Number of Reviews: 4
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Bad Weather Friend, April 8, 2012
This game is sort of like a Speed IF game (although a pretty well implemented one) in its simplicity and commitment to its gimmick. Playtime is short when measured in the minimum amount of turns it takes to win, but winning for me took a lot longer, mostly because I'm not a good puzzle solver and the game didn't have a walkthrough, but also because certain parts of the game feel underclued.
The game starts out as a quest to foil the schemes of your evil twin brother. It sounds simple enough, although people familiar with the song will be conditioned to see something's fishy, and even the players who haven't heard of They Might Be Giants before will probably suspect something is up even before they reach (Spoiler - click to show)the Magical Realism tunnel. But to the game's credit, it never comes straight out and tells you what's going on, preferring to let you put the pieces together yourself. For most part that works out fine, although the ending may leave you, as it did me, scratching your head a bit.
The puzzles (what little there were of them, anyway) were fine... up to a point. I'm not too good a judge of puzzles, since I'm so lousy at them, but most of them seemed to be fair and made sense within the logic of the world. And I think the solution for getting into your evil twin's house should be commended for being both super dumb and logical. But on the other hand (warning, spoilers for the final puzzle follow): (Spoiler - click to show)how you find out the code to the evil twin's secret lair is unfair. It involves knowing the old number to They Might Be Giants' Dial-a-Song. This in-and-of-itself isn't what I object to (after all, in the age of the Wiki this isn't a very frustrating puzzle element); it's more that the fact that the code is the old Dial-a-Song number is heavily underclued, especially if you're not up on your They Might Be Giants lore (I wasn't). The problem was, I didn't know that the code was something I would have to look up, and since I didn't know that, I kept looking for the rest of the code in the game itself. If the game had signaled better that the solution was outside the game-world, if there was a bigger hint that the code was connected to Dial-a-Song somehow, then the puzzle would have seemed much more fair.
While we're on the subject on stuff that flew over my head, I'm still not sure how to interpret the ending. (Spoiler - click to show)For most of the game, I assumed that most, if not all, of the damage around town had been done by the player character during his ridiculous charades of "stopping" his evil twin. I also assumed that there was no evil twin, that what we were seeing was just the delusions of a weird, weird man. But in the end scene at the jail, our evil twin really does show up. Or is he really our "evil" twin? And if he was, what was up with the rest of the game, then? Was it real? Quasi-real? Am I over-thinking this?
But really, for me, the joy of My Evil Twin wasn't in its puzzles or its destination. It was just hanging out and exploring in an off-kilter world, one that lies just slightly askance to ours, but also one that operates by its own rules. It's an old-school type of setting, one you don't get to see too often. And if the experience sometimes frustrated me, well, that's part of the old-school feel as well.