Video games have always had a big influence in my life, even before I started engaging with them more directly. As a kid I would often watch my dad play a variety of games, like A Link to the Past of the Legend of Zelda series, and I think I watched him play Metroid as well. And let’s not forget classic Diablo 2 and its expansion, which I later went on to play through myself along with my cousin. That is frankly one of the best summers spent during my childhood.
One of my fondest memories is watching dad play Twinsen’s Little Big Adventure 1, and later the sequel when it was released, though to be honest most of my memories are from the second game, so I’ll be focusing on that. My little brother and I often got to have these moments as a sort of “bedtime story” for a while, and while I can’t speak for my brother, I loved it. We sometimes made dad get us to a go kart track in the game, so we could ride around ourselves, until we figured out how to get there on our own.
Both Twinsen games are getting remasters “coming soon”, as the Steam pages say, so I figured now is as good a time as any to revisit the second game. Let’s see how well it holds up to the nostalgia glasses, shall we?
Twinsen’s Little Big Adventure 2 appears to begin sometime not too long after Twinsen’s Little Big Adventure 1 ends, where the game’s title character, Twinsen, defeats Dr. Funfrock, the evil dictator of planet Twinsun. Many of the names in these games are of the silly disposition and play off each other as you may be able to tell. In LBA 2 (which I will be shortening the game’s name to from now on, for simplicity’s sake) the player is to save the world once again, but this time the threat is extraterrestrial. I’ve never actually played the game from start to finish proper before, so I can’t speak from personal experience, but the plot of both LBA games is somewhat grand in that Twinsen is literally hailed as the chosen one, and tasked with saving the planet Twinsun from its world ending threats. The games are in the genre of action-adventure, and to paraphrase the Steam page of LBA 2, the games “stole the hearts of many players around the world with their charm, quirkiness and humor”.
Well, it sure was a trip, jumping back into LBA 2 after so many years. The same silly bouncy sound effects for the magic ball Twinsen uses, as well as the music that plays when you switch him over to “sneaky” behavior and walk him around. It’s sort of a pink panther tune, now that I think about it. I always thought it was pretty funny as a kid, and now I think it’s pretty charming.
A big mechanic of the game is the “behavior” system, and some NPCs (non-player characters) even instruct the player about it on the first island, which is also Twinsen’s home island. I won’t go into plot details; I may do so in the future if I review the remasters when they release.
The game overall throws you back straight to the 90s, though I suppose it would be strange if it didn’t, since that’s when they’re both from. There are quite a few games from back then that have aged better, for sure, but I kind of like the way LBA is structured, as you can truly see the age it’s from. The control menu for instance is very old school PC game. The little introduction “movie”, or cutscene as they’re called, shows off Twinsen and his wife Zoe enjoying the beach before a sudden storm prompts them to run home. A lot of this cutscene is very pixel heavy, I’m assuming when they touched up the game for modern PCs, some parts were overlooked in favor of others.
You see — the games were first fixed up some for mobile devices before they ported them to PC; they seem to have disappeared from the Android Play Store now though, as I can’t find them, but that might have to do with the fancy new remasters coming. From what I’ve played so far of LBA 2, it has a very old school control scheme. I’m fairly sure the arrow keys are what was used back when it was new; now the numpad is the main way of controlling Twinsen. I’ve only experienced that being used in certain types of grid-based dungeon crawlers, but it works really well for this game; the controls are responsive if a bit slow to turn. If you don’t mind slow turning speed of your player character, somewhat dated but charming graphics and quite silly voice acting, you may enjoy this game.
Overall, I want to say the game holds up fairly well to my nostalgia glasses, it kind of made me miss when life was simpler. But don’t we all?