What would happen if you mixed Asteroids with Metroid? Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet aims to find out.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a Metroid style adventure game where you explore a besieged planet while solving puzzles and blasting shadowy foes. You'll explore the planet using a floating craft that can switch between several different tools and weapons. Your ship floats about the screen with a small amount of inertia, while enemies frequently attack from all directions, giving the combat an Astroids feel. The dual analog controls are decent and you shouldn't have much trouble moving in one direction while firing in another. Equipment can be hotkeyed to the four face buttons.

You'll explore the shadow planet in typical Metroidvania style, moving through twisting tunnels, encountering puzzles and enemies, and grabbing powerups and new weapons. Autosave checkpoints are present every 10-15 seconds, making Shadow Planet a mostly forgiving and painless game. There is a small amount of backtracking if you want to grab every last upgrade and art unlock, but otherwise there's little reason to head back into previous zones. Each zone can be played through in a fairly linear fashion until you reach the final boss. Puzzles are very easy to solve. They are usually linear and solvable with a bit of trial and error or picking up some object or other nearby with your tools.

Shadow Planets combat is more challenging than its puzzle solving, thanks to the inertia of the ship and dual analog controls. If you like Asteroid style gameplay then you'll probably enjoy what's offered here. Non boss enemies are typically indeterminate blobs that buzz around or chase you, but a few of them are more intelligent and have shields or lasers to pester you with. Thankfully though you can quickly float past almost any non boss encounter in the game. Environmental hazards are fairly frequent so there's always some danger involved in exploration. The bosses are the best part, featuring huge and well animated creatures. Taking them down usually involves creative use of your tools as opposed to straight up blasting. The last two bosses put up quite a fight and aren't as checkpoint friendly as previous ones.

Some people might be tired of the high contrast Indie art style, but I still happen to like it. The game looks good, almost always animates at 60 fps, and has a nice sense of scale as you wander vast areas or face huge bosses. Some of the environmental assets look a little too obviously like a giant, enlarged 2D texture with few animating parts, though. Most of the time the graphics look well animated and believable.

In Lantern mode, up to 4 players must carry lanterns through a side scrolling maze while fleeing from an ever encroaching beast. I didn't find this mode particularly exciting, especially since your ship can't do much but carry the lantern around. Occasionally you'll stop in a larger sized room to defeat some enemies, but then it's back to dragging the lantern through more seemingly endless passages.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is an afternoons worth of mildly entertaining exploration and bug blasting, but doesn't leave much of a lasting impression. If you're craving some easy puzzle solving and exploration or have a thing for Asteroids, give it a try.

  • Good mix of exploration, Asteroid-style action, and puzzle solving
  • Several themed areas to explore
  • Creative bosses that make use of your ships arsenal
  • Solid controls
  • The high contrast Indie game art style is outplayed
  • A little too easy and linear for hardcore Metroidvania fans
  • Multiplayer mode is a bust
  • 5-6 hour game with no replay value
Quote: "Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is an afternoons worth of mildly entertaining exploration and bug blasting, but doesn't leave much of a lasting impression."
Reviewed by Matthew Emirzian | 09.12.11


Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Xbox Live

Gagne Int'l

Action Shooter

US Release
August '11


Xbox Live Arcade

Players 1-4
Co-op 1-4
D/L Content
1200 MS Points
577.14 MB