Folks, I have been a bad PSVG team member. I’ve been procrastinating on this review for quite some time. I cannot do that any longer for it is not fair to you, the reader. Forgive me of my sins and I will tell you a tale of a game, a game for the Wii U. That game my friends is Twisted Fusion and this is how our story unfolds…
A Kickstarter success back in 2014, Twisted Fusion is the first console effort by Lewis Pugh. After a few delays along the way, this game launched as a Wii U exclusive in November of 2016. I applaud the effort and ambition of the dev to make his dream a reality. Let us dig into what this game has to offer.
Twisted Fusion tells the story of our young heroine Cora, who after an innocent meetup with friends is suddenly transported into a new realm of reality. A world of adventure, monsters, and treasure to hunt out. A world called Evan. Armed only with her trusty squirt gun, guide Cora on her journey to recover the Sun Stones and hopefully make it back home in one piece.
The story is simple enough and is just the right amount of backdrop necessary to justify the player experience. It makes sense for what is taking place on screen and really that’s all you need sometimes in games.
The game can mostly be described as a 2D side-scrolling, platforming, Metroidvania-esque. The player as freedom to travel the world in any way they please, however certain areas are only accessible once the proper upgrade/unlockable has been acquired. Combat involves smashing the attack button until the enemy succumbs to your water gun and collect the spoils of battle. These coins are then used to upgrade your skills/abilities or to unlock additional playable characters. Cora can gain increased damage, faster movement, and even a jet pack. Some of the standard upgrades you would expect in a game of this type.
The ability to play co-op with multiple teammates is a welcome addition but I unfortunately had no way to try this feature out. Players share health and can work together to progress. Your focus will be to clear the various towers located throughout the map, defeat the boss, and collect the necessary Sun Stone. Unfortunately the lack of a map makes traversing these towers a very tedious task, especially if you are not able to complete said challenge within one play session. Good luck remembering which door leads wear when random area A looks just like random area B and so forth. I’m all for exploration and challenging the player, but a map would really do wonders.
In my opinion, Twisted Fusion has a lot of flaws. Cora feels very “floaty” to control when jumping. I would have liked some more weight to her movement, especially for precise dodging of enemies and environmental challenges. Combat is very repetitive and there are no on screen tells of damage being done to enemies except for a very dull sound effect. The enemy variety feels lacking and respawn placement is random and frustrating. I often found that once taking damage I would be “stuck” on the enemy and didn’t realize I was constantly losing health again as there is no animation to support this. In many ways Twisted Fusion feels like a port of a mobile game and that is really a shame if you are expecting a fuller console experience.
There is some great integration on the gamepad for menus, upgrades, and off screen play. One issue though, be careful when you decide to access this menu as the gameplay does not stop and enemies could appear around you while you are not paying attention.
Music and Graphics
The pixel art may be simple, but I thought it fit the game quite well. The sprites look clean and it reminds me of an SNES adventure appealing to the nostalgia of many gamers around my age level. While I am not a huge anime fan, the character portraits do look great and fit the overall style the game has.
One issue I did notice is the resolution when playing on your television is zoomed just too far out making things difficult to see. The frame rate also chugs along and you’ll really notice it when running left to right. That said, the game seems to play and perform much better when playing on the gamepad only. Once again reinforcing my thoughts on this feeling like a mobile port.
The music was quite charming at first but you will unfortunately hear the same theme over and over and over and over…. There is noticeable silence and the score simply repeats. A few extra pieces for areas/sections would have totally changed things ups. Just the redundancy with the music alone was enough to really limit my gameplay sessions.
Twisted Fusion is a good idea in its concept but is just too limited in execution. Far too early on the game shows all of its cards and what is left just isn’t compelling enough to keep the player interested. I hope the developer can learn from this process and the world will see an improved version of this trip to Evan in the future. This is one road you need not take.