Version Reviewed: 1.01
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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It is becoming all too common of a trend for puzzle games to only exist in two dimensions. In an age where pushing the envelope usually consists of adding a third dimension, this has been notably absent in most puzzlers. Thankfully Twisty Planets is here to tilt the player’s perception on the genre and melt brains in the process.
Right out of the gate it is apparent that Twisty Planets is not in the business of telling any sort of a narrative, short of its basic collect-a-thon mechanics. Players control what can only be described as a glorified television, complete with antenna and feet, on a mission to collect every star in a stage. Depending upon several different factors, including time taken and number of deaths, each stage’s performance is evaluated using up to three stars. Just be sure not to confuse the stars being collected with the ratings stars. Each is its own separate beast.
Sounds simple enough, right? Then the main mechanic twist is introduced: a third dimension. On a 3D plain, the player must not only move their weird television/alien/thing around, but also rotate the planet in order to allow for movement around the other corners of the planet. At first the sheer concept of spinning around a surface to determine which plain is considered the floor is a bit brain combusting, but after a little trial and error the rotational mechanics become far more clear and approachable.
However, that won’t ease the player’s confusion when trying to navigate their poor smiley avatar. Using forward/backward arrows on one side of the screen and left/right arrows on the other side would be fairly straightforward if it weren’t for the fact that the perspective of the camera is constantly in flux. The angle of the camera is in-turn used to determine the relative movement directions that the arrows dictate. If that description seems a smidgen unclear, imagine the same confusing experience when actually trying to play the game. The results are mixed at best.
As an idea, the shifting camera plains of Twisty Planets are fantastically innovative. Unfortunately the execution leaves a bit to be desired. Hopefully the controls can be tweaked down the road via an update, but as it exists in its current state players should be ready to face countless unintended tumbles into the vast nothingness of space.