One of my favorite things about technology’s advancements is that so many things are “instant.” You can instantly watch movies, you can instantly download applications, you can instantly buy music, and you can instantly buy games. The days of going to the store to buy ways to entertain yourself at home are nearly extinct. Moreover, with everything being so at your fingertips, people are really taking advantage of this and getting their passion projects produced for the small screen audience.
My favorite manifestation of this is in video games. A lot of crazy games come through the instant market and, while some are super silly, others are amazing. For Xbox 360, we’ve had the pop culture filled girl and gay guy geared Ms. Splosion Man as well as Sim Earth meets Katamari Damacy meets The Gods Must Be Crazy spawn From Dust. However, this weekend I discovered a newly released game that eclipsed every online only game I have every downloaded: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.
Seemingly the passion project of kid’s movie animator Michel Gagné and definitely inspired by previous Best Instant Game In My Opinion If You Asked Me Last Week titleholder Limbo, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is one of the most engaging and amazing games I have every played. The story of the game follows a little alien who mans his spaceship to delve into an alien planet that has infected his planet. There, he must figure out what is going on and defeat whatever evil force is afoot.
First off, it is stylistically beautiful. It has great, brooding orchestrated music playing over this elaborate sci-fi world that looks like Limbo-meets-Scratch-Magic. The game plays with darkness (dark reds, dark blues, dark greens, black) complimented with bright, high contrast colors, allowing for moments where this color palette is completely broken in nearly blinding white, light blues, and cool yellows. The game is a total visual treat as you traipse through this dark and–at points–scary planet.
Moreover, the game play is ridiculously fun and surprisingly challenging. It also retains a simplicity that other games nowadays do not have. While Limbo was understated and a beautiful Ouroboros, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet challenges you through puzzles, fights, and even timed trials…and everything is done visually. Moments of confusion are not clarified via title cards but rather images that, basically, show an image and your ship exploding, obviously alluding to the item in the image is bad for you. Details like this make the game such a treat.
I downloaded this game this past Saturday at 6PM and played it until 3AM, where I had to stop at the final boss because I was so tired. The game is fairly quick, but only if you let it be. It lends itself well to replaying and has a lot of little hidden items you can find that really make you want to explore the entire map of the game. It also has a really, really, really challenging and somewhat frightening and stressful multiplayer game that involves your little spaceship toting a lantern across the evil planet while being pursued by a Cthulu look alike.
If you own an Xbox 360 and are looking for a game to play, do yourself a favor and download this game as soon as possible. You will not regret getting this fun, beautiful, and clever little game. And, if this is indication of Michel Gagné’s talents, I hope he sticks to creating and animating clever video for years to come.