Beautiful, deadly, shooty.
When a black galaxy shoots out a seed of corruption to a nearby sun, changing it from a warm giver of life into a pulsating mass of writhing badness that warps its planet into a terrible mass of dark and brutal survival, video game logic says thereís got to be something you can do about it. Sure, youíre not fighting an enemy so much as a malevolent force of nature that seems like itís already won, but itís got to be worth a shot. It beats waiting to be eaten, at the very least.
In Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, the worst has already happened, although hopefully not irrevocably. The sun is dark, the world ruined, and all youíve got is a nimble little flying saucer to set things right again. While the saucer starts out with nothing more than a scanner and grabbing claw, in classic 2D Metroidvania-style it will be finding more goodies along the way.
Flying to a pile of rocks, ITSPís saucer performs a quick scan with the right trigger, using the right analog stick to aim the scanner. An obvious claw icon pops up when the scan is complete, and a quick click of the right bumper brings up the inventory wheel to switch from scanner to claw. Just like the scanner, pointing with the right stick moves the claw while the right trigger activates it, grabbing a rock from the pile to move (or fling) it out of the way. After that a bit more exploring turns up the laser, and then itís time to start clearing out the horrors that have infested your world.
ITSPís creatures come in a good variety of shapes and sizes, even in this limited demo, and each one looks like it would be happy to teach the poor saucer its proper place in the food chain. Pustules on the back of a dark leviathan shoot out explosive homing drones, giant indestructible worms try to rope the saucer in with their tongues, and of course the giant boss sphere is a deadly ecosystem unto itself. All of this is wonderfully designed and animated in Michel Gagneís phenomenal style, giving the world a sense of true danger that even the most testosterone-soaked shooter has a hard time matching. You arenít fighting an enemy, youíre up against a whole planet that's grown bigger and more dangerous than a single individual can hope to stand against. An individual in a flying saucer, on the other hand, is (hopefully) another matter entirely.
Needless to say, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planetís demo was incredibly impressive. Itís going to be a long month and half (or so) until its release during Microsoftís Summer of Arcade, but in the meantime thereís this lovely new trailer to keep us warm.