Billed as the “most cooperative game ever”, TwinCop is the latest title from Finite Reflection Studios, and takes the parody of 80’s buddy cop movies to new heights. With a truly ridiculous premise, neon vibe and more cliches than you can shake a stick at, is TwinCop as silly as it seems, or is there a real game struggling to get out?
After a frankly unlucky pontoon boat accident, the two best cops on the force have been sliced in two. Literally in two, right down the middle. Using the latest in surgical techniques, and probably a good dollop of superglue, the separate halves of two good cops have been fused together to form TwinCop, the ultimate crime fighter. And as luck would have it, one of the deceased cops was right handed, while the other was left handed, making this a marriage made in an operating theatre.
There are a variety of different cops to choose from too, all with different super powers, such as a grappling hook or a phantom fist that can be used to attack vending machines or bad guys. Obviously, choosing the half of the cop you play as has an effect on how your progress through the game will be, and things only get sillier from there on out.
As the game is billed as “cooperative”, you won’t be surprised to learn that the game is designed to be played with a partner, and your choice of partner will massively impact your success in the game. You require someone who is calm, responds to instructions and is able to almost read your mind. Being able to shoot straight is also an advantage. With the wife having been ruled out early in the selection process, I finally settled on my 8 year old son to help me – mainly because he’s better at gaming than I am.
The control scheme for the on foot levels and the driving sections require the two halves of the cop to work in harmony, as moving in the same direction at the same time not only heals you, but also builds up your super meter, that of Twinsanity. Getting used to saying “Left… right… left” soon becomes second nature, especially in the larger of the wave based levels where you have 30 bad guys bearing down on you waving rocket launchers, or even just doing Zangief’s old Spinning Lariat move, to mess you up. Running and shooting all gets a bit fraught to be honest though, and this is the point where Twinsanity becomes necessary. Triggered by both players pressing the A button when they overlap at the bottom of the screen (even this needs co-operation), Twinsanity sees you enter a kind of bullet time mode where everything slows down but you can still move at the same speed, making things a tad easier in the process.
There are a few different missions to undertake as you make your way through TwinCop, ranging from siphoning gas from cars to put in the Twincar, to driving forklifts and moving containers to block gas being put into a room. There are obviously the obligatory boss fights to enjoy as well. In a weird story twist though the first boss you have to fight is the very pontoon boat that sliced you up. Yes, you read that right, in a city street we have to fight a sentient boat and get revenge for our dismemberment. And the story gets stranger from there on out, with the uncovering of a conspiracy that takes in the city’s most popular soft drink, and more weirdness than you can shake a severed arm at.
Graphically, the action in TwinCop is viewed from a top down perspective, a bit like the older Grand Theft Auto games. You can see TwinCop’s head and arms, and with one player controlling the left arm, and the other the right, there are two separate laser sights showing where the shots are going to go. The graphics have a weird gritty sort of neon look to them, very reminiscent of a grubby Miami Vice, and the 80’s vibe is so strong you can almost taste it; a suitably overblown introduction from our Captain helps set the scene perfectly. The soundtrack is typically 1980’s as well, but my main take from TwinCop is not the music but the almost constant sound of gunfire and two players shouting directions to each other.
The controls for the on foot levels work well, but the driving options are a little more problematic. They seem to be based on a tank, with steering achieved by driving either the left or the right hand side of the car, while the other eases off. So to turn left, the person controlling the right hand side of the car needs to accelerate, while the left hand side player lets go of the accelerator. And vice versa. Again, communication is your friend, with clear instructions winning the day. The forklift controls are similarly co-operative, one person controlling back and forward, the other left and right, and both being responsible for picking up and putting down the containers. Using these to block damage from lasers is a lot harder than it sounds, but with a little bit of running back and forth it’s always possible to just about stay healthy. And whilst all this may seem utterly complex, the controls do make sense after a little while, however a bit of practice and a decent partner choice will make all the difference.
All in all, TwinCop on Xbox One does live up to the billing as the most cooperative game ever, as it really does need you and your partner to work in concert. As a co-op game it’s a riot, but although there is a single player mode the game only really comes alive with a buddy. The lack of an online mode does hamper things somewhat, and if you don’t have a gaming buddy to sit on your settee with then a lot of the fun is missing. It’s not going to be everyone’s taste, but if you give TwinCop a try then there is fun to be found here. Just don’t cite the game in the divorce, okay?