I was excited for Entwined when I saw it for the first time at Sony’s press conference, which I later learned is already available on PSN for $9.99. Entwined looks like the best of Sony’s quirkier properties, like Flower, while mixing the challenging aspects of Rez. The result is a concept I could truly get behind if it weren’t for the game’s flawed controls.
While Entwined doesn’t feature a narrative, it is a love story at heart. Players take on the role of two creatures: a bird and a fish. The two creatures are in love, even though the two creatures are opposites. It is up to the player to guide both creatures to each other, so that they may become entwined once again.
While I described the two characters as a bird and the fish, they look like something from another dimension. Each creature takes on either a shade of red or blue, and they look like color-coded polygon models of a video game in progress. The world they inhabit also looks like a bizarre dimension that humans were never meant to comprehend. Within what looks like space, primary colors permeate the darkness, creating an area that looks like a mixture of Rez and Flower. It’s a beautiful game, although it suffers from screen-tearing. This wouldn’t be an issue for a preview if it weren’t for the fact that players can already buy this.
As I mentioned earlier, the two creatures need to become entwined, and players need to control them both at the same time in order to do this. Each creature occupies one-half of a screen. This means meaning they can’t cross over to the other side as separate entities. The creatures come across petal-like objects that share the same colors as them. This means that the red bird needs to fly through red petals, and the blue fish needs to fly through blue petals. Each creature has its own meter, and when they’re both filled up, the players can press and hold L1 and R1 to fuse into a majestic dragon, truly becoming entwined.
I was caught off guard by how challenging Entwined is; however, there are aspects of the challenge that works, while the remaining needs to be polished. Players control each creature with a corresponding analogue stick, and you’ll often need to move them both at the same time. These creatures need to fly through color coded petal-like objects. Each creature has a separate meter that fills up as they collect color-coded petals. The meters will decrease as you miss the petals, and you’ll miss often because it is difficult adjust your brain to the mechanics—similar to someone’s experience with Square Enix’s The World Ends With You. This would be a fun and interesting challenge, except it is marred by terrible controls. Each creature is fidgety and sensitive to the analogue stick. There’s almost no way to just slightly move a creature, and this often lead to missed petals, prolonging the entwining far longer than expected.
At first, I thought the control scheme was deliberate because of what happens when the creatures become entwined. Once you do manage to become entwined—believe me, it may take a while—the creatures transform into a dragon. They are then transported into a beautiful, open-world where they can fly around freely. Oddly enough, the controls were much at this point, even though there were no challenges beyond flying to the exit. Perhaps the two creatures are so lost by themselves, and they rely on each other to make it through life’s challenges. Or perhaps Sony needs to polish the controls.
Finally, I think the game needs a bit more variety. Petals tend to appear in half circles; occasionally stray color-coded orbs will be available. Even the differences between the two levels I demonstrated seemed remarkably similar, and I hope that the final version introduces a variety of challenges and level-design.
Despite that the game is already out, I must stress that this is a preview of Entwined. While I try to see the positives in every preview, I cannot recommend Entwined based on the version I played. There’s a great foundation and a beautiful presentation, but the controls are awful, and the demo showed little hint at variety.