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Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure review for PS Vita, PS4


Platform: PS Vita
Also on: PS4
Publisher: Lillymo Games Inc
Developer: Lillymo Games Inc
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Disclaimer: I am currently a member of Colin Moriarty’s Patreon and have been a member of his previous company’s Patreon. I am also a member of Chris Ray Gun’s Patreon.

If you’ll allow me I’m going to butcher an idiom, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, critique”. It’s often said that people who have never done the thing they are critiquing, have no right to do so. Perhaps on a technical level, yes…however on an enjoyment level, these people have no ground to stand on. So it’s always fascinating to see critics attempt to actually “do” the thing they have made their bread criticizing. So while Colin Moriarty, longtime IGN editor, founder and ex-member of Kinda Funny and current proprietor of Colin’s Last Stand isn’t exactly “tightening up the graphics on level three”, his name and brand is heavily leveraged in the promotion of this title.

Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure is a dual stick brick breaker developed by Lillymo Games. Lillymo Games’ previous works include Habroxia and Perils of Baking. I should point out Habroxia is a space scrolling shooter that alternates between vertical and horizontal shooting, a sub-genre switch that Twin Breaker also employs. Besides being one of the faces of the game, Moriarty also handled writing the game’s story and the collectibles. The player takes control of two ships (Greetings and Salutations, which un-ironically is Moriarty’s signature greeting) as they fend off alien forces with the “bouncer” and the various power ups they will encounter. Over the course of 40 story levels, pilots Colin and Chris (named after his Sony-centric Podcast co-host Chris “Ray Gun” Maldonado) must uncover the mysterious behind the signal coming from a Generation Ship long thought to have been lost.

Gameplay is pretty straight forward. The left stick controls Greetings, the right controls Salutations. Each ship can only patrol one half of the screen. Levels have a time limit of 3 minutes and while the level doesn’t end after the time limit has expired, players are encouraged to destroy all the blocks as quickly as possible. The higher the score you have at the end of the level, the higher the grade the player will accrue. Reaching the “par” grade of the level will unlock a collectible which consists of flavor text which expands on the world of Twin Breaker. The enemy bricks are also color blind friendly as they are etched with a roman numerals that will decrease as the bouncer hits it, ultimately being destroyed when it reaches zero. As you progress through the game the ships will eventually switch to a pong-style configuration with the ships patrolling the sides of the screen. Near the penultimate levels players will be tasked with controlling 4 ships which for me felt like having to pat my head and rubbing my belly at the same time, not exactly a fun experience. Thankfully these types of levels are scarce.

Besides the story mode, Twin breaker also includes a variety of modes which are twists to the brick breaker gameplay base. Playing them all will unlock a trophy, but excelling at them won’t necessarily unlock anything else. Beating the game will enable a NG+ mode which remixes the story mode levels, but like all the other secondary modes excelling at them will bring bragging rights and nothing more.

The writing of the game is extremely reflective of Moriarty as a person. In the continuity of Twin Breaker, the United States remained and if not became the strongest world power. Man embraced Manifest Destiny on a galactic level colonizing the planets within its local vicinity and as well exploring systems beyond the Milky Way. The dialogue between pilots Colin and Chris is extremely formal and clinical which is ironic as the pairing have an extremely jovial rapport in real life. This stilted dialogue could probably be explained away as the two are soldiers on a mission of utmost importance and not necessarily the friends they are in real life. Collectibles from the ones I was able to sample feel like clippings from a newspaper and other periodicals, again extremely dry and never getting human stories from the collectibles from such games like Bioshock or Fallout 3.

Having been a person who’s followed Moriarty for almost a decade, I have heard him opine how he would do things if he would develop a game. Largely he kept his word…Cross buy, a platinum trophy, a reasonable trophy list, a release on the Vita (it means life) all these are present in Twin Breaker. Twin Breaker is a nice diversion while we wait for the year’s bigger releases. Surely Moriarty’s detractors will find ways to nitpick his initial foray into game development, thankfully I won’t be one of them. I do look forward to the inevitable sequel which will probably introduce controlling 6 ships. Until then I will ask…Switch when (cause you know it’s the only handheld that matters)?

Lillymo Games Inc provided us with a Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B