I’ve a friend who said they felt they “became one with the dolphins” after a holiday in Florida, at the time I didn’t know what that meant, suspected there had been some inappropriate behaviour, and moved on with my life. I now understand it meant they had been killed, resurrected by a dolphin god, and could emerge from the back of any dolphin in their view. That’s what Twin Souls’ ‘be one with the shadows’ mantra means and I assume you can apply those qualities across the board.
Taking inspiration from the likes of Tenchu and Mark of the Ninja*, Twin Souls puts you in the Jika-tabi of a recently resurrected ninja. Your mission is to rescue the god who resurrected you and kill (or sneak by) everyone in your way.
You may remember the student project, Path of Shadows, that kicked Twin Souls off back in October.
I was a big fan of Path of Shadows, it looked like Thatgamecompany’s Journey and made you into an all powerful, magic ninja. You were able to bounce around feudal Japanese fortresses, teleporting between shadows, slicing guards’ throats. Your most used ability was turning invisible when standing in shadow but you could also cast patches of shadow into an area in direct light. They wouldn’t last for long but it was usually long enough for you to teleport to.
As Lince Works expand the student project into a full game they’re adding in new powers. David León, CEO of Lince Works, detailed a few for me: “Shadow Clones will let you create a clone of your character to distract enemies and make them panic,” and you can use Shadow Puppet to “grab an enemy shadow and tie him, letting you control him like a puppet and explore the environment from a safe distance. Other Shadow Powers will include traps and ranged attacks among other stuff.”
A big new addition are masks and new skins. Much like in Hotline Miami, you can find masks by “ completing challenges or progressing through the story” and they give you “additional powers depending on which mask you wear in each level.”
The team have moved the game into Unity and it’s given then a lot more versatility for building environments for us to explore. “You can now leap to buildings, structures and different terrain heights to scout the scenario, and move undetected or fall upon your enemies with aerial kills,” David told me.
We don’t see many straight stealth games these days, instead it’s more of a playstyle that’s catered to in other, larger titles; like receiving a bonus for ghosting levels in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The decline’s not gone unnoticed by Lince Works: “The Tenchu series was fun for its stealth kills, scenario playgrounds and ninja tools, but through the years the series became stale” but David points to modern stealth games that others may have missed, “Mark of the Ninja had a great aesthetic and 2D design, but above all, it represent information masterfully.” With Twin Souls Lince Works hope to “renew the formula” of Tenchu with their shadow powers and varied enemies while trying to “adapt Mark of the Ninja’s game design lessons to the 3D world.”
The possibility of being given a whole campaign of levels to stealth through is tantalising and I really hope Twin Souls reaches its Kickstarter target. As David says “there's no other game that represents so literally the phrase 'be one with the shadows.’”
*The fact you don’t play a ninja called Mark is endlessly disappointing.