Good ideas are marred by some technical issues in this Wii U Metroidvania.
Twisted Fusion is a Kickstarter-backed, side-scrolling open-world game made exclusively for Wii U. It’s an ambitious game, with up to five-player cooperative multiplayer, off-TV play and extensive Wii U GamePad utilization. The scope is vast, but it appears that the developer Leuvision couldn’t quite pull off making such a bold game as this adventure doesn’t overcome the technical issues..
In Twisted Fusion, your main weapon is a water gun. This world you are trapped in apparently doesn't have a lot of water, and all of the monsters occupying the land get hurt when sprayed with it. The good news is that you have an unlimited supply of water ammunition at your disposal, so luckily you can take out as many of these monsters as you want. A simple upgrade system, fueled by acquiring coins from falling enemies, keeps your character growing throughout the adventure.
Twisted Fusion features heavy GamePad usage and ideas. You can access a variety of tools and options, ranging from the upgrade-buying Loot Store to the Difficulty Slider. The latter lets you change the difficulty on the spot at any time. Ranging from two to nine, the player can utilize this function to their needs. At times, the idea is interesting, but it can expose balancing issues. For example, If you wanted to get more coins quickly for an upgrade, you could slide it up to a higher difficulty to get a better reward for slaying an enemy. But this can be easily exploited by finding enemies that pose no threat and annihilating them at an elevated level to get more coins. The slider is an appreciated idea for sure, but could have been improved with a better balanced reward system.
Many optional elements round out the experience. Ample secret areas and side quests can hide neat rewards. A Pokemon Go-esque mini-game is present as well, letting you collect eggs from fallen foes and then raise up teams to do battle in the Monster Towers. It’s a fun complement to the main game.
In Twisted Fusion, there is no map system, which seems like a potential disaster for a Metroid-inspired game. When I personally play open-world platformers, I rely heavily on the map system. The lack of one here, however, doesn't cause as much a problem as you might think. Not knowing where you can go in a dungeon adds a lot of mystery and a refreshing amount of discovery. Not relying on a map inherently makes you learn the layout by yourself, giving you a better sense of your surroundings. The problem lies, though, in the monotonous feeling of the dungeons. Every hallway, room, and corridor looks the same. This can cause an unneeded and overwhelming feeling of frustration, souring the sense of exploration. Getting to the end of a rather large dungeon only to find a locked door and a missing key somewhere makes the uninspired architecture a bit of an annoyance.
Luckily the music in these areas is delightful. Jonathan Adamich's score does a great job at setting the mood. When you are dropped into a big, new, and mysterious world, the whimsical harmonies and anticipating progressions are very good at producing an adventurous feeling for the player. My only complaint would be that there should be more variations of the theme throughout the campaign. The sound effects however do need improvement. Coupled with the uncertain animations, sometimes you don't know if you are hurting an enemy or the enemy is hurting you. It’s not game-breaking, but can be quite frustrating.
Cooperative multiplayer is a rather fun bonus for Twisted Fusion. I only had the chance to play with one other person, but the experience went quite well. Playing together feels good, and getting to team up and surround enemies to take them down is fun and rewarding.
The players share all of the upgrades and the health bar (just like in Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes) and that can prove to balance the difficulty set up by having multiple players shooting and cornering enemies. Each player can also select from a range of characters that each have their own special move.
A problem does come up (quite frequently when facing bosses) with the game's camera. When player two gets off the screen, they will automatically respond to player one's position. However, by the time they have completely appeared in the game, they could be right in the middle of an enemy, get hit, and die.
Speaking of controls, how you generally control your character in Twisted Fusion unfortunately is hindered a bit by the choppy camera movement and frame rate. This poses, I believe, the biggest problem in the overall quality of the game. Jumping feels a little floaty, and combined with the undependable sound effects, it can feel quite awkward. One thing to note here is the camera on the TV screen is zoomed out quite a bit more than if played on just the GamePad, so if you are having problems with the controls it might help to switch how you are playing.
All in all, Twisted Fusion is a good game with a solid structure that woefully lacks a lot of polish. A lot of fun can be had and a nice sense of adventure pervades the game, but sadly the whole thing is held back by the choppy camera, frame rate, and overall production quality.