup since you start with a pea shooter. However, it's actually more of a puzzle game than an action game. The early enemies are worth just breezing past. The game gets better as you add more and more tools. Some of the areas are quite clever in how they use their mechanics: shooting, bouncing laser beams, changing the screen orientation, picking up things, using a gravity beam, and cutting through rocks.
There are a few misses here though. The main one for me is the useless Metroidvania setup. The game will nicely mark the map in places where you need a specific tool to pass, but there's no way to fast travel there. So, if you actually follow up on the locked gates, you'll spend a lot of time backtracking only to get some pretty useless rewards: art/story unlocks and wimpy unneeded ship upgrades. Unless you're a completionist, don't worry too much about backtracking.
The story here is as simple as can be: Alien type B has invaded your Alien type A world. You need to destroy Alien type B to save Alien type A. There's no need for a more complex story in this kind of game, so I think that part of it was fine.
The graphics are nothing spectacular, but it does have a nice enough art style. It's generally pretty clear what everything is doing and the background and foreground don't mix together.
I've been playing a lot of indie titles for the last month, and seeing another shmup/puzzler didn't give me much faith, but I did enjoy the game in the four hours it took me to finish it.
This is a neutral recommendation. The gameplay is solid, metroidvania-style spaceship shoot'em up. The puzzles and fighting can get rather difficult at times, but never unfair. If you fail a few times you will recognise patterns and you'll eventually get it.
You end up getting about 10 different weapons to play with, but the ones you get near th end of the game end up being just utility/physics in a very few niche situations. It just seems to work that way with these type of shooters, and it doesn't really change gameplay dramatically enough for any refreshing changes. One thing I like to see in metroidvania games are mobility abilities and this game lacks them.
The game tries convey a story through very short cutscenes and gameplay and while it works at getting the story through, it didn't work well at making a compelling narrative. I would have preferred some dialog but I can see why they choose this style. It just didn't jive with me. Same goes for the art style. It works well for the game and is unique without being 16-bit pixel indie game graphics, but I would have preferred more colors than black in every scene, even though you are on a "shadow planet". Just personal preference, I guess.
14 people found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
5.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2015
Well-designed metroidvania game with a striking aesthetic and a some unique puzzles. Each area has a distinct feel, and all of the items obtained throughout the game are powerful and have a few different uses. Sound design is very well done, and adds to the feel of the game world immensely. The world is easy to navigate, although I feel there could have been a few more shortcuts to connect the various areas together. Backtracking is mostly optional, and is not tedious since there are doors to open with newfound abilities. Boss design is solid, and the last two bosses especially were a lot of fun. Enemy design is a bit less inspired, but is diverse enough to avoid getting stale.