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Summer of Arcade – Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

The third game in Microsoft’s Summer of Xbox Arcade promotion is Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. In it you’ll control a flying saucer that must make its way through a hostile world filled with insane, twisted and shadowy foes.

Players pilot a tiny and vulnerable spacecraft in a dangerous world where most of the enemies you encounter look like shadow puppets, and that’s because the art design is by Michel Gagne who has an extensive history in that art form. The monsters you’ll fight are dark two-dimensional creatures coming to get you and drag you into your nightmares. Tentacles, gaping maws, and far too many legs are a common theme in the design. There’s a bit of similarity to the XBLA game Limbo in the art design, but the gameplay is completely different.

To navigate through this dangerous planet, your saucer will need to gather a constant stream of new upgrades and weapons. Each new weapon or ability will grant you access to some previously blocked off area of the world, much like the Metroid and Castlevania games. Unlike the Metroidvania games, you’ll never control a humanoid character, you’ll always be controlling a hovering flying saucer. This spaceship does have a robotic arm that can be used to grab and throw objects, and a series of lasers that can zap enemies. As with this sort of gameplay, expect to find enemies that are only vulnerable to one sort of weapon, and barriers that can only be brought down with one particular ability.


Among the weapons available to your ship are missiles that can be used to pass through narrow areas of the levels that are inaccessible to your ship, and take out targets on the other side. There’s also a scanner that provides information about the environment and will help players figure out what weapon they need for each situation. All of these gadgets are selected by a radial wheel assigned to the analog stick, and then mapped to the buttons on the controller. 

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet should provide a familiar sort of gameplay, but the design style offers a very distinct experience, and ITSP definitely stands out among the crowd of gritty shooters, dark zombie games, and anime-inspired RPGs.  The art design that doesn’t involve shadow puppets is bright and colorful, with retro-sci-fi style.


There will by a multiplayer component that will involve four-player co-op, but details are not available on that at this time, nor have we heard of other multiplayer modes just yet.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is published by Fuelcell Games, and is their first project. It comes out for XBLA on Wednesday August 3rd as part of the Summer of Arcade event. If you buy Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet along with the other four games in the promotion, you’ll get a free copy of the upcoming Crimson Alliance when it hits Xbox Live Arcade in September. You can learn more about ITSP on its website, and you can see it in action in the video below.


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