QCF: Entwined

hether you choose to side in the camp that video games are art, or sit with the folks who think they’re too dumb to be art, there’s generally one consistent consensus that both parties can agree to; gamers from either belief can attest to playing at least one game in their life that made them feel something.

Granted, while there are few games where a majority of people can civilly agree on the game’s merit to elicit whatever emotion they felt, these game do in fact exist, and some of them share even considerably larger common ground within the gaming community than most would accurately presume; some games just have that it factor.

Entwined is such a game, one that’s entirely capable of rendering any who play it into puddle of feelings that they can’t quite explain articulately into words, but can’t deny that the presence of them either.

I’m going to try my best TO articulate these feelings, and why it’s important that Entwined brought them out of me, and became a memorable experience in the process.

Sure, the theme of a Star-crossed bond may have been done to death. Yeah, we’ve all seen one story or another depicting some sort of struggle against falling in line with whatever pre-destined fate or role we’re expected to adhere to, but deep down; Entwined delivers beyond its leitmotif, all around, and it unexpected breath of fresh air that I never expected to inhale.

The physical fundamentals of gameplay that bring Entwined’s form of expression together are fortunately humble in premise, and yet, so deceptively complex in its design as it gradually mounts difficult in every subsequent level within its colorful gauntlet of stages. Flattering mechanics from Nights into Dreams and Brothers, the levels are designed around maneuvering our fish friend and bird buddy from third-person perspective jettisoning them through a circular tunnel.

Soaring endlessly onward, the level will constantly propel the pair forward through a series of rings respective to their color. The demand for skill comes into play through placing the various hopes and brackets in a pattern of ways that demand a specific flight path that players will need to steer the appropriate spirit animal through in order to progress the stage. The architecture of the rings combine facets of arrangement, cycle patterns, and the exchange colors between those outlines, with the colors enumerated as orange for fish, blue for bird, and the occasional green when huddling the duo together as close as you’re physically allowed to.

Successfully navigating through the obstacle hoops, and collecting the clusters of energy in between them will build up energy meters for both of the avatars, increasing the gauge will move a marker towards the middle of the screen HUD when the counterpart meter belonging to the opposite animal can meet, and once adjacent, prompts a context-function to begin a fusion. Bringing the little dudes together create a green dragon

Seconds into any stage you play, whether it be the very first, or eleventh, every stage will instill an award sensation of tension veiled in the mysticism of awe and whimsy from the beautifully vivid presentation that will flood your sensory with non-stop rainbows of shapes and lights that never cease to impress. The engrossing presentation goes a long way towards conveying the implicit story that Entwined is modestly illustrating.

The duality behind dynamic relationship of the neon origami duo that stars an orange fish, and a blue bird, sharing symbiotic movement in everything the player does, expounds the underlying tragedy of natural order obstructing any hopes of the pair ever maintaining any kind of physical connection, all the more powerful. Every stage is presented as a lifetime they endure in order to race through the challenge and hardship of being able to meet in the middle, even if for only so briefly, the display of their mutual yearning for one another possessed more character than it had any right to, and spoke to the human condition more than most media could ever dream of doing.

Sony may have been able to prepare a delicious buffet of sorts when it comes the ease and variety on the PlayStation 4 library on PSN, but no other game is more quintessential of a purchase from their marketplace like Entwined is. Plunking down ten dollars will bestow you one of the most best games to sneak on the scene in the early stages of the Next generation, and it’ll be sure to live on devoted reverence to all who play it, and wish to share it’s magic with anyone else who owns Sony’s new box.

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