Browsing through Xbox Live’s Indie titles has made me realise two things: there are a staggering number of vibration “games”, and people sure love to put those zombies in their titles. We’re rapidly reaching the point of saturation, where developers need to give gamers something more to entice a purchase out of them.
So what makes Twin Blades, a side scrolling brawler/shooter that is also available for iPhone, any different from all the other zombie tinged offerings out there?
First, the game’s visuals are lovely. Everything brims with a rich anime vibe; it’s clear a lot of time has been spent on the game’s art direction. The main character, simply called “the nun”, is lovingly drawn, with her attire and body nicely animated as she moves. The nun’s scythe, your melee weapon, also has some nice effects as it is swung around.
The rest of the game’s visuals also match up to the nun. Backgrounds look great, from what looks like a quiet French market down to the creepy graveyard. It’s all pleasing to the eye.
Undoubtedly, the stars of the show are Twin Blade’s zombies. There’s quite a lot of variation in them too, with my personal favourites being the kitchen pot-wearing zombie and the heavily bandaged mummy. Some did remind me of Plants vs. Zombies a little too much though, but with the undead, there’s only so much you can do before retreading old ground I suppose.
The aim of the game is to get through the days of the undead that the game throws at you. After getting through a day, which involves its own day/night cycle, you can then upgrade your powers. Upgrades range from the essential air slash (get it ASAP, trust me) to new guns and extra health. The guns all have some very nice graphical effects, but once the “holy beam” is unlocked, you won’t want anything else. It’s just so damn pleasing to use.
There’s an array of squishy sound effects for when the nun dismembers her enemies; these are accompanied by a blood spray onto the screen. In the later, more hectic levels, this spray, coupled with foreground scenery, can make the screen really busy. The soundtrack has a punchy hip hop beat and suits the anime style nicely. It does get repetitive after a long session though. Perhaps another track thrown in to mix it up would have helped.
Repetition isn’t just limited to the music. Sadly, with such limited melee attacks, Twin Blades’ gameplay does become a bit stale; extended sessions can turn into a chore to play. What’s desperately needed is some more combos to add to the unlockable air slash – with a few more added, the depth of gameplay would increase dramatically. Some variation in enemy types, like faster zombies, would also help fight off the déjà vu feeling that sets in after a while.
Press Start Studio has promised to keep the game updated with downloadable content, the first of which appears to be a boss zombie. With this commitment from the developers, and an updated iPad version of the game too, the experience should only get better as new enemies, and hopefully combos, are added to all versions of the game.
At this point however, the game is just too repetitive to hit the high notes it so richly deserves. Sales figures show the game is the number one XBL Indie title in Japan, France, and Spain, so it’s obvious that there’s something here that just needs to be expanded upon. But until these solid foundations are built, it may be best to hold off on taking the plunge.
Gamer Limit gives Twin Blades: 6.5/10