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Summon Night: Twin Age Package Art
GENRE
Action RPG
DEVELOPER
Flight-Plan
PUBLISHER
Atlus
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
No
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
No
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Summon Night: Twin Age

Click, click, click. This noise accompanies any action-RPG or dungeon crawler game on the PC. For DS, players get smaller racket with the tap of a stylus. This minor difference separates the two platforms, but the gameplay successfully transfers over to the DS. Summon Night: Twin Age allows players to maneuver Aldo (a summon beast) or Reiha (a human) by simply pressing the stylus to a precise location on the bottom screen. The two children, about to become adults through a tribe ceremony, propel a story that investigates a mysterious force hurting the elemental spirits throughout Clardona. While the story and control is all and good, the inability to push the clichéd staples of the genre holds the game back from being truly amazing.

visuals

The world of Clardona comes to life through detailed sprites, along with character art for dialogue cut-scenes. The overall look is reminiscent of the SNES-era, which could give fans a pleasant dose of nostalgia. The use of sprites also allows for a smooth framerate, with double-digit enemies invading the lower screen. The top screen effectively showcases a map, which while straightforward, is a godsend for the dungeon crawler genre.

On the other hand, the environments appear rather barren, with only bland traps and pots filling each location. In addition, the lack of cinematic events or set pieces to drive home the story make you feel like your role is more miniscule than it should be.

audio

The music, along with the story, hits a minor note. The quality is solid, but it's just not amazing. The tunes fit the bill accordingly, with mainly upbeat melodies playing in the background. Over top the soundtrack, players will also notice sample voice over bits for certain dialogue scenes. The voice actors’ roles are small, but do give more personality and depth to each character.

gameplay

At the outset, players are given the option of choosing between Reiha and Aldo. Reiha sports magical abilities and fits the wizard build, while Aldo is a bruiser and has the HP (hit points) to back it up. However, players also can tap on an icon to switch between characters at any time, which is integral for a few boss battles. The touch screen interface works brilliantly, with the vertical sides displaying a plethora of beast summons, items, and spell icons to use on the fly. This setup takes advantage of the DS touch screen, because without it, this HUD would be impossible and require separate, convoluted menus. The response of characters to stylus tapping also works extremely well, with only a couple of hang-ups on pots in environments. The various locations are purely monster-inhabited, and as such, repetition is very present. Even so, developer Flight-Plan effectively demonstrates that the DS is perfectly suited to the genre.

Along with smooth controls, the customization options are plentiful. Reiha and Aldo have skill trees, allowing for players to build their characters as they see fit. For example, players can choose to make Aldo a force to be reckoned with his axe or instead go down the crafty swordsman path. On top of the skills, players will use loot to customize their weapons. You can add a multi-hit ability to a sword, allowing for two or three strikes instead of a single stab. And if not enough, the ability to conjure monsters to fight alongside party members throws another layer in the mix. This depth of customization adds great replay value to Summon Night: Twin Age.

Unfortunately, the story fails to reach the same level of quality as the customization or control aspects of the title. The tale basically follows the two children in a land with racial tensions between humans and the Kascuza, a beast-like human, as the backdrop. Along with these ethnic groups, summon beasts also come into play, which are slave creatures for the humans. Aldo is a summon beast who escaped the human world long ago but was conveniently summoned by Reiha seven years before. This mysterious event, in addition to a weird suffering of spirits, serves as the focal point for the game. The plot will not surprise anyone, nor provide any twists or novel character development. This cliché storyline becomes even worse with archaic set pieces, as everyone just stands and talks about each event. We want to see a building destroyed by summon beasts or the pain of spirits crumbling the human cities. Instead, we get to see a campfire chat -– lame.

multiplayer

There are no multiplayer modes in Summon Night: Twin Age. This omission, for the dungeon crawler genre, seems like a missed opportunity. The two character premise seems perfect for two-player co-op. Additionally, the game could have made a monumental splash on DS with the inclusion of an online arena to battle with others and level up your character for the single player story.

overall

Summon Night: Twin Age might fall under the radar to most gamers, but there’s a lot to like. The pinpoint controls and well-integrated HUD allow for a great action-RPG experience, with excellent pacing on leveling up your character. The sprite-based graphics will spark a nostalgia factor with older games and also illustrate a plethora of on-screen enemies. The story, while bland, does not hinder the overall experience much and may entertain a few players. Even with these enjoyable aspects, the lack of multiplayer options or a more cinematic punch fail to push this game from good to outstanding.

final score 7.7/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Evan Campbell
Staff Profile | Email
"Real men don't fight — they sing!"


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