Quick history lesson: Chronos Twins began life as a Game Boy Advance title that was later ported over to the DS. While the game saw release in the UK, it was unable to land a North American publisher – poor UK sales didn't help matters. The game was released on WiiWare and now, only one week later, the DS version is out on DSiWare. And while both downloadable versions are basically the same, this DSiWare release seems to fit the game's dual-screen mechanics far better and just feels like a higher quality production overall.
When it comes to gameplay mechanics, there are few other games quite like Chronos Twins. Instead of controlling one character, you control two. Actually, it's the same character, but in both the past and present times. The game uses both screens so that you can monitor and manipulate both versions of your character at the same time. While they move in sync with one another -- at least until you split off and control only one -- both characters do fire independently. You have one button to make your past character fire and one for your present character. Many areas require nothing more than some slick platforming and shooting skills, whereas others require you to slide and solve tricky puzzles.
You'll find yourself shooting away at various items and enemies, and you'll be given upgrades to your main weapon and assorted power-ups that will come in handy when it comes to some of the trickier hindrances the game tosses your way. Of course running, jumping, and sliding aren't the only moves at your disposal; at times you'll have to push items around in order to reach some of the trickier spots in certain levels. And if that wasn't enough, you'll have quite a number of boss fights to take on to further add challenge to the overall experience. It's this careful balance that keeps the game interesting and saves it from repetition.
While the game itself presents some fairly tricky gameplay twists, the majority of the challenge comes from having to keep your eyes on both the top and bottom screens simultaneously. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but part of what makes the game so much fun to play is figuring out how to be in two places at the same time and how to navigate the many little differences you'll encounter throughout each level. The game does a nice job of offering up a very smooth and responsive control scheme, but it's going to take some practice in order to reach the end. Chronos Twins should take you several hours to play through, and expect the challenge to continually ramp up.
The visuals in Chronos Twins are strikingly vivid and colorful and show a surprising degree of detail. Unlike the WiiWare version that used 3D elements to draw the game's surroundings, this DSiWare release makes use of stylized 2D visuals and some smooth and detailed parallax scrolling. Even the characters and bosses are all extremely well-drawn and animated. It's clear that this type of visual experience was made for the DS system's 2D capabilities and it really shines in the finished product.
There's plenty of upbeat music to carry the intensity of the game, and in all honesty, there's really not a bad track in the bunch. Even the sound effects show a lot of clarity. If you want to really experience the audio experience in all of its glory, plug in some headphones for a real treat.
While unfortunate that a lot of gamers missed out on the original GBA Chronos Twins, not to mention the fact that the DS version was only released in Europe, this DSiWare edition more than makes up for the wait. Not only does the game bring an interesting and unique gameplay mechanic to the table, it also manages to surround it with smooth controls and a lot of personality. The game might be a tad on the short side, but you're definitely in for a fun ride while it lasts. And at only 500 Nintendo points you're not only getting the better version of the game, but you're getting it at half the price. If you're up for something a little unique and different, this is definitely a game you'll want to check out.