Saturday, March 21, 2009

Detana TwinBee


I think of TwinBee as one of those games that make people like them a little more than they really deserve to be liked. It's a cutesy vertical shooter that reminds me of Cyber Core gameplay-wise (both titles allow one to blast through airborne adversaries while simultaneously bombarding terrain-based nuisances), but CC moves along at a faster pace and keeps the player much busier.

TB's "pelt-a-bell" power-up system (blast an uncovered instrument to effect a change in the weaponry that can be acquired from it) is inconvenient and yields weapons that are nothing special. Its music is completely inoffensive but forgettable and is often drowned out by the sound effects, which are decent but not noteworthy aside from the impressive ones used for explosions. Personality is essential for a cute 'em up, and this game has it, but not nearly as much of it as true stalwarts of the subgenre like Parodius have. It's short and quite easy. And while its bosses are cool enough in appearance, you shouldn't anticipate any thrilling confrontations.

All of that being said, the game does look very nice, though not necessarily in a technically impressive way. The color choices are impeccable, and some of the background concepts are extremely interesting. I particularly like the wavy green clouds in Stage 6 and the pretty pink mountains overrun by streams and waterfalls in Stage 5.

Considering TwinBee's focus and merits, I'd say it's more suitable for a casual player than for a hard-core shooter fan. Still, it's good enough to be worth the low cost for anyone. It's true that for most of the time I'm playing TB, my thoughts are elsewhere, with my attention only occasionally recaptured for moments when I think, "This is a nice-looking part." But having such a game to play every now and then really isn't such a bad thing.

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