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Summon Night: Twin Age review

AT A GLANCE
  • Tappy, slashy combat is fresh for awhile
  • Graphics are cute and splashy
  • Swapping characters on the fly
  • Gets tedious
  • Story isn't terribly unique
  • Buddies can be dumb

See if you've played this one: it's a role-playing game with real-time battles and a top-down, slightly angled view. You're slogging around one dungeon after another, alternately hacking baddies into little bits with handheld weapons or just pummeling them with elemental magic like fire, ice, and the like. Of course it sounds familiar. On the surface, Summon Night: Twin Age is a lot like dozens of other games - specifically, literally any action RPG from the original Zelda to Diablo. But that doesn't mean it's not worth a play.  

The key gameplay element of Action RPGs - namely, wallowing from point A to point B and genocidally slaughtering every living thing you meet - is here in full effect. But Summon Night: Twin Age does know some uncommon tricks.

 You control not one, but two characters at once: the brawny, sword-slinging Aldo and the more maidenly spellcaster Reiha, and can swap from one to the other at will. And you execute your attacks by tapping, slashing, and swirling your stylus around the DS' touch screen. It's a bit more active than the typical battle system and stays fresh longer. There are also additional characters who will accompany you from time to time, though you don't get direct control over them, and short-lived monsters you can summon to do your brain-bashing bidding on the battlefield. 

There are some positives and negatives to this combat system. For instance, a customizable frame that runs along the screen's edges functions almost like a drop-down menu, so just tapping the icon of the weapon or spell you want to use switches to it. That's good. Trying to touch an ally to heal him - but failing because there are so many bad guys crowding around you can't actually lay your stylus upon him - is bad.

Continuing that thought, having one of your computer controlled buddies actually doing things to help you is good. Watching them get stuck in a doorway or stare at a wall, though admittedly more rare, is bad. But overall, the good overwhelms: You can craft new weapons, armor and items; the extra characters and summonable beasts are cool, and there's a huge pile of additional skills each character can learn as they level up. Every game should have this level of customization.

The story spins a tale about humans and non-humans fighting over how to treat glowing, firefly-like "spirits" that power the world. These spirits seem to spontaneously exist as part of nature, and they're now apparently going haywire for some reason your crew seeks to discover. It's enough to keep you interested even if it's not quite Gone with the Wind. And the graphics are actually quite nice - as in, they're politely colorful, artistically pleasing and often cute, if not always technologically impressive.

Summon Night: Twin Age isn't going to set the world on fire. However, if the world happens to already be on fire, you might find yourself just distracted enough by this game that you won't notice the flames until your dog comes in bald and smouldering. And who doesn't like hot dogs?

Sorry about that. But yeah - try this game out.

More Info

Release date: May 20 2008 - DS (US)
Available Platforms: DS
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Atlus
Developed by: Flight-Plan
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes

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