Twin Sector PC
Published by: Headup Games
Developed by: DnS Development
When playing a game that's reminiscent of something else you've played, it's difficult not to make comparisons. Having played, and like most people been impressed by, Valve's Portal, it's hard not to feel that Twin Sector is attempting to provide us with a similar experience with its physics based puzzles. However, it doesn't have anywhere near the same level of polish as Portal and it suffers from being a rather bland and forgettable experience.
In Twin Sector you'll play as Ashley Simms, a young woman who at the start of the game is about to be put to cryo-sleep. With the Earth seemingly fast becoming uninhabitable and a number of its residents being "stored" in a state of cryo-sleep for some time in the future, the powers that be have decided that all these people will need someone to help them should the future not be as bright as one could have hoped for. Ashley is widely seen as a heroine, after previously saving many lives, and the ideal person to help in a future problem.
Fast forward to the future and a major problem occurs. The main generator supporting those in cryo-sleep fails and the only person who the support AI, called O.S.C.A.R., can wake is Ashley and she has exactly ten hours to get it working again otherwise everyone else will die. Aside from the verbal assistance that O.S.C.A.R. offers, Ashley has a pair of telekinetic gloves which she can use to either pull things toward or repel things from her with great force.
The use of these telekinetic powers are essentially what this game is based around. Holding down the left mouse button will charge the pull power whilst holding down the right mouse button will charge up the repelling power. The pull power can be used to pick up items (in a similar fashion to the gravity gun in Half Life 2) but you can also use it to pull yourself up to higher ledges or platforms which you would otherwise have no chance of reaching. With anything that you've picked up, you can then repel it on to some distant switch that you'll need to activate in order to progress. The repel power has another function however. When falling from a great height that would normally kill Ashley, you can use the repel power on the ground to cushion her fall and thus it's perfectly possible to fall from a great height and survive. These two powers are put to good use throughout the game and used in a variety of interesting ways. The more difficult puzzles will certainly have you making the most of both of them.
The real problem with Twin Sector is that puzzles aside, the game is incredibly dull. There has been no real effort made to make the storyline interesting and there's no sense of humour here to allow you to overlook the flat dialogue. The general look of the game and the level design is also rather on the dull side and it's not long before all of the various levels you'll pass through begin to look alike which will do nothing to pique your interest. There are enemies to deal with too and in truth they do get in the way of puzzle solving at times which is unfortunate. Occasionally the physics can feel a little off and inconsistent and this adds to the frustration factor that creeps in from time to time.
Twin Sector is subtitled and you'll be able to follow all of the dialogue in the game. The speaker's name is placed alongside the dialogue so you'll be aware of who is saying what. If there's a problem with the dialogue it's that there are a few occasions where the colour of the background makes the text rather difficult to read. Thankfully these occurrences are rare so it's not that much of a problem. All tutorial messages are shown in text so getting to grips with the game isn't a problem. You'll always be aware of what needs to be done.
Twin Sector isn't a bad game but it's certainly far from being anything special. The physics based game-play is certainly interesting for a while but it's not enough to keep you coming back for more and it's difficult to recommend over Valve's Portal, especially when this is only a pound more expensive at the time of writing, as that game manages to be better in virtually every respect. The storyline could have been better, the dialogue more involving and the game-play more varied. The game could have also looked better too although at the asking price of £12.95 that's not really much of an issue but it would have been welcome had the level design offered greater variety. If physics based game-play is your thing, Twin Sector may have some appeal for you but it's certainly worth playing the demo before making a purchase.