- Time mechanic used quite well
- Solid platforming
- Great soundtrack
- Presentation a bit bare bones
- Game’s not very long
Chronos Twins DX was originally released in 2007 for the Nintendo DS after being developed originally for the Game Boy Advance. It was released in Europe only and never made it across the pond to America. Luckily developer EnjoyUp decided the game deserved an American release and with the advent of WiiWare we now have the chance to play the game.
There have not been many DS games ported to WiiWare, and that could be for any number of reasons. Chronos Twins took full advantage of the DS hardware by using both screens to display the game world. EnjoyUp got around this by splitting the television into two parts. The top half of the screen displays the world in the present day. The bottom half of the screen shows you the past. You’re character, through the magic of technology is able to be in both places at the same time and you’re in control of both times simultaneously. The controls for the game are also surprisingly simple. You have one button that controls your weapon in the present, one that controls your weapon in the past and a jump button that works in both times. You also have a number of control schemes available to you; the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, classic controller (my preferred method) and the GameCube controller. There are even a few customization options available for those controls so chances are good you’ll find something that’s comfortable.
The story is the weakest part of the game and it comes in the form of a storyboard section at the beginning of the game. The main character, Nec’s, home planet of Skyla has been invaded by a being known as Twime, who can exist in both the past and the present at the same time. Initially it is Nec’s brother who Nash who is chosen to save the planet, but he dies very early in the game and Nec takes the opportunity to save the planet and avenge his fallen brother. The presentation is classic handheld gaming and that hasn’t been updated for a console release and it’s very obvious reading some of the opening story that English is not the developer’s primary language.
Initially it may seem hard to pay attention to both halves of the screen at the same time, but it will very quickly become second nature. The action is not so intense that it becomes difficult or confusing. EnjoyUp seems to have struck the perfect balance of action, platforming and puzzling between the two time periods. Once you get a feel for exactly what’s going on you’ll have no problem splitting your attention and that will be key to successfully navigating the game’s five areas. At one point you’ll be given an item that you can use to freeze time in one period while only controlling yourself on one half of the screen. This is where the game’s puzzles come into play and they’ve designed some very unique and interesting puzzles that will have you switching focus from one time period to the other to move blocks to create platforms or destroy a weapon that’s blocking your path and then resuming time in both areas.
There is a bit of a learning curve to the game as it takes a little bit of time to wrap your head around using both parts of the screen to advance and you may find yourself paying too much attention to one half and not realizing you’ve run into a wall or an enemy snuck up on you and has caused some damage. Once you wrap your head around that concept though, it becomes almost second nature and you’ll find you’re just constantly moving your eyes back and forth between the time periods. The boss fights in the game are my favorite aspect of this lost gem of gaming’s past. They take great advantage of the time aspect where the enemy will occupy the present or the past, but there are elements in the other time that make your fight just a bit easier and sometimes necessary for success. Platforms in the past make great fire bases and escape routes for enemy projectiles in the present.
Presentation is bare bones. Chronos Twins began life as a GBA game that was moved to the DS and now to Wii and it’s just been incrementally updated. The visuals take some use of 3D to add depth to the world, but all the game play takes place on a 2D plane. The visuals are slightly upped version of the DS sprites that look good on the TV and don’t detract from the experience in any way. Menus use a cursor that you control with the analog stick and it seems that it would have made sense to update that to use the Wii’s pointer. There’s no pause button for the game either, which is a curious omission only mitigated by the fact that the Wii Remote has the home button that can be used to stop the action. There’s also no indicator of when the game saves, but after some trial and error I found that it saved at every checkpoint, which come fairly often, so you won’t have to replay much should you decide to take a break. One of the strong points of the game is the soundtrack that really adds to the feel of the game and if it were made available I’d download in an instant. It’s very strong in every respect.
Chronos Twins DX is a great action platformer that has a unique twist that it takes full advantage of. The puzzles are just challenging enough to be interesting. The platforming is super solid and uses both aspects of time to great effect. The boss fights are great. Despite a few hitches with the presentation and the fact that it’s not very long it’s a worthy addition to your WiiWare library. There are multiple difficulties and bonus levels that add some length to the game once you’ve finished the main story. Some people may say that 1,000 points is a bit much, but considering the game is a full DS retail release it’s quite a bargain for what you’re getting. You might be looking for this game to make some favorite lists at the end of the year. Don’t pass this game up. You won’t be disappointed.
Final Score: 4/5 Above Average
Review copy of the game provided by EnjoyUp.