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Chronos Twins DX (WiiWare) Review

Review for Chronos Twins DX on WiiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

How would you feel if you were split in two so that you existed in two timelines simultaneously? Pertubed? A little distressed? Most of us would probably hide until it all went away. Nek, protagonist of Chronos Twins DX, refuses to get into a tizzy over time and takes it all on the chin, though. He's on a mission spanning both past and present to clear his homeworld of invading alien threats, extracting a tasty slice of revenge for the death of his brother along the way.

Living in two timelines isn't quite as difficult as it sounds when put in a game, you'll be happy to hear. Released on Nintendo DS in 2007, Chronos Twins has now jumped over to WiiWare. Those that played the original will likely recall a game that could be described in three 'F's: fun, but flawed and frustrating. As in the DS original, players take control of past-Nek and present-Nek at the same time, one in the top half of a split-screen, another at the bottom (you can probably guess how this was presented on the DS). Wherever one of the Neks moves, the other follows, be that leaping, walking, ducking or sliding, though each have their own plasma cannons to dispatch enemies/obstacles that appear in their respective timelines, ensuring that you pay attention to both timelines so that you do not walk right into danger. Getting injured in either timeline will result in the shared lifebar going down, and ultimately cost lives.

If keeping your eyes on the hazards of two separate screens is not enough, there's more. Environmental objects that appear in either timeline are also present in the other, though not always visibly; for example, if there is a pit of spikes on both halves of the screen and only one timeline has a platform over said spikes, you can still hop onto it - so that in one timeline you are stood on a platform and in the other you are floating in thin air - and remain safe from the spikes. Similarly, you might have a pillar blocking your way in just one of the timelines, but the other timeline's Nek cannot progress until you have traversed it. This leads to intense cross-timeline platforming, flicking your eyes between the screens to make sure there's something to jump to, climb on or slide under. Miraculously, confusing as it sounds, Chronos Twins always feels intuitive and flows well. Any difficulty - and there is a lot - is not due to the implementation, but because that was what was intended.

While the core idea and its implementation were and are great, the original Chronos Twin was brutally difficult at times, and it suffered from this thanks to a lack of checkpoints. EnjoyUp have taken their original title and, happily, fixed these issues outright. No longer will death mean that you have to return to the very start of a gruelling run of obstacles (unless you lose all of your lives) - checkpoints are scattered liberally throughout, so you'll usually start out close to the section that brought you down. The challenge factor has not been lost in this transition, though. It has merely been spread into more manageable portions, and it's all the better for it. Chronos Twins DX still features mad-cap chase sequences where you're dodging rocks, enemies and platform-jumping across both halves of the screen simultaneously in relentless succession, as well as dual-screen bosses that will tear you apart if you do not utilise both timelines. The only difference is that you are no longer forced to re-play the entire level again before getting another chance at the part responsible for your demise. This change in itself essentially removes the 'flawed' and 'frustrating' parts of the original Chronos Twin's equation.

Screenshot for Chronos Twins DX on WiiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Chronos Twins DX has understandably been spruced up for its first jaunt to a home console. Now re-created in 2.5D, it looks much cleaner than the original, though sadly it is not presented in widescreen and is restricted to a playing window in the centre of the TV screen. Perhaps this is something to do with Chronos Twins DX being released on DSiWare too. EnjoyUp have also employed the Wii Remote's speaker well as an warning alarm. To help players out in the original, when a hazard was being approached n one timeline, the other would give clues through the visuals and audio that there was trouble imminent elsewhere, including a 'danger' sign. The same clues are still found in WiiWare's Chronos Twins DX, only the Remote speaker now calls out a loud warning that gets the job done even more effectively. It also has the added bonus of adding to the intensity of some of the sequences by making you jump!

Outside of the lack of widescreen, there are areas of the presentation that Chronos Twins DX is lacking in, however. There is difficulty in knowing when exactly the game has been saved when quitting; it always seems to have stored up to the point you expected it to, but any saving is automatic and there is no sign when it is being done, which is a little jarring. Menu options are selected with a cursor, but you can only move the cursor with the analogue stick on your Nunchuk or Classic Controller, with the ability to use the more natural action of the Wii Remote's pointer completely ignored.

Chronos Twins DX has a few relatively minor problems, but thankfully none of them are to do with the gameplay. EnjoyUp have taken the DS original and improved upon on it while losing nothing of what made the first so great. With a much-needed dose of accessibility added to the high difficulty level, the present version of Chronos Twins trumps the past version by far; future editions just need a little extra work on the presentation side to bring everything up to speed.

Screenshot for Chronos Twins DX on WiiWare - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

A great challenge that utilises a novel concept that works well, once you've got over the initial confusion. Checkpoints improve the experience a lot over the original.

Graphics

The 2.5D overhaul looks better than the DS original, with lots of well done backgrounds and interesting variety between the past and present level variants, but there is still room for improvement, and it is let down by a lack of widescreen.

Sound

The music is not very memorable but suits the atmosphere of the game well, and it will get your toes tapping in parts. The use of the Wii Remote speaker is great, used for warning alarms and alerts from your communicator as you are about to receive a - text-based - transmission.

Value

It may only take a few hours to play through, but it's tough and there are a few difficulty levels to burn through afterwards, as well as multiple endings to be found. It's well worth the European 700 Nintendo Point asking price.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

EnjoyUp has listened well to the criticism aimed at the original title and delivered an excellent follow-up in Chronos Twins DX. It's another great addition to the slowly re-growing 2D platformer market, but its dual timeline hook is what separates it from the crowd. With two characters to control at once emphasising caution just as much as action, Chronos Twins DX should serve to satisfy anybody in need of a unique, challenging title to tax them on Wii.

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18.05.2010

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Developer

EnjoyUp

Publisher

EnjoyUp

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Out now   

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I was definitely buying this game but I doubted for a while not because I didn't want it but because I couldn't decide if I should get the DSiware version or the "remake" on Wiiware. In the end I went with Wiiware and I'm glad I did since it's a very well made game that really shines on a big TV. Might even get the portable one at some point since this game on the go would help kill a couple of hours.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I'm definitely intrigued by this. I'll hopefully be getting the DSiWare edition soon! They're apparently exactly the same game, so I'll take the portability over the home version Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
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