Another adventure game by the French studio F95zone, authors Remember Me and Life is Strange , this time is a psychological thriller in which we have to delve into the past, solve mysteries, but quite often get bored.
Sam Higgs, a former investigative journalist, comes to his hometown of Bayswood for a memorial to his best friend. Because of Sam’s material in the local newspaper, a city-forming mine has been closed, and not everyone is happy about his return. After preliminary walks around the city and talking with the locals, either out of joy, or simply out of nothing to do, Sam gets drunk to unconsciousness, which is why the game has a plot: waking up in a hotel, the hero suffers from a wild hangover and tries to remember something. The events of the previous evening were clearly full of something extraordinary, because among other things, a bloody shirt is found in the room, and Sam begins to restore broken clusters of his memory soaked in alcohol, which is why the game finally has meaningful gameplay.
We control the hero from a third-person perspective and look for clues, much like Connor in Detroit: Become Human . Sam is helped with the thought process by his imaginary alter-ego – an unnamed, self-confident type (which Sam lacks so much), as well as the protagonist’s ability to move into the “palaces of mind”: we are transferred to separate levels sparkling with mirror polygons, which serve as a manifestation of the hero’s reasoning.
On them, the player chooses possible courses of development of events and compares them with the evidence found in the real world until the correct option is formed.
In such a structure, the main part of the game process takes place: we talk with the characters, stumble upon a riddle, collect evidence and restore what happened. Sometimes we do mini-games when we are asked to walk through the hero’s mind, as Max Payne walked through his nightmares: for example, Sam needs to run through the right mirrors to calm down at the sight of a bloody shirt, or concentrate on an alter ego in another tense episode.
At the key moments of the plot, the game gives a choice of what to do and what to say, and on the basis of this choice, some statistics that are not very necessary are kept. The story has multiple endings, but in HuniePop 2 this sense, it does not make sharp turns, at least at first – only some non-critical details of events and dialogues change. The plot is spelled out clearly: you just need to reveal what exactly happened.
A lot of information about the characters is given in Sam’s notes, so it is worth looking into them at least out of curiosity. Characters are perhaps the most important thing in the game. Everyone has their own distinct traits: an extroverted cop a little on edge all the time, Anna, Sam’s ex-girlfriend, is deeper and more complex than it might seem at first glance. At some point, Twin Miror turns into a work about human relations, for a while forgetting about its thriller component and recalling another creation of the studio – Life is Strange .
The authors clearly initially aimed at the Twin Peaks vibe (this is hinted at by the name, travels through mystical spaces and a waitress named Lynch at least), but for this the plot lacks wild characters like a woman talking with a log and a constant feeling of general slight insanity. By the atmosphere of Twin Mirormost of all it is similar to one of the million of those films that can be found by clicking on TV channels at any time: someone is pensively driving a car somewhere, trees flickering outside the window, a piano sounds. Usually such films are watched for the sake of their favorite actors. The game is well written, and gradually throws up new and new riddles, but, of course, there are no favorite actors, and the most interesting moments are investigations of events, which are not rich in gameplay variety. Rather, it turned out to be an ordinary detective thriller, in which the main character talks to himself and delves into the past a lot – his own and other people.
The plot gives a somewhat absurd fertel in a flop camp, where Sam needs to get to the desired trailer (the hero suddenly chooses a very radical solution), but the absurdity is dictated by the developers’ desire to add action to the gameplay, in which there really isn’t much going on. Plus the hero’s slow walking and meaningless conversations can be boring. Before that the most addictive action in the entire game takes place in the arcade Pac-Man.
In addition to sporadic tediousness, technical flaws spoil the feeling of Sam Higgs’s adventures: hovering over objects sometimes does not work, textures are not immediately loaded; it happens that whole models disappear. There is a particularly offensive bug in the climax scene – the programmers obviously did not have time to polish the release version, and at least one patch is needed.
The facial animation of the journalist’s fellow travelers is sometimes limited to opening their mouths to the emotional passages of the actors. And the translation in the subtitles is constantly mistaken in the little things – not particularly important, but because of them, you can miss some of the nuances necessary for understanding the characters. Sometimes localization gets them wrong. For example, Joan, the daughter of the buried Nick, in the original says that Sam is the closest by profession to a detective of everyone she knows, and in subtitles – that he is her closest person.