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Overview

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a two-dimensional action-adventure game for the Xbox 360 and PC. The creators stated that they wanted to mix the gameplay of classic arcade side-scrolling shooters with movie quality design and animation. The title was initially released on the Xbox 360 during the 2011 Xbox Live Summer of Arcade. The PC release, which includes the Shadow Hunters Co-op mode DLC, is scheduled for April 17th 2012 through Steam and Games For Windows Live.

The in-game cinematics feature music from Norwegian black metal band Dimmu Borgir.

Plot

The Source of the Evil

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet has little to no plot. It tells the story of a small alien scientist and his flying saucer. When a meteor made of an ominous black substance slams into the sun that heats his world, the sun is transformed into the mysterious Shadow Planet, which promptly sends meteors of its own towards his Homeworld, wreaking havoc and spreading the black substance over much of its surface. When he leaves his observatory in his flying saucer to help with disaster relief, he accidentally triggers a device which rockets him away from his Homeworld and deep into the heart of the hostile Shadow Planet. The scientist must then use every trick and tool at his saucer's disposal to fight for survival within the cramped confines of the planet, and along the way, hopefully he can find a way to revert the Shadow Planet back into a sun and prevent mass extinction on a global scale for his Homeworld.

The game tells its story through artifacts that must be found through the game world. The artifacts reveal that the goo originated from some weird mutation that eventually went on to invade different planets under different forms.

Gameplay

The action in Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet takes place on a two-dimensional plane. The player must navigate their spacecraft through an underground maze filled with traps and monsters. The game encourages players to explore the environment and search for power ups as well concept art and"artifacts". Fitting firmly into the Metroidvania sub-genre, the player will find places that he can not yet visit due to the fact that he does not have the correct weapon. Players are encouraged to re-visit old locales to find hidden items.

One Versatile Ship

The ship is able to shoot back at enemies, as well as use an attached arm to grab items from the environment and tow them back to a home base. The weapons include: guided rockets, saws, laser, a tractor beam, a scanner, lightning gun and a shield. Each weapon is or given to you by the game (such is the case for the shield and the pea shooter) or can be gained after beating a boss (such is the case for every other weapon). The default weapon along with the player's armor are upgradeable through power-ups hidden throughout the world. The pea shooter and your shields can be upgraded three times and much like in games like The Legend of Zelda, you must find shield or shooter upgrades in increments of one, three and five to actually update said feature. Shield upgrades let the player's ship take more hits (the ship's health is seen by the way the ship looks and can be replenished by collecting health pick ups) while the pea shooter upgrade lets the player shoot faster and wider. Upgrades are clearly indicated on the map.

Every weapon can be shot in any direction with the left stick while the right stick is used for movement. The player can assign up to 4 weapons to any of the four face buttons. To select a new weapon, the player must select it by holding down LB.

Tools

The flying saucer has a wide array of versatile tools and equipment that must be picked up by the player in order to destroy the Shadow Planet and save the Homeworld. All tools save the lightning rod can be aimed 360 degrees around the saucer.

Pea-Shooter

The first tool picked up by the player at the beginning of the game, the Pea Shooter is a pure weapon, and fires energy bolts out to smite your enemies. It can fire at all angles and can be upgraded to fire up to three, then five energy bolts at once at a high rate of fire.

Scanner

The Scanner is the only tool the saucer starts the game equipped with. It scans the area around the saucer and relays any pertinent data to the pilot. Although scanning is purely optional (aside from the very first interactions of the game), scanning objects and creatures is how how you learn how you can interact with it; the scan display will indicate which tools can be used to destroy an enemy, for example, and highlight the tool that is most effective against it, or tell you which tool is required to open a certain type of door. Scanning a door in the environment will not only tell you how to open it (even if you do not yet have the tool required to open it), it will mark that door on your map with the appropriate symbol, so that once you do have the right tool you can easily remember to return and open it.

Guided Missile Launcher

Technically, the Missile Launcher only fires missiles straight down, but as soon as the missile's engine engages, the player can take remote control, steering it through the environment. Missiles can be used to blow up enemies or solve puzzles. Since the pilot's species doesn't rely on primitive combustible fuel, missiles can be controlled for an unlimited amount of time as long as they don't hit anything. Missile-locked doors often place their targets inside twisting tunnels too narrow for the saucer to fit inside. The player must steer the missile through the tunnel all the way to the end and then hit the target. Fortunately, in such cases, time slows down so the player has more time for steering, and inexplicably, missiles suddenly take more than one hit against a wall to detonate, giving them a little wiggle room for mistakes.

Claw

The Claw is a flexible metal arm with a gripping claw on the end, and is one of the most versatile tools in the saucer's arsenal. It can grab onto and manipulate many things in the environment, from tasks as simple as moving rocks out of the way or ripping monster generators out of the wall to prevent them from spawning more fiends, to carrying important items through the Shadow Planet's interior or holding on for dear life against a strong current. The Claw really shines when the saucer must interact with a Lantern, for it's the only real way to have any control over it.

Saw

The Saw is a piece of Shadow Planet mining equipment that was re-purposed for more heroic tasks by the saucer pilot. Sitting on the end of a manipulator arm like the Claw, the Saw can be used to slice most enemies into pieces as well as cut through rock and other materials.

Laser

The Laser is a crystal-based beam weapon that can fry enemies as well as solve puzzles. Some surfaces reflect the laser, making it bounce off walls. This can be used to access far away switches or kill enemies while hiding behind cover.

Tractor Beam

The Tractor Beam in Action

The tractor beam can interact with certain purple objects in the environment and allows the saucer to have some measure of control over them. Small objects can be picked up and manipulated with the beam, while larger objects can cause the saucer to move around instead. For example, battery crates that can be put on contact switches to open doors. It can also be used to fight against currents but only when the purple objects are affixed to the background. Unfortunately, control over the tractor beam is incredibly imprecise, especially when trying to move the saucer around with a fixed object, but it is necessary to complete the game.

Shield

The energy shield is logically used to defend the saucer against oncoming fire. Unlike a traditional starship's shield, this one only covers the area in a single direction, and cannot be used in conjunction with other tools. In addition, while it will easily block incoming projectiles, it has no effect on enemies who try to charge the saucer. As the shield gets hit, it shrinks. It's also used for dispelling the harmful mist that rises out of contaminated water, which is, oddly enough, safe for the saucer to navigate through.

Lightning Rod

The Lightning Rod can be used to deliver power to certain doors and wheels in the environment, as well as overcharge batteries to their bursting point. It can also redirect incoming missiles. Unlike every other tool, the Lightning Rod cannot be aimed; it will automatically lock onto and send an electrical stream towards objects it can interact with. It is the last tool the player gets in the game.

Lantern Run

RUN!

The game features a 4 player co-op mode (both local and online), which is separate from the single player story mode, called Lantern Run where the players must escort their lanterns through rooms of enemies while being chased by a giant tentacle monster. After a room is completed, a wall crumbles, forcing players to work together to get the rubble out of the way so the lantern can pass. Between each room are hallways that are randomly generated. While the lanterns are immune to attacks from the regular enemies, they will be destroyed if the giant monster reaches them. Once all lanterns are extinguished, the game ends and the players have to start all over again from the beginning. The players' score is determined by the distance made with their lanterns as well as how many enemies they have destroyed along the way.

Each player has a different colored ship and his or her own lantern. If a player loses a lantern, he must work with the others to ensure that at least one lantern survives. Players can pick up weapons as well as shield and weapon upgrades. The player can only hold three weapons at a time and loses all upgrades and weapons if he dies, at which point other players can try to make a run for it and get the fallen weapons.

Music

The Intro video features the orchestrated version of Progenies of the Great Apocalypse by Norwegian death metal band Dimmu Borgir. An early trailer featured the song Blood Hunger Doctrine also by Dimmu Borgir. The team decided to use music from Dimmu Borgir after seeing them during a concert in Seattle, stating:

A bunch of us from the studio went to see them in Seattle the last time they were in town and we loved the show. We’re delighted to have them be a part of our project.

PC System Requirements

  • OS:Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Processor:Intel Core Duo (1.25ghz) / AMD Athlon XP (1.8ghz)
  • Memory:1 GB RAM
  • Graphics:GeForce FX series+ / Radeon 9500+
  • DirectX®:9.0
  • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
  • Additional:Online play requires log-in to Games For Windows – Live

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