To put it simply, Actionloop Twist is a game where players must clear different coloured Gemstones as quickly as possible by matching three or more of the same shade. Whereas on the DS the gems were thrown around using the stylus, now your chosen Mii sits in a rotatable cannon, the Gemstone Launch Pad, and swivels around as players point the Wii Remote at the screen and twist one way or the other, pressing 'A' to fire whatever coloured gem is lined up for launch at that present time. 'All the way around?' you may be asking...well, the Launch Pad sits at the centre of the screen with various different styles and shapes of track surrounding it, depending on the level played. More and more of the varyingly coloured gemstones start to appear at one side of the screen and move along the track, heading towards the Black Hole-esque end of the line in an increasingly speedier motion as the difficulty level gets higher the longer player survives. Therefore, the task at hand is to shoot off gems towards their matching colours on the track and keep clearing as many as possible until whatever stipulation is met (ranging from a set score being achieved, a certain amount of a specified gem colours being cleared, a predetermined number of chain moves being completed, and so on).
But it is not quite as basic, or boring, as that makes it sound, since chains come into play more often than not to add variety. All of the gems are magnetised, meaning if a player clears a batch of blues in the centre of the twisting and turning track and the now separated lines both have yellows at their respective ends, then these same colours will be drawn towards each other to reconnect the line before it once more starts heading to oblivion. The clever part is that if the reconnected line joins three or more yellows (in this example), they then also clear, with a subsequent multiplier effect taking place if the next two 'end of line' colours are the same and join to make a matching set of three or more. Rinse and repeat. Veteran players will know that clearing small bunches of gems is not always the best technique, and instead tactical placement can lead to a massive set of four, five, six or more chains occurring and massive points being racked up.
Modes on offer include Quick Play for both one and two-players, Challenge, Quest and Multiplayer. 'Quick Play' throws one or two players (co-operatively) into a High Score scenario, having to continuously clear gems to reach a higher level until things are moving so fast it is simply impossible to keep up, or Level 100 is completed. In order to ensure your gems do not simply crash into the other person's Launch Pad, a new lobbing technique has been added, whereby holding down the fire button makes a small target appear on the screen. The longer it is held for, the further it moves from the centre of the Launch Pad outwards until 'A' is released and the gem goes flying over any obstacle in the way. This clever addition can be used in any of the other modes to jump over gem tracks in your way and reach those at the back of the playing field, which proves to be a lifesaver at numerous times when tackling the highest difficulty stages and being faced with not only more than one track, but ones that loop around and around. 'Challenge' is similar to the single player version of Quick Play, except there is the initial choice of three difficulty levels before setting off on the perilous journey of endless gem clearing. 'Quest' is the one to mix proceedings up considerably, though, with players selecting a path (one of three choices, ranging in difficulty) and being faced with various scenarios. These can vary from the likes of creating a certain amount of chains within the allotted time to clearing a set number of one of the particular gem colours or even having to clear the whole stage using just a few predetermined coloured gems. That last example in particular can have you pulling hair out in frustration trying to determine the right pattern for shooting the preset gemstones.
For those not up for just the regular style of puzzles Quest will be ideal, and there are a few extra changes to the formula as well in the form of bonus rounds and boss battles found within this mode. In these players will be tasked with bouncing gems off walls at the correct angles to collect items, shooting down as many of the passing rockets as possible, or even simply spinning around trying to get gems into their respective coloured holes dotted about the stage. These little breaks from the norm most definitely help to create a nice diversion and keep things fresh. The same goes for the Boss encounters, which despite being a gem-clearing exercise in essence, have a feel of something 'different' due to the scenario and intensity of the situation. Players are still sat in the middle of an arena, but this time a strange craft floats around starting gem chains at random places and the objective is to keep clearing as many gems as possible to prevent them from reaching your Launch Pad, with the boss being beaten when a certain amount of damage is done to it (via gem clearing, of course!).
In terms of what is on offer for more than one player, people can play co-operatively, clearing a set number of gems in the time allotted either using the normal method of each person firing off random colours one at a time, or being designated one specific colour and having to play their part in not letting the side down. The battle side of things is much more enjoyable, though, with up to four humans or yourself and three computer opponents able to go hell for leather over three types of play: clear as many gems as possible; knock the on-coming rocket that pushes gems quickly to the end of the line over onto someone else's track (kind of like hot potato); and beat each other with blockers. Weapon icons make a welcome return as well, such as one that forms a cloud of smoke around your opponent's Launch Pad (in the DS game to remove this involved blowing into the mic, this time a simple shake of the Wii Remote does the trick), ones that slow or temporarily stop the track's movement, a blocker to prevent lobbing, another that makes you shoot two tiny gems out at the same time (helping to clear things quicker, since shooting two gems at one lone stone clears it straight away), plus a few others that all perfectly add to what is already a very strategic and highly enjoyable action puzzle experience.
There is definitely enough content included in Actionloop Twist to justify its 1,000 Wii Point price, as it actually offers more than its DS predecessor that would have set you back £19.99 at retail when released! There are plenty of high score elements as well, so you and your friends can go into the records section and monitor their individual progress, check what aspects of their game is strongest, or compare themselves to others. There are only two real drawbacks, the first being that those not as limber as others may struggle to twist their wrists around as quick as required, however this reviewer did not have any serious trouble. The other, more important downfall is that unfortunately there is no online content included, either for worldwide multi-player shenanigans or even high score uploading, which seems like a major oversight given that Dr. Mario on WiiWare has an extensive online component. If it had something along those lines, or even the promise of new downloadable puzzles from time-to-time using the Wii Pay and Play system, this could have been a strong contender for the best WiiWare puzzle game on the market so far, beating Toki Tori and Dr. Mario hands-down. Sadly its omission makes it 'great', but not quite in the same league. Still worth a look for fans of the DS game...