Magic Twins is a brand new arcade puzzle game developed by Flying Beast Labs and published by BadLand Publishing. It brings a colourful new take to the puzzle genre and can be played by yourself or couch co-op with a friend. The single-player mode can become insurmountably difficult as the levels progress, so it’s more enjoyable with two players. Whilst it’s not likely to stand out as anyone’s favourite, it’s still a fun experience and one that’s worth trying out.
Story – When You Just Want to Dye Your Clothes But Bring About Armageddon
Abra and Cadabra, the titular siblings of Magic Twins, attend the magical Witchcraft School of the Island of Mallorca. The school has a very strict policy of not allowing students to use their magic powers (known as chromagic) to dye their uniforms, but Abra and Cadabra have other ideas. Alongside their trusty cauldron, they start a colourful spell to make their uniforms into brand new hues. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and they bring about Colormageddon!
With the world in jeopardy, it’s up to Abra and Cadabra to stop Colormageddon before it wreaks total havoc. Using their chromagic powers, they have to progress through the world, destroying all the colourful enemies that they find in their path. Interdimensional rifts are everywhere, spewing out new enemies all the time, so the twins have no time to lose.
The story is basic but succinct and is easy to follow along with. The idea of Colormageddon is compelling as it creates a sense of urgency and importance for what’s really quite a simple premise. The writing is somewhat silly, but in a good way, and there’s plenty of fun dialogue throughout the game. Characters often break the fourth wall and will refer to ‘the developers’ as a reason for certain things happening.
There’s no real progression with the narrative, aside from just defeating more and more of the colourful enemies, but that’s okay as it’s not really needed. Magic Twins is more about the gameplay and the audio-visual aspect, rather than being a story-driven game.
Gameplay – Let’s Hope You Like Basic Puzzles
The gameplay is incredibly simplistic; however, there’s also a skill curve. Your moves stay the same throughout the game, but the later levels require more speed and accuracy, as well as tactical thinking. The 2D layout has Abra on one side and Cadabra on the other. Different coloured enemies will spawn in the middle and move towards either the left or the right. You need to select the chromagic orb that matches the enemy’s colour and fires it at them, moving up and down on your side to aim your spells and take out all the enemies. If you miss an enemy, your spell will go through to the other side and hit your twin, temporarily freezing them in place.
When you start the game, you can choose between playing by yourself or with a friend, and you’re asked this every time. That means you can continue with the same save in either mode. They both use exactly the same levels, except that in single-player, the second teammate is replaced with the CPU. They have an okay skill level, which works well for the early levels, as you’ll be quite well-matched. However, as you improve your own skills, the disparity between you and the AI will grow, as they do not improve as the levels go on.
The initial level eases you into the gameplay by teaching you the controls without any real urgency. It gives you a sense of how to change between the colours and how to fire spells. It doesn’t rush you, and you’re able to take it at your own speed as you learn the controls. This initial level is the one where you attempt to dye your uniform, and it spawns Colormageddon. After this, all the levels will contain various coloured foes.
Each level will have a main quest, as well as optional side quests. These usually revolve around destroying a certain number of enemies or may be specific to destroying enemies of a certain colour. They can also be about casting specific spells. Some enemies will drop coloured potion bottles, and when you collect 4 of them, you can cast a spell. Depending on the potion bottles you collect, your spell could do different things. However, it will always affect the appearance of the enemies on screen, changing them into something else.
When playing solo, it can become very difficult to complete the optional side quests. This is because a lot of them require specific tactics that you’re unable to discuss with your partner. The AI seems to cast its chromagic powers at random and doesn’t seem concerned with anything other than destroying enemies. If you have a side quest that involves something quite technical, you’ll often fail it because the CPU will ignore the conditions. This can become very frustrating to deal with.
As the levels increase in difficulty, the virtual teammate becomes more and more of a hindrance. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where it’s almost impossible to continue because the NPC is not destroying enough enemies. You end up having to deal with your teammate’s side of the screen as well, and given the speed of later levels, this isn’t a viable option. Whilst it is possible to switch between playing as Abra or Cadabra, the number of enemies is designed to be destroyed by two people, and it’s difficult to have to cover both sides.
Co-op is much more convenient in this sense. It makes a big difference being able to communicate with your partner. You’re able to plan tactics and achieve the side quests by working together. Whilst you’re still playing the same levels, it feels more exciting when you’re able to share the experience with someone else.
There are also bonus levels, which you unlock if you gather enough stars in the regular levels. Each regular level offers a total of 3 stars – 1 for the main quest and 2 for the side quests. The bonus ones will have a more technical quest for the player(s) and require critical thinking. However, if you’re able to successfully beat a bonus level, you unlock a new character skin.
Despite the limited range of the controls, there are a number of different mechanics used in levels. New types of enemies are introduced, as well as different spells. Each new type of enemy introduces potential tactic options and keeps the game interesting. So even though the basic premise of the game stays the same, the levels do feel different from one another, and Magic Twins doesn’t get boring.
Graphics and Audio – Cuteness Overload
Magic Twins may be quite simple, but it has an over-abundance of cuteness! The character designs are adorable, with a hand-drawn style similar to chibi art. The colours used are vibrant and striking, which makes sense in a game that has colours as the main plot. The art style is minimalist, but it really works and looks deliberate rather than cheap.
The main level screen is a simple and effective design, with each character on their own side, protected by a barrier. You see the barrier lose its colour as it becomes damaged, and so you can work out roughly how many more attacks you can withstand based on the visual integrity of it. The playing area is also split up into a grid whilst still keeping the theme of the world that it’s in. It’s depicted as tiles on a floor, and so it doesn’t feel out of place. It means you can judge where to aim your attacks without losing the immersion.
A cool feature in Magic Twins is that you can unlock skins for your characters. These are obtained by beating worlds or completing the challenges in bonus levels. You can access your skins from the level selection screen, and you can even change the colour. Each skin is available in multiple colours, which you can scroll through to choose.
The font used for the titles and dialogue is a sans serif font that really gives off a cute, magical vibe. The developers did an excellent job of matching it to the atmosphere of the game. The level requirements are also written on what appears to be a scroll of parchment, which again really fits with the magic school idea.
The music throughout the game is upbeat and cheerful and helps to stop you from becoming bored with the somewhat repetitive nature of the puzzles. There’s also music during the loading screens, which is a pleasant surprise as many games have silent loading screens. The sound effects are fun and light-hearted, and the character ‘voices’ are very amusing. They don’t use voice actors, so the characters make indecipherable noises whilst the dialogue rolls across the screen.
Magic Twins was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch using a key provided by BadLand Publishing.