Review: Chronos Twins DX (WiiWare)

Double the fun

Quick history lesson: Chronos Twins DX 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 much. Thankfully, the game is now enjoying a well-deserved second chance on WiiWare and turns out to be quite a nice surprise and uniquely engaging WiiWare experience.

When it comes to the gameplay mechanics, there are few other games quite like it. Instead of controlling one character, you control two. Actually, it's the same character, but in both the past and present times. The game splits the screen 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 such time as you split off and control only one at a time, 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.

Control options are numerous as well. You can use the standard Wii Remote + Nunchuk combination, the most intuitive of the bunch, but the game also allows for the use of the Classic and Gamecube controllers. Perhaps it's the ability to hold the Nunchuk a little bit above the Wii Remote that makes the separate firing more intuitive, but no matter which control method you choose there will be a bit of a learning curve for controlling the two characters simultaneously.

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 from becoming too repetitive as you play through it.

While the game itself presents some fairly challenging gameplay twists, the majority of the challenge comes from having to keep your eyes on both the top and bottom screens in order to traverse the many levels of the game. 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 DX should take you several hours to play through, but expect the challenge to continually ramp up as you progress to the later areas of the game.

Since the game basically started out as a DS release, don't expect a lot of fancy 3D flare. While there's plenty of 3D elements, the game still makes use of a 2D playing field and tends to take a "less is more" visual approach. You'll find that the simple graphics are more than adequate for this type of game. There's plenty of colorful twists and some very nicely drawn bosses to liven things up. Considering the game is pretty much running in a constant split-screen mode, there's very little slowdown, if any, throughout the game, even when the action tends becomes intense. As long as you can keep in mind that this is a WiiWare title, you should find yourself quite satisfied with the presentation.

Much like the visuals, the game's audio package tends to stick to basics. 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 are well done, even making use of the often-ignored Wii Remote speaker to give the game more of an audio personality. There's even some hefty bass for those who have a nice sound system hooked up.

Conclusion

While unfortunate that a lot of gamers missed out on the original GBA Chronos Twins, this DX version 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 1,000 points you're getting a lot of game for your buck, which makes the experience even sweeter.