Format: PC (browser/flash)
Twin Shot is a cutesy little game. It's an arcade style 2D platform shooter. It has your typical arcade premise similar to that of Bubble Bobble, where your objective is to kill all the enemies on the level, after which you move on to the next level. It's simple and keeps a relatively fast pace.
Platforming is the is basic run and jump around ordeal. It's smooth and fluid, with just enough momentum to make it feel natural and tight and not floaty or stiff. However, there are three main mechanics that affect the platforming. One is the types of blocks, another is the screen boundaries, and the final one has to do with the shooting mechanics itself.
There are many different block types that make up the levels that can all act differently. There are the blocks you can't go through, the block that break when you stand on them, the blocks with springs, the block with spikes, and so on. The main blocks can be stood upon as well as jumped through from the bottom. This affects where you can and cannot go greatly, as you'll be able to get into other areas before others if you take advantage of it.
Being able to go through the bottoms of certain blocks works well with the other mechanic of platforming, which is the screen boundaries. When something reaches one side of the screen and keeps going, they'll end up on the other side of the screen. Similar to how Pac-Man does it. Being able to do things like immediately go from the top to the bottom of the screen or shooting from one side onto the other makes for some clever level design.
The final thing about the platforming is the shooting itself. You shoot sideways, and despite there being no real arch, it does fall as it goes, providing a sort of limited range senario. Once it hits the ground it slides uselessly. Until it hits the ground, however, it can hurt enemies and more importantly to platorming stick into the wall to be used as platforms. There are many levels where you have to climb up walls using a makeshift ladder out of arrows. It can be annoying to time it with the set jump hight and slight delay with shooting, but once you get it down it's not too frustrating.
Enemies come in all shapes, sizes, and behaviors. Some are invincible until they expose their weakness, others are fast. Some fly, and others just take multiple hits. Getting yourself horizontal to them and close enough to shoot them can be difficult coupled with the fact they can hurt you. You only have three hearts, with each hit from an enemy dealing one heart's worth of damage. Once all three hearts are gone, you have to restart from the beginning of the level. So dying isn't a huge setback, but there is still a decent challenge to be had from all the running around and shooting.
Level design is decently crafty, albeit a little small. The small size of the levels isn't a problem though, as the fast paced action would probably be bogged down otherwise. It introduces new enemies and mechanics just often enough for levels not to become too stale. It'll combine all the different mechanics and enemies in different ways, usually in a symmetrical or gimmicky fashion. It's not bad to have one level with this gimmick to it, and another with another gimmick to it. Mixes things up.
Despite this the levels do all kind of feel unmemorable. They tend to feel the same. Sure there are some I remember, but looking back there aren't many I can recall specifically. The enemies and characters and even backgrounds are easier to recall than any stages in particular. They all have the same theme to them and that's what makes them all feel the same, but something makes them feel the same. It's not too bad, as the faster pace of the game can have you not spend too long on a level anyway.
The most memorable thing about this game is it's aesthetics. The visuals are the standard Nitrome look: pixelated but detailed enough where it doesn't feel at all retro. It looks unique. All of the enemy and character designs are cool and cute. The background and even foreground look pretty. This is probably due to the wise choice in color pallet, using a lot of colors that don't pop out too much. The animations are smooth and well done. Even the little touches like the clouds floating behind the level but in front of the background is a nice level of detail that makes this game look all the better.
The music is just as awesome too. The title theme is a cue little piece doing it's job well to immerse you into the game's atmosphere and vibe. The level theme is adventurous and exciting. It is decently long and repeats well anyways, so it works out well. It's a standard OST for a game of this size.
Well for a basic arcade game Twin Shot is a decent play. It also has a little competitive two player mode, so if you have a friend who also is interested in playing the game, get them to play it with you! Another fun local multiplayer experience in another fun arcade style platform shooter.
Play Twin Shot HERE