Drawing clear inspiration from the likes of Journey, Flower, and Rez, Entwined certainly looks the part of an artsy indie classic. Telling the story (more or less) of a bird and a fish who repeatedly fall in love and reunite over the course of nine lifetimes, it delivers dazzlingly abstract visuals and a beautifully atmospheric soundtrack. It couldn't possibly scream "art-game!" any louder if it tried--but as lavish as its concept and production values are, the underlying game is nowhere near as vibrant.
Each of Entwined's "lifetimes" takes the form of a circular tunnel, surrounded by stunning visual effects that suggest volcanoes, ice caves, cityscapes, and other environments you can't actually interact with. The heroes sit on the circle's perimeter, with the orange fish confined to the left side and the blue bird to the right, and each corresponds to a different analog stick. As they rocket through the tunnel, your job is to maneuver them through rhythmically appearing orange, blue, and green tiles, producing chimes that complement the music without quite being part of it. Hit enough tiles, and they'll eventually merge into a green dragon that… just sort of flies around for a bit.
I'm oversimplifying, but not by much. There’s a decent amount of variety within the game’s narrow framework; tiles move around (and sometimes expand and contract) as you approach them, which makes them harder to hit, and they often come in uneven stacks that require increasingly tricky, weaving movements to hit them all. Most of the challenge comes from having to spot and react to two targets at once; one stack of tiles might require the fish to move in a downward arc while the bird moves up, or the bird to waggle up and down while the fish stays still, and so on. It’s enough to keep you on your toes, but not really compelling enough to sustain hours of play.