Twinsen's Odyssey is the second game in the 'Little Big Adventure' series that came on the scene a couple of years ago under the name 'Relentless'. Our favorite hero, Twinsen is back again and in wonderful form. In Relentless, Twinsen saved the population of his home planet, Twinsun. Apparently enough time has passed that his heroics are needed once again. This time the threat comes in the form of an alien invasion. Under the guise of peace, the Esmers come to Twinsun and kidnap all of Twinsun's wizards and children. As the hero of Twinsun, Twinsen once again sets out to save the day. As he gets deeper and deeper into his investigation, Twinsen uncovers a plot that threatens to destroy the planet Twinsun itself, along with all of it's inhabitants! Twinsen's adventure takes him to neighboring islands, and to the aliens' home planet of Zelich as he desperately tries to uncover the details of the kidnappings, get the children and wizards back safely, and ultimately stop the destruction of Twinsun.
The game takes many interesting twists and turns before coming to it's ultimate conclusion. French developer Adeline reprises their 3/4 isometric action adventure in wonderful detail here. Everything is rendered in 3D so smooth that in most places you can't even see the polygons. Light sourcing is excellent, and some of the special effects are absolutely breathtaking, the protection spell jumping to mind immediately. The look is positively fairy tale in nature, and one not just for the kiddies. On the negative side, the graphics do clip a lot, anytime a character gets anywhere near a wall or structure, the character's body part protrudes through the wall. I also found many places that Twinsen could jump into where there was absolutely no way of getting out again. Not traps or anything like that, but close spaces between walls and rocks almost surely trapped Twinsen, causing me to reload a saved game.
Sound and music are wonderful, adding much to the wonderfully bizarre fairy tale of a story. Voice acting is a mix, some perfect, some sounding very forced. Sound effects, voices, and music all have separate volume controls, and a general volume control lets you control the volume even after the other settings have been made.
Gameplay is composed of an engaging graphical adventure in true 3D, with many action elements added into the mix. You will find a lot of combat in the game, ranging from hand to hand to weaponry to magical in nature.
Control is a little cumbersome, but the keyboard configuration is configurable so you can find the combination that works best for you. What the game really could have used is gamepad support, perhaps in Little Big Adventure 3... hint, hint.
Aside from a wonderful story line, the game provides you with a LOT of gameplay. This is one of the longest adventures I have played. You get more than your money's worth, believe me. Too many adventures are coming up short in gameplay these days, but Twinsen's Odyssey is NOT one of them. Kudos to a game that gives you a lot of gameplay for your money spent. The combat sequences range from simple to incredibly difficult. Sometimes I felt it wasn't quite necessary. For example, when the Esmers first arrive, there are snipers planted all around two of the islands, and I felt that was out of place. I mean, they were aggressive, but this was while they were pretending to be peaceful. At many times during the game, combat really felt like it belonged, but other times it seemed to be there just to keep you on your toes. There is no way to set difficulty levels, and I am afraid that may keep some adventure game fans away who might otherwise appreciate the captivating story and puzzles.
That's right, action AND a great story, complete with twist ending that I wouldn't dare give away here. Improvements over the previous game include better graphics, and a more forgiving control. Twinsen no longer hurts himself when he runs into a wall. Animation and movement are absolutely brilliant. Whenever Twinsen found a new item of importance, he does a little victory dance that never failed to bring a smile to my face. One of the weapons in the game is a sword, and when used correctly, Twinsen is capable of some INCREDIBLE moves. Errol Flynn-like backflips, and a true swashbuckling style that is really impressive to watch. There are little touches like this throughout the game, there's no same old, same old attitude about any of it. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Bottom Line: Fantastic, engaging story, lots of fun. Graphics are excellent but there is too much clipping. Action scenes are a mix, some add to the story, some are just annoying. Adventure fans will really love the storyline and puzzles.
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