Guided by love nothing can keep you apart
Video Games are definitely an evolving medium that are constantly continuing to prove themselves as more then just meaningless entertainment, in recent memory we have seen countless games like The Last of Us and Bioshock connect with us on an emotional level that has truly connected us to the core experience and made us feel for the plights of the world and its characters. This is just the great length story telling has gone to and it has just continued to improve, this in turn I equate to the indie games, these games have taken us out of the big adventures that major developers like Ubisoft and EA have taken us on and instead place us in a smaller world with a story to tell and something they want us to feel. I am not saying that all indie games do this but a fair portion have been able to captivate our minds and share an idea that makes us look at the work of fiction in an entirely new light as I found to be the case with Entwined.
Entwined is a game with a story to tell but unlike many other games there is no actual story telling mechanics instead the developers have crafted a fine tale using visuals and gameplay to connect the player to the events of the game. The story is quite interesting and features ideas that I think look at life and could potentially be translated in a good portion of different ways, the story is one of great beauty and essentially forbidden love but I would never go so far as to call this one a love story it is simply one of a journey. As it goes the game takes you on the road of several lifetimes as a fish and a bird, two souls who love each other so strongly but because of their worlds are destined to be apart, this is their journey to find happiness and be able to be together even with life’s little obstacles and as such this is their journey and you are simply their guide.
As previously stated however the game does not give any story telling cues and how you connect with the story is strictly up to how emotionally invested you are willing to get with the going on’s that appear in the game. Are you prepared to set aside your own mind and thoughts and simply interpret what the game is trying to show because that is basically what this is and as you leap through each lifetime (level) it is your job to connect and be open to the ideas presented.
Unable to be together these two beings must go through what I can only describe as trails that set them up in such a way that they can merge and forever become one being, this is all done through the gameplay which is both clever and highly annoying. To put it simply your fish and bird and soaring down the road of life in a series of visually stunning tunnels that all different in every lifetime, and you must control them on the goal to reach maximum synchronicity which is done by controlling both creatures at once. Each creature is controlled using a single analogue stick each that is used to direct them down the path to go through a series of checkpoints in a certain way, down each path you come across circles which each house a coloured objective which to complete the level you must fly your creature through perfectly. Sometimes these verge on simply lining your fish or bird up on one single point and letting them fly which was really easy but in other points you must continue to direct your creatures up or down through the checkpoints to avoid messing up, for the first couple of lifetimes this is pretty simple and the only real problem that people may have is getting confused about which creature they need to direct which happened regularly.
It is in the later levels when things begin to get extremely difficult and in these points are where I personally began to feel myself getting annoyed, often this is because I could be doing well through a level but then I would accidentally bump the wrong analogue stick or commonly with more going on forget which creature I needed in which point. Even worse is just how quickly I found the difficulty to jump, through lifetimes one to five I was doing well, I was confused and the level was challenging but still it was easy enough to work out what I was doing, but from lifetime six I found quite a difficulty spike got in my way commonly annoying me and causing more problems for my progression that I had previously. At times I even found this to disrupt the story and get in the way of the message of life and chasing your dreams just given how close the story of the game was to the gameplay.
Still Entwined continues to be fun and the message often does scream load and clear particularly when thought about, yes, the gameplay does get in the way at times and the ideas of controlling two characters get frustrating but seeing the game and thinking about the ideas puts this all aside and keeps me happy. This game urges me to make like the fish and bird and chase my dreams and one day be able to soar like the dragon we become at the end of each lifetime. It is just such an amazing game which even with slight gameplay issues the story is just amazing and left me thinking for days about what I had been shown.