Title: Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure
Release Date: March 24, 2020
Reviewed On: PS4
If you’ve played one brick-breaker, you’ve played them all, right? Well, that’s not technically true if you’re playing the Lillymo Games-developed break-breaker adventure Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure. Across various modes and even a lengthy narrative, this is one experience that is only held back by its lack of options.
Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure surprisingly has a story mode, which runs as an intermission between stages. The story finds Colin Moriarty and Chris Ray Gun on a mission to recover the signal of a lost ship, which was sent out to discover a new plant for America to colonize. The narrative ends up becoming a bit more complicated as all the pieces aren’t adding up.
I found myself enjoying the story for what it was and felt that it broke up the brick-breaking portions of the game nicely. Each dialogue scene meant a milestone, and I was genuinely interested in where the story would lead. Given that Moriarty wrote the dialogue, there are a few catchphrases and nods to his various podcasts and projects.
However, the story scenes bring up an issue as pressing X will automatically skip to the next text box instead of revealing all the text. This made me miss some of the dialogue as the auto-scrolling text was just a bit too slow for me. Also, most of the story takes place in the same setting, which gets a bit repetitive. I would have liked to see some of the objects the two referred to every-once-in-a-while.
Still, this is a brick-breaker and not wholly a story-based game. The actual gameplay will have players control two or more paddles on the screen at one time using both analog sticks. This is tough to get used to at first, but over time it does get more comfortable; that is until the game adds more paddles and completely rocks your world.
The levels vary to not appear to repetitive, and the add boss encounters were excellent ways to keep that variation going across the levels. Each level contains hazards and a few solid blocks that make navigating them a bit more challenging. Typical pain points of brick-breakers can be found here as there will always be that final block that you just can’t break. This isn’t a huge issue, but there’s also a timer that rings game over when it exhausts.
The difficulty increases, but it’s never unmanageable. Even if you continually die in a level, the game offers unlimited lives for the price of 100 points. This makes the first time through more like a trial run before you play a second time like a champ and top all the high scores.
To assist or hinder your paddles are additional items found during levels. These items come in the form of heavy or multiple balls and even alter the length of the paddle itself. However, some enemies can appear and slow your paddle down while taking away some of your hard-earned points.
You’re expected to touch these items while attempting to control both paddles, which becomes a challenge on its own. There’s just a lot going on on the screen sometimes, but this is just the type of unique experience that I wanted from a brick-breaker in the year 2020.
Still, Twin Breaker lacks variety as each Colin and Chris are practically the same paddle and have nothing that distinguishes them during a level. They also each have the same special, which launches a paddle outward. This does make the story and the gameplay portions feel like totally different entities, which was upsetting, given that I would have enjoyed more of a connection between the two.
There are additional modes outside of the story mode, but most of these are just trials where you can see how long you survive. They aren’t too exciting, but they’re there to get a high score. Twin Breaker could use a proper settings menu where you can change the volume or adjust other aspects.
Graphics in Twin Breaker are fairly minimalistic, but they fit the theme. You aren’t going to get blown away, but it wasn’t like something was missing. The sound design is actually really good with a few stand out tracks that will get stuck in your head for some time after playing.
Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure sets itself apart from other brick-breakers by not only having a narrative but also by including some unique systems. The multiple paddles add some new elements to the genre to put brick-breaker masters’ skills to the test. Regardless of the challenge, the game has a nice difficulty curve that makes it possible to pick up and enjoy a few levels at a time.
Still, Twin Breaker lacks options and some quality-of-life features that could have made the entire experience more enjoyable. There are a few different modes here to keep you playing, but I can see most players just getting through the story and then quickly moving on to something else.
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