Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

9 Overall Score
Style: 10/10
Gameplay: 9/10

The Entire Look and Feel of the Game

Controls and Tools can Become Fiddly

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is the unique, genius and highly stylised open-world puzzle platformer from Fuel Cell Games.

Although first appearances suggest that ITSP is just another platformer, once you start playing, it becomes apparent that it is much more than that. However it still remains as simple as the standard, in controlling respect anyhow, the tutorial lasts under a couple of minutes as you learn to fly, and hotkey your attachments. After you’ve learned the basics, you progress into the unusually open world. Starting off a little slow, just introducing you to the fundamentals of the game, how to shoot, change attachments, a simple puzzle or two, and giving you your first taste of the vast array of enemies you’ll encounter on your journey. Once covered, it really drops you in at the deep end, leaving you unguided and alone in the twisted abyss.

It’s fairly strange for a platformer to have such an open world, but ITSP pulls it off surprisingly well. The map covers a large area, but keeps certain sections locked off until you complete, or gain, a certain thing. For example, defeating the ice world boss will unlock the mechanical world area. Or a certain door will require the tractor beam attachment to open.Now, it’s not necessary to go into these areas, but they will provide you with upgrades for your ship, as well as the games collectables: artefacts. You can revisit any, and all areas behind you, but unfortunately, there’s no teleport/quick travel system in place, so it can be very tedious navigating right back to the beginning of the map just for one collectable you may have missed. And it does take a very long time. This isn’t going to affect you if you don’t plan on achievement hunting, or just collecting everything, sticking to the main path and completing the game without collecting anything is just as fun, and less annoying.

The games style is extremely simplistic, focusing on mainly black, and other dark and gritty colours. You will see the odd bright colour or two on your exploration, but they come few and far between. This is not a bad thing; at all. It really adds to the beauty of the game, and the overall feel. As you fly through the map, you can’t help but love the art style used. Everything form your ship, to a simple block of ice has been greatly thought through, and each and every item, enemy or environment you see ties in with the theme, nothing feels out of place. Even the occasional 3D model somehow fits in with the games 2D nature.

Throughout the game, there’s about 6 different areas you’ll explore, each with an ending boss, and usually a new tool for you to acquire. Following standard platforming law, the tool you collect is the heavy focus of the next area, requiring you to use it to solve the upcoming puzzles, and defeat the area’s enemies easier. With 6 different tools for you to collect (aside from the beginning two) you soon learn to combine each one, always coming up with different ways to defeat the enemy.

Puzzles are probably the main element of ITSP, offering a new, and often challenging puzzle around each corner. Utilising your tools is a must, and finding the right combination can take a little time, but vital to progress. These add a fun and challenging element into the mix, and make ITSP much more than the average. Boss fights are, for me, the most fun and interesting part of the game. With one for each area, they act like one big puzzle. You must find their weakness, and exploit in using any of the tools at your disposal. It takes time to defeat them, time to figure out how, you’ll without a doubt find yourself dying a few times before you find the perfect solution. A successful defeat results in a new area unlocking, and a new tool at your disposal.

Overall, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is one of the most innovative, brilliant and truly gorgeous platforming games I have ever played. I just can’t help shake the feeling that it feels like just an expanded flash game, but a damn amazing one at that. ITSP is yet another amazingly strong addition to this years Summer of Arcade, and a title well worth your money.


Author: JackBrommers View all posts by
Aspiring Community Manager / Games Journalist. Geek, Gamer, Gearhead, Figure Fanatic, Avid Competition Enterer and Non-Preachy Vegetarian. Follow me on Twitter: @JackBrommers or feel free to add me on Xbox: Pipboy V3 Eagerly waiting for: Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Arkham City, Soul Calibur V, Skullgirls