Protect Your Necs
What could be better than playing a fun video game? A logical answer would be playing two fun video games at the same time. Of course, this typically comes with its fair share of problems as well. First off you’d need two televisions, two consoles, and two games to play. Worst of all, playing games like this almost always leaves one of your controllers smelling like feet.
Finally, there is a better solution and it comes in the form of the DSiWare title Chronos Twins. While a graphically revamped version of this title called Chronos Twins DX became available as a ten dollar WiiWare title a week ago, DSi owners are getting a straight port of the DS original that was previously only released in Europe. Best of all; since it lacks the fancy redone visuals of its Wii counterpart, this game will only set you back five dollars on the DSi.
Chronos Twins starts off with a creature named Twime crash landing on the peaceful planet of Skyla. The planet’s inhabitants welcomed the newcomer with open arms, but Twime had more sinister intentions. As this seemingly invincible creature began to destroy the planet, the few remaining survivors quickly took to the stars in hopes that they could devise a way to kill Twime and retake their planet. After creating a time machine, Nash was sent back to the past in order to attack the creature. While this mission ultimately met with disaster, the survivors came to the realization that Twime was nearly invincible because he somehow existed in two time periods simultaneously. After some modifications were made to their time machine, Nec, Nash’s brother, would also be able to exist in two different times simultaneously. With this, he now had the chance to destroy Twime, save his planet, and avenge his brother’s death.
While we’ve all heard the planet’s savior, avenging a loved one’s death storyline before, it’s the time traveling part that adds a neat dimension to the narrative and the gameplay itself. Chronos Twins is a game that will put your ability for quick reasoning and sharp reflexes to a pretty rugged test. That is because in this title you’ll constantly be responsible for what is happening on both the top and bottom screen of the DS at the same time. Furthermore, you’ll actually need to work out many things using both screens in order to make it through.
Since Nec is teleported into every level using the time machine, he will exist in both the past and present simultaneously. The top DS screen handles the present while the bottom one displays Nec’s action in the past. Both Necs will move, jump, and slide at the same time, making it very important to keep track of your surroundings on both screens. Still, as long as one of the two is on solid ground, the other will occupy the same space on the other screen. This allows you to make jumps and traverse levels that would otherwise be impossible by using platforms and paths that link together between the two times. For example, you may not be able to reach a platform on the present screen until you push a rock into position on the past screen. However, after doing this your past self can jump onto this rock, allowing your present self to hover as though there was a rock there for him as well, and then jump up to the platform that exists only in the present.
This may all sound pretty confusing but it all makes perfect sense within the context of the game. You’ll start out with some very basic puzzles as the game eases you into the idea of how both of your Necs must work together in order to survive. As you continue the game will progressively make the challenges you face more and more difficult, as well as adding new abilities that present an entirely new layer on top of the original gameplay. One such ability found in the game allows the player to freeze time on one of the screens and continue playing with the other character, which has a ton of different uses.
By holding down the L button and pressing either up or down on the D-pad, you will be able to freeze one Nec and then are free to continue controlling the other. This ability will allow you to access places that would otherwise be unreachable due to blockages present in the other Nec’s time, solve puzzles that require precise timing or quick maneuvering, and is even necessary for taking out some of the enemies you’ll face throughout the game.
As an example, in one level the present Nec is being chased by a shielded enemy. Once the enemy steps into the correct position in the present, you’ll need to take singular control over the past Nec and fire at an overhead plant, thereby dropping a bomb on the enemy in the present and breaking his shield. Holding the L button and pressing in the opposite direction will re-synch both time periods, teleporting whichever Nec you were controlling back to the original position where you first split time.
Of course, it’s not all puzzles and time manipulation in Chronos Twins, there’s actually quite a bit of fast-paced platforming and combat to be found as well. Throughout the course of the game, you’ll run into several segments that require you to basically keep one eye on both screens and hope for the best. One of the more notable instances of this included essentially running a gauntlet full of dropping spiked weights while also trying to avoid shots coming from both in front of and behind Nec, with enemies constantly spawning in and out of existence in your way as well. The dangers are different on both screens, so while your past Nec might be in the clear, present Nec might be sliding right into an enemy, spiked weight, or shot. It can all be extremely difficult to keep up with at times, but this is also most of the reason that it feels so unique and interesting.
If you’re looking for a game that is fun to play but doesn’t really provide a challenge, I’d definitely suggest staying away from Chronos Twins. This game presents you with plenty of head-scratching puzzles, will inevitably make you feel crazy when trying to keep up with what is happening on both screens, and may even make you angry occasionally. However, making it through the particularly challenging parts of the game feels incredibly rewarding in its own right, and it helps to make Chronos Twins a very fun and memorable experience. If you don’t mind a challenge and perhaps a little frustration, this title is truly a unique five dollar downloadable gem.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.9 Graphics
The 2D environments and enemies look good, using a decent variety of colors and animations to keep things visually interesting. 4.2 Control
While it may be difficult to keep track of everything that is going on, you’ll never feel as though the controls were the reason you took damage or died. 3.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sound effects and music are quite good and fit the game well. 4.2
Chronos Twins is a fairly lengthy experience, and one that feels incredibly unique, challenging, and ultimately satisfying.
4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.