By Eric Pankoke on Wed, 07/24/2013
I don’t get a chance to play nearly as many G5 new releases as I’d like to, but when I do get the chance, I usually manage to pick the more interesting ones. Twin Moons HD (Free download; $6.99 IAP for full game) is no exception to that rule. Once I started playing the game, I played Twin Moons almost exclusively until I had completed it. I haven’t been quite that enthralled in an adventure game in a while.
The game has a pretty typical adventure game intro in the sense that you find yourself driving in a car and ultimately crashing in front of your desired destination. In this case, however, you’re not quite sure what you’re doing there, which is where the story comes in. Aside from the fact that the story is interesting, I like the fact that it is mostly told via scene-triggered flashbacks and other things I won’t mention so as not to spoil the premise.
My main point is that they didn’t use the whole “find a bunch of notes” method that many of these games employ, although there were a few of those to be located. I also appreciated the ability to pick one of two routes to go at the very end, and they don’t even force you to replay the whole game to check out the alternate ending. I just wish the endings had been a bit more fleshed out. Overall, though, the story was nicely detailed and revealed at an acceptable pace.
The game itself is a traditional adventure game in that it is a combination of single object-based puzzles and others where you have to collect multiple objects in order to complete a task. Some inventory interaction would have been nice, but I guess that’s handled behind the scenes when you drag multiple items to an object in the game scene. The other thing this game has no shortage of is mini-games. I have no problem with mini-games as a whole, but I think the developers went a little overboard in this case. Thankfully, you can skip them if you want, but then you don’t get the satisfaction of fully completing the game on your own, and you also might lose out on some achievements. My advice to the developers: it’s okay to have a lock that doesn’t require a mini-game in order to open it!
For the adventure game portion, everything was basically tap based, though you could actually drag items onto the scene from your inventory to use them if you wanted. I have to say, the interface seemed a bit flaky, especially when you go to select items from your inventory and they almost immediately became unselected. In the mini-games, there also was a lot of tapping as well as some dragging, and there were a couple of mini-games that were very difficult to maneuver. Thankfully it wasn’t enough of a problem to dampen the experience, but it was a shame to see an otherwise nicely polished game feel clunky when it came to the interface. One thing I did really appreciate was that you have a map that you can instantly jump to any location that you have already visited, and it even shows you witch ones have open tasks you need to complete. There are several achievements for those that enjoy such a thing in adventure games, but this is not an extended addition so there are no extras to be found.
The graphics are on par with releases like Nightmares from the Deep and Abyss, which means the backgrounds are beautiful and nicely detailed, and it’s generally very easy to tell what everything is. Occasionally an object might blend into the background, but that’s a rarity. The characters are actually rendered fairly well, though the animation feels a bit stiff and they seem to jerk back to a still position when talking, much like the animatronics at Chuck E Cheese. The sound effects are good, and the voice acting is very well done. I thought it was kind of odd that when Jack was involved in cut scene dialogs that you didn’t hear his voice, though. The music adds greatly to the ambiance, as sometimes it fades into the background so you don’t notice it, and then suddenly it spikes to provide a moment of tension.
iOS adventure gamers won’t want to miss this one. The interface and some of the animation is a bit rough and there were a few too many mini-games for my taste, but otherwise this was a highly enjoyable, nicely polished game. The length was good, the story was evenly paced, and the audio and visual elements were up to snuff with the best G5 has to offer. It would be nice to see them tidy up the minor foibles to make this an even better game, but quite honestly I really hope they are working on the sequel instead.
Overall Score: 8/10