Twin Sector will seem immediately familiar to anybody that plays it. Ashley, the player character, has two powers, one blue and one orange, that she must use to traverse levels seemingly designed for no purpose other than to kill her. And the force pushing you from room to room and task to task? A sentient AI. Everything takes place in first-person, and physics puzzles are the game’s selling point. If you didn’t know better you’d think I was describing Portal. Unfortunately, Twin Sector does its best to replicate Valve’s hit game and comes up short in every regard.
The story is forgettable and serves as nothing more than an excuse to run level after level of physics puzzles. This wouldn’t be too bad if the puzzles were interesting, but OSCAR kills any sense of accomplishment by telegraphing the solution to puzzles while describing them. This turns what should be a cerebral experience into a precision one. I feel much better about completing a challenge when the point is figuring out the solution and not figuring out exactly how to implement the solution. Loose control and jumpy physics don’t help matters any. If you ever need to stack boxes on one another be prepared to try and retry what should be an exceedingly simple task.
Instead of creating a matches pair of portals, Ashley wears a matched set of glove. One attracts object while the other repulses them. This makes travel a breeze as you can just charge up the attract glove, aim at a glove, and be zipped across the room. You will spend a fair amount of time grabbing barrels and then throwing them at buttons across a chasm or grabbing crates and throwing them at turrets. Well, that’s what you’re supposed to do anyway, but aiming is made difficult by the size of the crates and how much they block your view. The crates are near-indestructible though so they make good shields so all you really need to do is grab a crate, walk in the general direction of a turret, and wait until you hear it fall over to win.
What is truly aggravating about the whole experience is that there is a good idea underneath the sub-par gameplay and lackluster presentation. The puzzles need to be more about thought that execution. OSCAR, the AI, could have been an interesting character, but the voice acting leaves him feeling flat, uninspired, and boring. I understand that OSCAR is a computer, but SHODAN, Cortana, and GLaDOS have shown us that AI doesn’t have to mean boring. Twin Sector is the culmination of many good but poorly implemented ideas. I can’t recommend it to you, but I am eagerly awaiting the sequel because it could be great with the kinks worked out.
Pros: Interesting ideas
Cons: Doesn’t live up to its obvious inspiration (Portal)
Plays Like: Portal