Twin Mirror - Review

After a story about young lesbians, Mexicans in Trump's America and transgender people in the cold American wilderness, DONTNOD Entertainment decided to raise the topic of mental disorders in the detective game Twin Mirror.

Twin Mirror - Review
Twin Mirror is a detective adventure from the creators of Life is Strange.

This is the first independent project of the studio, which tells about the journalist Sam Higgs, who two years ago ran away from his hometown after the harsh refusal of a black girlfriend, who had long decided for herself that she did not want to get married. However, the second reason for the escape from Buswood was a revealing article by Higgs, after which the local mine was closed and half of the city lost their jobs.

Suddenly, unwittingly, the main character returns to the city of childhood for the funeral of his best friend – Nick. Half of the population hates him, former relatives have accumulated resentment, and he himself is falling apart under moral stress. Meeting Nick's daughter, Joan “Bug”, forces him to investigate the circumstances of his friend's death, which will lead to sudden discoveries, self-forgiveness and new life prospects.

As if according to the recipe of DONTNOD and in this game was not without superpowers. Two years of torment and a bleeding heart have caused Sam to have an acute childhood mental disorder, so that he sometimes sees his alter ego, which gives valuable advice and offers a way out of difficult situations. This best version of Sam is neat, always with a fashionable hairstyle, expensive glasses and as cold-blooded as possible.

Using the method of deduction, Higgs can also dive into the halls of his own mind and recreate a picture of a crime or recent events. It is by applying the doppelganger's advice, communicating with the locals and "withdrawing into himself" that the hero must unravel the chain of mysterious crimes and find Nick's killer.

The game itself uses the familiar DONTNOD adventure formula with choices of dialogue options during conversations that slightly affect the plot, and exploring the environment with clues to dive into the mind and recreate events of the past or simulate the future. And here the adventure machine of developers fails.

Although you are shown the status of the investigation in the upper corner, you spend most of your time doing pixel hunting, combing every inch of the surrounding space in search of this or that clue. Moreover, even after simulating the situation and drawing conclusions, the hero behaves strangely. For example, after learning that Nick's laptop was taken from the editorial office, he does not rush to his home for information, but rushes to the scene of the accident. In other places, the authors come up with just idiotic reasons for not letting you go to a certain character - for example, forcing you to set fire to a drug camp as a distraction. At the same time, Anna, who acts as the second main character, reacts to Sam's tricks very restrained and not too realistic. For most of the game, she is like an empty doll with whom Higgs conducts his mental dialogue.

The hero himself does not evoke sympathy or empathy – he is selfish, devoid of compassion and loves only himself. And positive at first glance, Nick's daughter is a complete copy of him. And the game does not use this in any way for any moral choices or conclusions. It seems that the plot was strongly adjusted to the release date, as a result of which Twin Mirror did not come out as it was originally intended.

However, in itself, Twin Mirror is not the worst detective with interesting finds. However, the authors sometimes force you to take part in QTE sessions, where you have to run through the right mirrors or click on the right figure of a character approaching you. These fragments look contrived, annoying, and unnecessary.

Graphically, Twin Mirror looks a little worse than Tell Me Why, but the characters and facial animation are well developed, although the characters could use more realistic movements. The environment looks different – somewhere the design pulls the visual image. As for the Russian translation with subtitles, it is often incorrect, often changes the meaning of the spoken phrase, although it conveys the general meaning of the story with slight distortions.

Twin Mirror is a good detective adventure with a weak protagonist, strange design decisions and pixel hunting. However, playing in Twin Mirror is much more interesting than in Life is Strange 2, which too much smeared the political agenda and stomped in one place. And here, in addition to the black independent heroine, who fits perfectly into the overall plot, there were practically no liberal moralizing.