Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Runaway: A Twist of Fate (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Runaway: A Twist of Fate on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Runaway: A Twist of Fate is the third and final instalment in the Runaway point-and-click adventure series. Originally released for Windows PCs in 2009, A Twist of Fate continues and concludes the saga laid out its predecessors but does so in a way that is designed to be accessible even to those who are new to the series.

Point-and-click adventure games are a great fit for the Nintendo DS, and Runaway is no exception. Standard movement is handled with a stylus tap while a quick double tap allows characters to instantly hop from A to B; very handy in large areas. Sliding the stylus around the screen highlights objects and people to examine or interact with. Although the regular DS’ screen size does lead to some fiddly selections in crowded areas, the system works nicely and removes the need for tedious pixel-hunting that can plague adventure games.

A variety of puzzles in Runaway are solved by gathering seemingly innocuous items and combining them to create something useful. Bringing up the inventory screen pauses the game and carries a slight delay, which is acceptable when combining items (by dragging them on top of each other) or examining them for extra info, but a little disruptive when it comes to actually using them. A more fluid solution is to use L and R to cycle through items (they’re also displayed on the top screen) for immediate use.

You’ll spend most of your time exploring, chatting up locals, and collecting items in order to solve puzzles. Most of these puzzles are sensible and deducible, but not all. Certain puzzles can seem incomprehensible if you’re not in the right mindset. Runaway does dispense hints to help minimise frustration, but sometimes these are just as vague and indecipherable as the puzzles themselves. Creating puzzles that avoid both trivial simplicity and obtuse complexity is always a tricky proposition and Runaway takes a good stab at it, with most successful results.

Screenshot for Runaway: A Twist of Fate on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Solid mechanics are important for accessibility, but they’re only the first step towards a successful adventure game. Plot plays an extremely important role, and Runaway’s is mostly enjoyable. The game begins with the series’ lead protagonist Brian Basco seemingly dead, but actually buried alive in his own grave. The introductory scene is interspersed with flashbacks to a trial in which Brian is accused of murder, but is sent to a mental institution rather than prison. Gameplay starts with players in control of Gina Timmins as she seeks to rescue Brian and/or clear his name.

If that condensed plot blurb doesn’t make a great deal of sense to you, don’t worry, it’s not supposed to. There’s an intentional gap left between A Twist of Fate and the ending of its predecessor. A lot of the game is spent trying to uncover what really happened and, while this makes way for some great development and twists, it does mean that you’re likely to be quite confused during the early stages of the game (especially if you’re new to the series). Things do become clearer as you go, though, so it’s worth just rolling with things at first.

Story details are presented in dialogue sessions with other characters as well as during scripted cut-scenes. The latter are beautifully rendered in a cel-shaded style enriched by great animations, with facial expressions being a particular highlight. The majority of these sequences are also enhanced by voice acting; a welcome addition to a handheld title. In-game graphics are a pleasant combination of detailed 2D backgrounds and simple, cel-shaded 3D character models. Porting a high-resolution PC title to the DS can be risky, but in this case the quality of presentation has been kept high.

Screenshot for Runaway: A Twist of Fate on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Intuitive touch controls make navigating and interacting with the environment a breeze, for the most part. Next to the PC (and Wii), there’s really no better home for an adventure game.

Graphics

In-game visuals are a lovely mix of detailed 2D backgrounds and simple, cel-shaded 3D models. Cut-scenes are glorious cel-shaded affairs with impressive animations (particularly facial expressions).

Sound

The title music is a catchy little tune. with vocals to boot, and there’s plenty of atmospheric music to follow. Cut-scenes are even enhanced by some decent voice acting, too.

Value

There are six playable chapters in all, but how long it takes you to get through them really depends on your puzzling skills (and whether you cheat and use a guide). Not much replay value, though.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Runaway: A Twist of Fate is a solid port of the original point-and-click adventure game for the PC. Levels and cut-scenes are well presented in a cel-shaded style, and the attention to detail is nicely preserved (for the most part) despite the DS’ limited screen real estate. Touch controls are intuitive and make solving puzzles (which are mostly well designed) smooth. The plot takes a little while to get going (especially if you’re new to the series), but there’s a good dose of humour to keep you going. A Twist of Fate might not be able to stand up to the kings of the genre, but if you’re an adventure game fan you could do worse than to take a look.

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20.08.2010

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Developer

Péndulo

Publisher

Focus Home

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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 TBA   

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I enjoyed Runaway 2 on DS, but just haven't given this new one a proper chance. I only played about 10 minuted before getting side-tracked with something else. I'll definitely have to go back to it at some point...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Sounds good, but I preferred Tunguska/Secret Files myself to the first Runaways game so I never played the sequels.

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