E3 2014 was unbelievable. Watching the developer press conferences, I was wholly impressed with the sheer dedication to gamers and the barrage of games announced. However, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed, as I will not be able to play the majority of those games for a long while. That is precisely why EA announced the Battlefield: Hardline beta could be played right after the show, why Destiny released their Alpha that night, AND why Sony announced Entwined, available right then and there.
Entwined is very much an indie game, developed by bright students from Carnegie Melon University, with the help of Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). SCE scouts the globe looking for aspiring young game designers with original ideas, and then they bring those designers in as interns, eventually hiring them full time and publishing their games. This is how Entwined started.
The game begins with a quote; four simple words. These four words combine to form a powerful message: “Always together, forever apart.” These words represent the start of our journey into a game with an incredible story. In Entwined, players assume the roles of two characters simultaneously through use of both analog sticks – an orange fish and a blue bird. These are two creatures very much in love, but cannot unite as lovers. In the game, players have to guide these two creatures through portals, all while filling a meter to its max. Upon completion, the two creatures combine, forming a majestic green dragon. This is repeated nine times, in nine different chapters.
The artistic direction of Entwined is spot-on. It is rare that a game’s art can invoke such emotion in me, but Entwined did just that. I found myself saying, “Wow, that’s beautiful” many times. Entwined’s score is just as perfect. Through each chapter, the combination of relaxing music and breathtaking art allowed my mind to wander to its deepest crevices. Entwined is able to tell a dynamic story through imagery and sound alone.
However, Entwined is one of the more frustrating games I have ever played. While its controls are utterly simplistic, they get in the way much too often. Players must guide the creatures through barriers, but miss a barrier, and the meter goes down. Once both meters are filled, players are required to hold L1 and R1 and go through the barriers concurrently. Making one mistake at this point has the potential to bring you back to square one, and it’s very easy to make a mistake.
Overall, in the two hours it took me to complete Entwined, I was taken on an emotional roller coaster through brilliant music and fantastic art. This game has the potential to be an amazing gaming experience, and is, but it’s super frustrating gameplay controls and mechanics take away from that. It has so much potential, but doesn’t quite get the equation right. Regardless, I cannot wait for more from these developers, and I sincerely hope that feedback like mine will be taken into account in the development of their next game.