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Chronos Twins DX - WiiWare Review

Game Info
Chronos Twins DX

WiiWare | EnjoyUp Games | 1 Player | Out Now | 1,000 Nintendo Points (NA) / 700 Nintendo Points (EU)
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote and Nunchuk; Classic Controller; GameCube Controller
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6th March 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

 Twins DX is a WiiWare remake of a GBA game that was released in EU years ago, but never really took off in North America. A 2D side-scroller with intriguing time travel mechanics, EnjoyUp Games hopes that they can appeal to an expanded audience with this WiiWare release. Good thing, too, because Chronos Twins DX is truly a strong contender on a platform that's a tad lacking in platformers.

    The game starts off with some cutscenes that depict a tense battle against an inter-dimensional creature. The cutscenes are nicely-rendered and the sepia tone used works well in conveying the flashback nature of the images. With the mysterious creature laying waste to much of the nearby surroundings, a brave fighter named Nash tries to take matters into his own hands to try and stop the beast. Unfortunately, his attacks are too powerful to handle, dooming him to failure. Throughout the rest of the game, you'll take on the role of Nec, Nash's younger brother, who will be able to virtually be in two timelines at once using an advanced time machine. 

    During gameplay, t
he screen is split up into two horizontal sections: one for the Present timeline (top) and one for the Past (bottom). Essentially, you control both of the on-screen characters at once which can take some time to get used to. On the top left, you have a bar representing the amount of lives your character has. On the opposing side, you have bars representing your energy meter, or, the number of times you can get hit before you lose a life. Each stage features a series of well-placed checkpoints which will allow you to return to the last marker you activated in the event that you lose a life. Extra life and energy power-ups can also be collected, and these are placed effectively, just like the in-game checkpoints.

    When using the standard control scheme, pressing the A Button will fire an energy shot from the character in the present, and the B Button will have the same effect in the past. Movement is done with the use of the Nunchuk's analog, and by holding the stick upwards or downwards, you can fire a shot in the air, or, lower towards the ground. Jumping is done with the press of the C Button which, admittedly, might seem odd at first but eventually it almost becomes automatic. By holding down and pressing the jump button, you can even perform a slide which will allow you to pass underneath tight crevasses. The game does accomodate multiple control schemes with the ability to have one of two configurations with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo, or even opting to use the Classic or Gamecube Controller. It's all about finding whichever feels right to you.

Being the 2D side-scrolling platformer that it is, 
Chronos Twins DX features some of the standard elements you'd expect from a traditional game of this genre. There are level-specific enemies that will try to hurt you, puzzles that you will need to solve, and bosses that you'll need to defeat. Because the main thrust of the game deals with time travel, the game takes on a more challenging atmosphere than you'd expect. Enemy sprites will sometimes appear in both timelines, and boss fights will almost always involve you traversing both timelines to come out victorious. You'll also encounter tricky puzzles and even booby traps that will either require some quick thinking or advanced planning, as the case may be. What helps, though, is the fact that the game will give you engaging visual and audio warnings that will alert you when danger is nearby.

    Luna, your assistant, will communicate with you as you're playing, alerting you to impending dangers and system improvements. From time to time, you'll head back to the base for weapon upgrades. For example, in the first World, you'll gain the ability to charge up your shot simply by holding the assigned 'Fire' button. These charged-up shots can be used to destroy bombs and cracked rocks that may block your path. In World 2, you'll unlock the handy Time Split ability which allows you to control either the Past or the Present timelines on their own. The usefulness of this technique will come into play once you reach puzzles in later stages. It all goes back to the game's big time travel gimmick, and it works really well. Had a time limit been imposed, this might have made the game more frustrating, so it's best that this wasn't included.

All the way through, you'll find yourself challenged, and there's always a high risk that you'll lose all your lives and get to the Game Over screen. In later stages especially, players will have to use quick reflexes to dodge attacks, study trap patterns, and more. The game's bosses don't let exactly take it easy on you either. When you're controlling two characters at once, it's very easy for you to lose your focus and succumb to an enemy attack. Some may appreciate the level of difficulty if they've been used to playing games of an easier nature, but others, simply, will not. You're bound to experience periods of frustration on more than one occasion, not knowing how to get by a puzzle, or struggling to make it to the end of a stage without dying. Despite its fair share of frustrations, the game's high level of challenge gives players motivation to press forward.

    One of the strongest points about Chronos Twins DX is its impressive presentation. Backgrounds never convey a "plain" feeling and all of the environments and stages are used effectively to add some luster to the package. The developers obviously took the plotline into consideration and used it effectively to create a game that feels unified. Even just looking at the contrast of the environments in the two timelines, sometimes remnants of the past will appear in the present and/or the design of an area may differ notably from what it originally used to look like. It gives evidence to the player that a war has been waging over the years and it keeps the storyline in the back of your mind. The same case is true in the sound department. Typically, songs convey a feeling of an aftermath or that of dangerous territory. With one or two exceptions, the music suits the game well without being too dreary or dull. 

Looking at the package as a whole, there are more than 15 stages in the game all of varying lengths. If you know what you're doing, the game can be beaten in as few as 2 or 3 hours but it's bound to take you longer on your first try when you consider the amount of times you'll likely get stuck. The game's History Mode contains three difficulty settings (with different endings), allowing you to tailor gameplay to your liking. An unlockable Scenario Mode also exists which allows you to play individual stages to your hearts content, and you can even strive towards completing a level with as many lives as possible. While this is a nice touch, the game could've benefited from a stronger appeal towards speed runs in the form of a Time Trial mode. Otherwise, the game has a decent length to it and thankfully, there is some replay value to be had as well. 

    Overall, EnjoyUp Games did a great job with this WiiWare release. Beyond the nice visuals and sound, Chronos Twins DX is a challenging game that will definitely bode well with fans of traditional platformers, and perhaps even fans of games like Gunstar Heroes. The high level of difficulty may alienate some players but to be honest, it's a refreshing change in a generation of games that, at times, have been tailored too much to the casual audience. With a $10 price tag (in North America), Chronos Twins DX does not disappoint, providing a thoroughly challenging gameplay experience for platformer enthusiasts.

25/30 - Very Good

Gameplay 8/10 - Controls may seem a little odd at first, time travel mechanic used really well, full of great platforming elements
Presentation 9/10 - Strong visuals that impress, tense audio tracks in conjunction with the 3D backgrounds tell a story in both timelines
Enjoyment 4/5 - Great concept with a high level of difficulty, periods of frustration, expect to get stuck many times
Extra Content 4/5 - Multiple difficulty settings to challenge yourself with, unlockable scenario mode, could've benefited from more speed run appeal

Equivalent to a score of 83% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Chronos Twins DX
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Review by KnucklesSonic8

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