Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (or to save time, ITSP), sees the solar system of a friendly alien species overrun by evil. Their serene planets are turned into black, awful, mechanical wastelands, complete with dark creatures out to kill you. It is your job to get to the bottom of the problem, and hopefully put an end to the darkness. Is it a fun adventure? Read the rest of the review after the jump to find out!
The game has many different environments to traverse
You are the pilot of a small, single person ship, and using the many functions that the ship acquires throughout the quest, you must progress into the darkest depths of the planet. The controls are incredibly easy to get used to; the left stick controls the ship movement and the right stick controls the tool. The ability to assign a function to the four main buttons makes switching to the suitable tool easy and fast. One of the early puzzles sees you having to progress through a tunnel. The only problem is, huge gusts of wind force you out, time after time. The solution? Use your grabbing arm to latch onto the trees which line the cave walls. The wind blows you back but your trusty arm holds tight and you can slowly progress. It's a cute, clever little puzzle, and you can expect many more throughout the rest of the game.
The gameplay is similar to the 2D Metroid titles, or more recently, Shadow Complex. Like those games, there is a lot of backtracking and travelling to areas you have been to before, because as you unlock more tools for your ship, new pathways can be unlocked. Whether this is because of the doors unlocked by missiles or because of the rocks that need drilling through, you will often find that you can't get everywhere on the first pass. It's been done before by the previously mentioned games, and many others, but it is a great system of rewarding explorers and those who take their time with the game.
The graphics are seriously beautiful. Each screen looks like art
ITSP is a beautiful game. The graphics are simple but detailed. Black landscapes are broken up with colourful plants and enemies, giving a glimpse of how the planet used to be. The soundtrack is also incredible. The orchestral tracks give the game a certain quality that many games don't have, and prove that a lot of time, effort and love went into the development. In some ways it could be compared with Limbo. Black terrain, isolated character and long bouts of almost silence. The atmosphere is fantastically dark and lovely, and the somewhat comedic title of the game is slightly misleading.
Fans of the Metroid style of adventure will thoroughly enjoy it. The world is huge and complex, and the enemies are varied enough to keep you on your toes. With an amazing art style, beautiful soundtrack and deeply engrossing gameplay, this is a title that should not be missed. Don't let the title mislead you. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a mature, action adventure title which ticks all the right boxes.
by Louis Gardner