Another unexpected conversion makes it to the Playstation Vita with the release of Twin Robots, a platform puzzler featuring – you guessed it – a pair of twin robots.
Twin Robots came out for the Android-based Ouya microconsole four years ago. It later came to PC/Mac and last year made the leap to consoles – with a version for the WiiU. This year has the game coming to PS4 and Vita, the latter of which feels like it’s the better fit for the game due to its relatively small levels that can be played during short gameplay sessions.
The basic premise for the game is that you control two individual robots, either in single player mode (by switching between characters) or during cooperative play when two players play locally. For obvious reasons, local multiplayer is only really an option on a PS4, so we mainly tested the Vita’s single player mode.
The aim in each level is to reach the end with enough battery power left to open the exit door. Your robots consume energy while moving, jumping and solving puzzles though, so you have to be careful to not be wasteful. In some cases you’ll need to transfer energy between robots, but in other levels (especially earlier on in the game) it feels like you can easily forget about your twin and head to the finish and escape the level ‘solo’.
The game works best in levels that require both robots to cooperate – a dynamic I first played around with in The Lost Viking and The Humans. The puzzles in Twin Robots aren’t as intricate or refined as those classic examples though, which is a bit of a shame since there aren’t enough of this type of game in this day and age.
Most levels have plenty of special tiles to walk across that will recharge your robot’s batteries, but sometimes these will only be in reach of one of the robots – requiring you to think before acting and to not meet up with your twin before you have plenty of extra energy to share. It’s a dynamic that seems trivial at first, but once you start running out of energy in later levels it becomes something to carefully consider.
The visual style of the game represents a robot factory-esque theme, with a relatively small amount of detail applied to backgrounds and character models – not surprising considering the Ouya roots of the game but also not a big issue on Vita (although PS4 owners might not agree). Filling the levels are all the usual platforming elements: jumps, spikes, boxes to push and ledges to hang from – complemented by fitting though mostly unremarkable sound effects and music.
The 28 levels in Twin Robots are excellent in length for the Vita – you’ll blaze through the first five of them but the length and difficulty ramp up after that – once you pass level 20 you’re looking at a good bite-sized challenge for each level. The controls for the game feel surprisingly responsive as well, considering the clunky or overly floaty control methods we’ve seen in other Android-based titles.
Twin Robots isn’t going to set the Vita scene on fire and the system saw better titles in this genre in its heyday, but as long as you don’t expect the next Fez, Limbo or Rayman, this is a nice little diversion at a budget price. It shows its price point and origin, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy playing it.