Entwined Review: Dance, Dance
It seems that every video game released in the modern age tries to shoe-horn in a compelling narrative to hook gamers. Entwined will have none of that, though, instead relying on abstract inspiration and one’s personal interpretation for its “storytelling.” The result is an experience one can get lost in, if not because of its attempted art form, then the soothing yet respectable gameplay.
The premise of Entwined is simple: you’ll control two souls aiming to become one, dancing along their lifetimes with the goal of ending up together. The game doesn’t tell you this, though; developer interviews from E3 though. Every ounce of narrative presented in the actual game is, again, completely abstract and up to interpretation. This is a theme that developer Pixelopus completely runs with.
Everything about the game feels subtle: the environments, the music, the challenge. Nothing forces its hand on your screen to remind you that exists, instead relying on players to connect the dots themselves. The result is a calming experience, even when you factor in some of the game’s more difficult aspects, and one you can simply get lost in as you lose track of your surroundings. You become invested in what’s playing in front of you.
That being said, you’re not always invested because of the aesthetic. For me, Entwined has the heart of a game like Amplitude, requiring the player to successfully navigate a track. This is where I’m drawn in deep, aiming for complete perfection as I fly through each course, controlling the two characters with the left and right analog sticks, and cursing at my inability to properly navigate through the game’s obstacles.
But then the experience ends. Just as you become invested in everything occurring in the game, when the challenge is ripe and the pressure sinks in, you’ll find a way to come out on top and eventually move on to the next stage. This is undoubtedly Entwined’s biggest misstep; creating an enjoyable experience can only take a game so far, but its lack of longevity and concrete payoff ultimately do it in.
Because of this, Entwined is at its best when used as a chance to relax and unwind from a busy day. It’s the warm-up band, if you will, before you dive into the headliner you’ve been waiting to play with your friends all night.